Making music costs you money. Further more, if you make good music it can enhance people's lives. So why do so many treat great songs like disposable music which isn't worth much?!
Not only is it fans who sometimes do this, but this mentality is often also adopted by event organizers, musicians and the like. If you fall into this trap and allow your music to be seen like this, you're only devaluing it and making it harder to have a successful music career.
Below I've listed a few major ways musicians are devaluing their music, and what they should be doing instead. I hope a lot of you take it on board, and exchanging your music for the value it's worth.
Musicians invest time, money and love into music. Don't devalue that by ripping them off! – Tweet This.
But first, if it's your aim to do music professionally, you'll want to check out our free ebook while it's still available:
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Giving Out All Your Music For Free
This is a big one. As a general rule, you shouldn't be giving out your music for ‘free'. The odd one or two songs so people can have something to remember you by, fair enough. But after that your music shouldn't be a freebie.
Instead you should exchange it for something; either their contact details, exposure, or money.
Furthermore, you should always have something available for fans to buy. Believe it or not, there are still people who would want to buy your material, so give them that opportunity.
These days, making your music free doesn't encourage that many more people to give it a try. There's so much free music out there, it's become devalued. That's why instead you should put all your effort into effectively marketing your music, and then people will put more effort into downloading your material, even if it's for a fee.
I've already looked at what you should be doing instead if you want a proven way to increase the value of your music, so give that guide a look for more information.
Under Pricing Yourself As A Musician
This is similar to the above point so I won't go into much detail, but under pricing yourself as a musician is just as bad as giving most of your music out for free. Just. Don't. Do. It!
Releasing Unprofessional Recordings And Covers
If you ever want people to take you seriously, you need to give them a product they can do that with. If you make a song that sounds like it's been recorded in a dustbin, how valuable do you feel people will feel it's worth? And if you get a poorly designed cover for it, do you think it's going to make people want to listen? No, it's not.
Regardless of budget, making poor quality recordings and having bad artwork is inexcusable. There are always ways to get cheap covers for your releases, and sometimes even free ones.
While it's very rare to get good quality free studio time, there are good quality low cost ones. You don't have to pay big money for full day sessions, simply book an hour or two in mid level studios. These are studios without the unnecessary bells and whistles (e.g. a microwave, pool table etc) but with good quality recording equipment.
Haven't got enough money to hire a studio for an hour to record and complete one songs start to finish (or two hours if the song is more complex)? Then you need to get a job and start saving towards it. Even if it takes a couple of months, save and hire that studio for an hour or two.
Not putting out a professional product will make you look worse than you are, hence devaluing your music.
Consistently Playing Gigs Without Pay
So stepping away from the pay to play model here, playing gigs without compensation of any kind isn't generally a good move for your music career. I say ‘generally' because there are the odd times where playing free will benefit you in other ways. When you're first starting out and need some experience under your belt for example, getting a couple gigs is good for confidence, experience, and your music CV. That said, if you've already played quite a few gigs and event organizers are trying to offer you standard exposure gigs for no pay, this isn't acceptable.
As a musician you time is valuable. Furthermore as a human your time is valuable. You've spent years practicing (probably, or at least many months), you've spent money on equipment, studio time and the like. If they want you to provide them with a service, they should pay you like they would for any other service. They pay their bar staff, so their entertainment should also be paid.
If you allow yourself to take these free gigs, again, you're devaluing your music. Instead, put that time into working on things that will get you paid gigs, or other beneficial tasks in you music career.
Talking Yourself Down
One thing I often see is musicians talking themselves down. By this I mean ‘warning' people before they go and gig, or letting people know “I can do better” before they play them their music.
Why do this? All it does is show you're either a shy person, or you're embarrassed about your music. Either way, it doesn't fit well into an image musicians should be portraying.
While a shift has been made towards the image of more reachable musicians in recent times, it's still important to let people idolize you if they want. If you keep backtracking and talking yourself down however, you're not allowing them to get the image of you they want.
Instead you should be hyping up your music before you show it to people, and getting them excited to enjoy it. Not only will this make people that bit more willing to listen, but it'll also give off a better image and help you find your character.
Are You Devaluing Your Music?
So looking at the above, are you making your music appear less valuable than it is? Is so, I urge you to make a change, and start putting into practice the above advice. Doing so will get you started making more money from your music, so give it a try.