You make great music. You play live. You connect with your fans using their preferred social media and digital channels.
These are all good things to be doing, and you can achieve considerable success just by working hard and making a conscious effort to grow your fan base over time.
But if you find making money in music to be a challenge, or you’re just looking for different revenue sources to tap into, you’ll be happy to know there are plenty.
Marketing to consumers is a good way to build your fan base. But you can also market your music to businesses for additional opportunities. This is something you may never have explored or thought of before.
Here’s why you need to start marketing your music to businesses.
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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What Is B2C & B2B?
This terminology gets thrown around quite a bit in the online space. Don’t worry – it isn’t anything weird or complicated. B2C means business to consumer. B2B means business to business. These terms simply describe who you’re selling to: Consumers or businesses.
There are thought to be two major categories of business – ones that market and sell their goods or services to consumers, others that market and sell their services to businesses.
There isn’t necessarily a huge disparity in how to sell your offers to one market or the other. But there can be small differences. For instance, a B2C business might prioritize Facebook over other social networks to reach the general consumer market, and a B2B business might prioritize LinkedIn to reach more professionals and executives to begin conversations with them.
As a musician, you may not see yourself as a business, but a good way to think about it is that you have fans (B2C), and then you have businesses (B2B). Businesses need music for a variety of reasons. They may want background music to play in their storefront. They may want background music for their extreme sports videos. Or, they may be looking for music to use in their upcoming advertising campaign.
You can either market to both at once, or you can stick to one market, depending on your goals. The only right or wrong is what’s right or wrong for you. But I will say this – you may be missing out on good opportunities if you aren’t marketing your music to businesses.
Who Can I Sell My Music To As A Business To Business Musician?
This is a bit of a loaded question, so let me break it down a bit.
You can think of it this way – even in the B2B space, there are: a) traditional channels for selling your music, and b) non-traditional channels for selling your music.
Traditional channels might include advertising companies. They will typically license your music for use in their commercials. I’ll be talking more about licensing your music in a moment, as many of the contracts you win will likely be in this category.
Non-traditional channels might include selling your music to a spa. Let’s say you’ve just crafted an amazing album of relaxation music, and you know it would be perfect for spas. So, you could get them to put your music on their playlist, and then sell them your CDs at wholesale so they can resell them at retail pricing to their customers.
You could say there aren’t too many limits in terms of who you can sell your music to. It’s more a matter of how you approach it – as someone who wants to create and sell content to businesses, or as someone who wants to blaze their own trail and tap into the business-related opportunities they uncover along the way.
How Can I License & Find Placements For My Music?
I’ve written an in-depth article on the topic called: What Are Some Music Placement Opportunities Available To Musicians?
I would suggest referring to that guide for more information, though I will cover some additional tips here.
First, it’s important to recognize that licensing and placement opportunities aren’t just for ads and commercials. You can also get your music on: TV shows, online videos, webcasts, films and movies, video games, radio shows, podcasts, and much more.
The amount of money you make will depend on the contract as well as how many people your music reaches, and how many times the content is used.
So, for instance, if you land your music in a popular TV show, and it gets rerun a lot, you’ll probably collect some nice royalties for your effort.
There are also plenty of sites you can utilize to find – and submit your music to – placement opportunities. Acceptance is not guaranteed just because you take time (or spend money) to submit your music, and it can be quite competitive too. But if you have the right song for the right project, nothing will stop music supervisors from licensing it.
Here are several sites I’ve referred to before that list placement opportunities: ReverbNation, Sonicbids, TAXI, Broadjam, Hitlicense.com, Music Gorilla, MusicXray, Third Side Music, Film Music Network. ThinkSync Music, and Transition Music Corporation. There are plenty of others out there – just Google “music licensing services” and you’ll see for yourself.
It’s important to note that some sites will charge a membership fee (sometimes a hefty membership fee), while others are free to use. You can probably guess how competitive the free sites are. If you pay for a membership, you’ll be competing with fewer composers and musicians, and will find better quality opportunities too. But the number of sites you use is entirely up to you, and how eager you are to get your music placed.
What I’ve just described isn’t “selling” per se – it mostly involves creating content you know music supervisors are looking for and then pitching to them. But good communication and people skills won’t hurt you one bit as you look to get placed.
Why Should I Sell My Music To Businesses?
I’ve described a few methods for selling your music to businesses, and you may be stirring with some ideas of your own already.
