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Level 1: Money (Section 5)
Written by:
Emily Plazek
Level 1 -  $Mula$.

Welcome to Level 1. The right side is about Fans, the left is about Money -- your music career success is a product of those two factors. Each side has a milestone to hit that guides you into Level 2, opening up new opportunities per section and allowing you to let go of old activities you didn’t want to do forever.

Remember, you’ll be conducting the laneway activities consistently throughout the entire process -- and your goal is to climb to Level 3 - Definition of Success then stay there, living sustainably. Let’s start: You need money to do your projects, right?  

What’s the difference between a hobby and a career?

Money. The answer is simply income. It doesn’t make a music hobby any less valuable or worthy or anything like that -- but if you have the goal of having an indie music career, then you want to live off of it financially. This is often the hardest part of indie music careers, but before we get started, I would feel amiss if I didn’t give you a little perspective to cheer you up about this topic:  

Usually, major label-signed artists are paid in the form of advances from labels, so it may look to someone like you or me that they’re getting paid, but they actually have to pay that back with interest. It’s a loan. Labels are financial institutions in a powerful way -- yes, in the right context they can make certain music career aspects come to life that you couldn’t on your own without a big fat checkbook, but oftentimes musicians get pulled into financially risky deals that leave them bankrupt.

A prime example is 30 Seconds to Mars -- in the band’s documentary Artifact, Jared Leto shares how they were headlining arena tours around the world, but were also in a chokehold of massive debt to their label.

I share all that to actually make you smile: yeah, you’re starting at the beginning on your own, but you’re doing it all on your own clock, your own preferences, and your own freedom to earn and spend money on only the things you choose. In this way, being indie is powerful and freeing -- appreciate it.

Emily and Kellee at MIC Publishing's Co-Creator Dewey's recital at The Carnegie Museum. High class.

Where do I even begin?

After you take a look at what you have/spend and determine what amounts you need to accomplish your music projects (Level 1 - Fans), start to think a little bigger. This is for your own sake-- tap into the power of the Law of Attraction, and a little effort goes a long way: Understand how much you need for your projects, then aim higher, and believe that one day you’ll hit higher. Just remember that for later-- it’s training your brain in a powerful way.

Then, start to tuck away whatever you can in simple ways. People who have a separate bank account for setting aside funds automatically from their paychecks or some kind of increment don’t end up even missing what they put in. That’s probably because our lifestyles tend to expand to the incomes we have -- don’t believe me? Think it through a little - unless you’ve got the saving willpower of an ox, you might do it too.

Either way, the less you spend in general, the more money you have to spend on your music career. It’s intuitive, right?

The 3 Categories

Overall you can depend on money to come in through the following:

  1. Adjacencies

Non-Music jobs like a 9-to-5, coffee barista-ing, waitressing, construction working, and so on. You’re also capable of monetizing your music skills with music adjacencies like teaching lessons, playing in groups for hire, making/selling beats, etc.

  1. Publishing

Read the MIC Music Release Process Manual (coming soon) in Level 1 - Fans, for directions on how to set up a lot of these things you can make money from:

Distribution through an aggregator (like Distrokid) to online stores (like iTunes) and streaming sites (like Spotify).

Radio play like Pandora, Sirius, Satellite, or music library channels (but not Top 40-- that’s part of Level 2 - Fans because of its unique circumstances). You probably knew the first 3 examples, but the fourth is when a place like your local YMCA pays thousands of dollars a year to play unlimited music in their space (yeah, you can’t legally just play what you want if you’re making money off of it).

Our Publishing branch specializes in Sync Licensing, and all of our MIC MVMT music is available for use in films, TV shows, advertisements, and any projects -- go check it out!

Sync Licensing is when your music gets placed into a movie, TV show, commercial, etc., and you get paid for it (in syndication sometimes!)  -- it’s also our specialty at our Publishing branch of MIC PGH! There are other licenses from which your song ownership can make you money, like those sold to people who want to cover your song.

  1. Easy-Monetizers

Set up YouTube Monetization when you add something to your channel.

“Donation Facilitation” through adding a Paypal Donate Button to your website. There’s a story about busker Claire Means and how she started getting famous on the live-streaming social media platform Periscope, and her fans were begging for a donate button --- she got to a point where her donations ended up contributing to a significant portion of her monthly income!

Saving money, spending less. Hard as it is, we all know it's true. It’s maybe the easiest easy-monetizer of them all. Purchases add up, so try just to spend money on things you really super want -- because you really super want your music career, too, right?

Also: maybe you consider these part of your music projects, but Busking (street performing) and Crowdfunding are two other ways to make money. Neither are “easy-monetizers” due to the work and sheer hours needed to successfully launch and complete one, but if you’re higher up on your Level 1 - Fans side of the Pyramid and you think you have enough fans that such a project would make sense for you, go for it.

Next up is what happens once you rise into Level 2 - Fans.

Or go back and read more about Level 1 - Money here!

