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Published On: Tue, Feb 26th, 2019

More Sales, More Problems: 6 Things You Need to Do Before Your Breakout Hit

For struggling musicians who finally hit it big, success is a good problem to have. But that doesn’t change the fact that success may lead to another and higher level of issues and/or problems.   

Even if things aren’t guaranteed to work out, you have every right to expect that you’ll gain some traction in the rough-and-tumble music industry. If and when that happens, you’ll be thankful that you laid the groundwork for a smooth transition to the big time before things got crazy.

photo/ LaMography Stockphotos

Not sure where to start? Here’s what you want to do before your breakout hit.

  1. Look for Non-traditional Monetization Options

Record streams are not usually enough to support full-time musicians. To create a diversified, sustainable income stream that outlasts your heyday, you need to get creative. Consider some or all of the following non-traditional monetization options:

  • Touring and Live Performances
  • Licensing your music to third-party users, such as production companies
  • Merchandise – producing your own non-musical merchandise (merch) — everything from T-shirts to tote bags to coffee mugs
  • Developing complementary content, such as videos,  making-of documentaries and tell-all books

Ask your agent, record label, and fellow musicians for more ideas. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach here; it’s all about satisfying your fans.

  1. Hire an Experienced Entertainment Attorney

Before you know it, you’ll be navigating byzantine record contracts, representation agreements, and licensing and endorsement deals. To keep everything on the up and up, you’ll need to hire an experienced entertainment attorney.  Look for prolific attorneys whose reputations precede them — people like Los Angeles-based lawyer Helen Yu, who represented more Billboard Hot 100 clients than any other Hollywood music attorney in 2014.

  1. Take Concrete Steps to Protect Your IP

Together with your attorney, take concrete steps to protect your most valuable work product — your intellectual property. As with income diversification, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach here; that’s why hiring an attorney you trust to give sound advice is so important.

  1. Forge Relationships With Indie Radio Stations

Reach out to indie radio stations (and individual deejays) that you think would be a good fit for your music. Though time-consuming, you really want to spare no effort here, looking well beyond your backyard (and even into international markets into which you’re considering expanding).

  1. Invest in a Sophisticated Digital Marketing Effort

A nice-looking website isn’t enough, unfortunately. You must invest in a sophisticated digital marketing effort that incorporates organic social media outreach, organic and paid search (yes, musicians need SEO too!) and, of course, a robust YouTube presence. “Spare no expense” isn’t really a thing when you’re living hand to mouth, but you definitely want to make this a priority.

  1. Connect With Industry Influencers

Last, but not least, punch up — meaning, connect with industry influencers from whose solicitude, attention, and (fingers crossed) endorsement you’re likely to benefit. Who knows? Your most lucrative creative partnership to date might start here.

Are You Ready for Your Star Turn?

Star turns usually don’t come on schedule. Your act’s momentum might be plain for those around you to see — or your career might go from zero to sixty in what feels like the blink of an eye. When and how you prepare for your breakout may well determine the course of your career for years to come; at the very least, it’ll determine whether you’re able to adjust to your newfound success.

Author: Ariana Smith

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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