Unless you have an endless supply of money, this post is going to be pretty relevant to you. If you do have an endless supply of money, can you please give me some? Coooool, thanks. So what are we talking about here? Today we’re going to chat about putting your money in the right places. There are virtually endless ways to throw money in the air in an effort to further your career. Buying digital ads has never been easier, anyone can likely find an indie radio promoter to take their money, and buying onto a tour is a thing. Merch costs money, fancy studios cost butt loads, graphic design can be costly, and don’t get me started on the cost of PR. SO MANY WAYS TO SPEND THAT HARD EARNED CASH.
But what works?
Sadly, there isn’t an exact formula, but there are ways to determine what will likely give you the best return on your investment (or ROI for my fellow marketing nerds).
Prioritize your needs. Do you need to sell tickets? Are your fans begging for t-shirts with your face on them? Do you need fans period? Are your recordings seriously lacking and you need a pro to step in? Look at what you need to do first. If you haven’t recorded your songs yet, you likely don’t need to spend $1,000 on t-shirts (none of my examples are ever made up, by the way).
Be smart and targeted with advertising. A worldwide geo-target is rarely the thing that needs to happen with your ads. Where are people paying the most attention and giving you the most engagement? Obviously you want to expand your fanbase, but you need to make sure that your current fans are finding out about what’s going on first. If you lose them, you’ve got nothing! Subwoofr has a few more tips on FB ads and how to best reach your audience and make sure you’re not wasting your money!
Be realistic. Do you honestly think that the only thing holding you back from breaking through is the fact that you’re not on the radio? If so, by all means, please throw your money at it. However, chaaaances are, that’s just not true and there are plenty of other areas that need a little love before you spend money at radio. Sure, radio can help, but for an indie artist, it’s incredibly rare to have a big impact (and it’s so so so expensive). And don’t believe anyone that says they can get you on HOT AC/Top 40 radio for under $50-100K. Seriously. No… seriously.
Is there anything that could go? As in… are you currently spending money on something that really isn’t having an impact one way or the other on your career. Maybe you can brush up on your photoshop skills and create your own pro-looking artwork. Maybe you’ve got a knack for taking photos and can take some pretty snazzy press photos for yourself. As long as you’re not letting any aspect of your project suffer by doing it yourself, then go for it. I mean, if you suck at photos, definitely don’t be your own photographer… that was just an example. You get it.
This is not a cheap career path. Touring is freaking expensive. Professionally recorded albums are absurd. PR is insane. Gear can literally wipe out your life savings! And if you have the money and know that these are things that will legitimately further your career, then they are great areas to spend money on. However, I’ve seen too many musicians have to put their project on hold because they threw money away on ridiculous things that they thought would help. Don’t let that be you!
REASON TO IGNORE THIS ADVICE: You’ve got rich parents! I seriously envy you! This is not a flaw - it’s awesome!