Level 1: Money (Section 5)
Level 1: Money (Section 5)
MIC is my baby.
Level 1 -  $Mula$.

Welcome to Level 1. The right side is about Fans, the left is about Money -- your music career success is a product of those two factors. Each side has a milestone to hit that guides you into Level 2, opening up new opportunities per section and allowing you to let go of old activities you didn’t want to do forever.

Remember, you’ll be conducting the laneway activities consistently throughout the entire process -- and your goal is to climb to Level 3 - Definition of Success then stay there, living sustainably. Let’s start: You need money to do your projects, right?  

What’s the difference between a hobby and a career?

Money. The answer is simply income. It doesn’t make a music hobby any less valuable or worthy or anything like that -- but if you have the goal of having an indie music career, then you want to live off of it financially. This is often the hardest part of indie music careers, but before we get started, I would feel amiss if I didn’t give you a little perspective to cheer you up about this topic:  

Usually, major label-signed artists are paid in the form of advances from labels, so it may look to someone like you or me that they’re getting paid, but they actually have to pay that back with interest. It’s a loan. Labels are financial institutions in a powerful way -- yes, in the right context they can make certain music career aspects come to life that you couldn’t on your own without a big fat checkbook, but oftentimes musicians get pulled into financially risky deals that leave them bankrupt.

A prime example is 30 Seconds to Mars -- in the band’s documentary Artifact, Jared Leto shares how they were headlining arena tours around the world, but were also in a chokehold of massive debt to their label.

I share all that to actually make you smile: yeah, you’re starting at the beginning on your own, but you’re doing it all on your own clock, your own preferences, and your own freedom to earn and spend money on only the things you choose. In this way, being indie is powerful and freeing -- appreciate it.

Emily and Kellee at MIC Publishing's Co-Creator Dewey's recital at The Carnegie Museum. High class.

Where do I even begin?

After you take a look at what you have/spend and determine what amounts you need to accomplish your music projects (Level 1 - Fans), start to think a little bigger. This is for your own sake-- tap into the power of the Law of Attraction, and a little effort goes a long way: Understand how much you need for your projects, then aim higher, and believe that one day you’ll hit higher. Just remember that for later-- it’s training your brain in a powerful way.

Then, start to tuck away whatever you can in simple ways. People who have a separate bank account for setting aside funds automatically from their paychecks or some kind of increment don’t end up even missing what they put in. That’s probably because our lifestyles tend to expand to the incomes we have -- don’t believe me? Think it through a little - unless you’ve got the saving willpower of an ox, you might do it too.

Either way, the less you spend in general, the more money you have to spend on your music career. It’s intuitive, right?

The 3 Categories

Overall you can depend on money to come in through the following:

  1. Adjacencies

Non-Music jobs like a 9-to-5, coffee barista-ing, waitressing, construction working, and so on. You’re also capable of monetizing your music skills with music adjacencies like teaching lessons, playing in groups for hire, making/selling beats, etc.

  1. Publishing

Read the MIC Music Release Process Manual (coming soon) in Level 1 - Fans, for directions on how to set up a lot of these things you can make money from:

Distribution through an aggregator (like Distrokid) to online stores (like iTunes) and streaming sites (like Spotify).

Radio play like Pandora, Sirius, Satellite, or music library channels (but not Top 40-- that’s part of Level 2 - Fans because of its unique circumstances). You probably knew the first 3 examples, but the fourth is when a place like your local YMCA pays thousands of dollars a year to play unlimited music in their space (yeah, you can’t legally just play what you want if you’re making money off of it).

Our Publishing branch specializes in Sync Licensing, and all of our MIC MVMT music is available for use in films, TV shows, advertisements, and any projects -- go check it out!

Sync Licensing is when your music gets placed into a movie, TV show, commercial, etc., and you get paid for it (in syndication sometimes!)  -- it’s also our specialty at our Publishing branch of MIC PGH! There are other licenses from which your song ownership can make you money, like those sold to people who want to cover your song.

  1. Easy-Monetizers

Set up YouTube Monetization when you add something to your channel.

“Donation Facilitation” through adding a Paypal Donate Button to your website. There’s a story about busker Claire Means and how she started getting famous on the live-streaming social media platform Periscope, and her fans were begging for a donate button --- she got to a point where her donations ended up contributing to a significant portion of her monthly income!

Saving money, spending less. Hard as it is, we all know it's true. It’s maybe the easiest easy-monetizer of them all. Purchases add up, so try just to spend money on things you really super want -- because you really super want your music career, too, right?

Also: maybe you consider these part of your music projects, but Busking (street performing) and Crowdfunding are two other ways to make money. Neither are “easy-monetizers” due to the work and sheer hours needed to successfully launch and complete one, but if you’re higher up on your Level 1 - Fans side of the Pyramid and you think you have enough fans that such a project would make sense for you, go for it.

Next up is what happens once you rise into Level 2 - Fans.

Or go back and read more about Level 1 - Money here!

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