#188: Why you’re not making any money from your music

There’s a good reason why “poor musician” jokes abound: we aren’t known — by and large — for our financial acumen. Have you found yourself complaining about not making any money in this biz? Well, maybe it’s not just bad luck. It could be a bunch of small (and avoidable) mistakes that have kept you from a solid payday. In this episode Kevin and Chris list dozens of common reasons why musicians might not be making any (or enough) money.

  • Max Christensen

    I enjoyed this episode very much. It has helped me regain some confidence in myself once more. I was raised to have a very thorough way of going about things, not slacking off, always read carefully, as in “do it right the first time”. A very business oriented way of working.
    My biggest issue was that it took overhand and restricted me from making music and uploading stuff regularly.
    Hearing that a lot of people have issues with stuff like Email etiquette, typing in the correct and all information, making sure that stuff is uploaded everywhere it needs to be etc. was freeing in a way. Because it gave me the feeling that once I get to a point where those things matter, I won´t screw it up and I won´t be confronted with the mystery of why things might not be working out.

    On the topic of Jack Contes´ point “release regularly”:
    How do you feel about continuity ?
    I´m currently working in many different fields of music at the same time. I make orchestral hybrid film/game music, play acoustic world music with a band of various settings and I make electronic music in various genres. Should I try to separate those into different artists pseudonyms?
    I imagine it´d be weird for someone who liked my electronic music EP to suddenly hear something in the style of Yo-Yo-Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble when he was expecting something different.
    What are your thoughts on that? This has plagued me for quite some time and I don´t know how to handle it. Especially when it´s about getting music on Spotify and such. When is the right time, under what name, how often, same Email list? etc.

    Thanks for your great work. Really enjoying this podcast and the community behind it!!

  • Thanks, Kevin and Chris, for all your helpful DIY suggestions. I have a question about parodies. I understand how YouTube handles a regular cover, but what about parodies? I wrote my own lyrics to “Yesterday” and it definitely makes people laugh. I called it “Scrambled Egg” after McCartney’s original working title for the song, and I’d like to post a version of it on YouTube, but I don’t want to get into trouble over it. I would plan to make it clear that it’s the Beatles tune – I mean, that’s the main appeal anyway — and I’d be happy to give whatever income the video might generate to Paul (We all know how lucrative YT videos are, right?). Since it has a different name, do I need to indicate the original title in some special way to YouTube, or can I just post the video and let YT handle it? I plan to title it “Scrambled Egg (Parody of Yesterday)” — would that be OK?

  • kbreuner

    Dave – Titling it that way sounds reasonable. A parody can be a bit subjective, but I think you’re fine in this case (based on the info I have).

  • Thanks so much, Kevin. I’ll get it posted in a day or 2, and when it passes 1M views, I’ll let you know (that may take some time…). Thanks again — I really appreciate your advice.

  • Thanks one more time, Kevin, for your answers. I posted “Scrambled Egg” on YouTube a week ago, here:
    https://youtu.be/JVt_ZS4SxI4

    I had emailed YT with questions about this, and all I got was 2 automated answers, one of which linked to their help center, which was no help at all. I really appreciate your help on this.