Just so you know, networking and building connections can play a huge part in creating your own opportunities. Developing favorable relationships with gatekeepers can’t do you any harm. Attending conferences and events could lead to some important connections.
Additionally, sponsorship deals could technically be thought of as selling your music to businesses as well, as the premise is that you have access to a large audience that would love to buy their product. Businesses love leveraging and tapping into audiences they didn’t have to build themselves.
So, returning to the core question of “why” you would want to be a B2B musician at all, here are several reasons worth considering.
Because They Have More Money
Virtually every business has expenses, as well as a marketing budget. This means they are willing to spend good money on things they need and want.
Undercutting yourself is a bad idea if you’re selling to businesses, because if you present yourself as being too cheap, they won’t take you seriously. Your song has more value than 99 cents in the hands of an expert marketer that knows they can use your song in an upcoming ad campaign.
But the main thing to recognize here is that businesses have more money than the average consumer. A consumer might be willing to spend $10 to $100 with you in one sitting. A business might be willing to spend thousands of dollars with you over the course of weeks, months, or years, possibly more!
A business is also willing to spend more to obtain the same product. Certainly, buying a song on iTunes is not the same thing as licensing a song for commercial use, but the end result isn’t that different.
In one instance, you get to enjoy a song in the privacy of your own home or ear buds, and in the other, you get to use the music to promote whatever product, service, or event you want.
Don’t get me wrong – businesses will not use your music to promote wares you don’t believe in. That only happens when your team members make those kinds of businesses decisions and sign contracts on your behalf.
But the main takeaway here is that if there’s a good fit with your music and a specific business, money might not be an object.
Because You Can Solve Their Problems
Let’s face it – unless you’re a business that’s embraced the modern era, internet and digital marketing, content and social media marketing, and so on, you probably don’t have music curators on your team.
And yet, businesses find themselves in need of music from time to time. So, where is one to look when that need arises?
There’s an opportunity to solve this problem for businesses, especially if you’re capable of producing different styles of music, and are well-connected with other artists. If possible, you want to get businesses using your music, but sometimes a well-placed recommendation can set you ahead for future opportunities.
You’re a musician. You make music. Businesses sometimes need music. If you’re good at what you do, you may be able to solve a problem they have.
Because You Can Uncover New Opportunities & Revenue Streams
When it comes to making money, I like thinking a little outside the box. I feel I would make for a bad employee overall, because I wouldn’t ever be as invested in the work they assigned me as I would be in building my own future.
So, I’ve tried my hand at different things, especially in the last seven years, mostly as a freelancer, investor, and entrepreneur. And, while I’ve experienced some huge challenges along the way, I find self-employment much more rewarding and fulfilling than traditional employment. And, I’m more productive and self-motivated than I would ever be at an office.
So, if you’re a musician looking for new opportunities and revenue streams to pursue, I think selling to businesses is something you would embrace and even enjoy. No, you won’t hit a homerun every time, and you’ll probably be rejected a lot, but as you gain smarts and build connections, it’s inevitable that you’ll find some worthwhile partnerships too.
Because Businesses Are Connected
You may be a well-connected person. If so, I commend you.
But how many entrepreneurs, small business owners, and CEOs do you know? How many decision makers, gatekeepers, and influencers are you connected with?
If you answered “none” or “only a few”, then you still aren’t as connected as you could be.
It’s important to understand that businesses have connections you probably don’t. This isn’t to suggest they’ll always be favorably disposed to giving you referrals, but it does mean they may open doors you simply can’t on your own.
It’s weird, but some people just don’t take you that seriously until you have a manager, or a publicist, or a booking agent. You start building your team, and suddenly people are turning their heads and asking about you. Sometimes that’s just how it works.
Imagine your music getting placed on TV, in a high-profile commercial. Would it be safe to assume you’d get more exposure and sales from that? Would people be humming your song on the street? Would other music supervisors, venue owners, or influencers want to look you up and work with you?
The answer is always “maybe”. But your chances would increase, I think we can both agree on that.
Why You Need To Start Marketing Your Music To Businesses Conclusion
Marketing your music to businesses is not an absolute essential, and it can be challenging at times. It's not for everyone, but it could be for you.
Just imagine, for example, Red Bull wanting to use your song in one of their videos. Their videos on YouTube tend to get thousands, and sometimes tens or hundreds of thousands of views. Do you think there might be a way for you to capitalize on an audience like that?
I’m not saying you’ll be presented with these opportunities daily. That’s unlikely. But if you put some effort towards selling to businesses, you could stand to bring in a good chunk of money.