I hope you had a Merry Christmas yesterday. Now let’s think about the upcoming New Year.

Here’s an email a client sent to me recently:

“Other than YouTube/iTunes is there any other way an artist can put out their music so that the public can get it. As we know iTunes is letting monthly subscribers download any and all new music so that the artist is not getting their fair share of the money. This is why the rapper Jay Z did what he did. So do you know of any other way if you can help me greatly appreciate it thank you.”

He’s asking an honest question, a question so many people are asking, but it’s the wrong question. As I typed up my reply, I knew I wanted to share it with you. Open your mind to the possibility of changing the way you think about how musicians make money. It could open up some awesome doors for you in 2018.

Here’s my email response:

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I think you’re thinking about it all wrong.

The majority of people listen to music on streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify. (I am an Apple Music guy myself.)

Now, for the sake of this argument let’s assume that you are not a famous, well-known artist. You don’t want to give your music away for free, so you make it available for download only for people who purchase it.

Here’s the problem. I can go listen to the latest Foo Fighters or The War on Drugs albums for free. Right now. “Siri, play the latest Foo Fighters album.”

Are you telling me that your music is better than the biggest artists in the world? It’s so good that people will pull out their wallets and pay to listen to your album when they can listen to Adele and John Mayer for free?

THAT’S the problem. People like Taylor Swift and Jay-Z have huge followings of people willing to pay for their music.

People like you and me do not.

Is it sad? Maybe.

But it’s actually a HUGE opportunity.

Your problem isn’t music sales. Your problem is obscurity. No one knows who you are. If people must pay to listen to your music, that’s how it’s going to stay.

A better solution? Instead of treating your music as the PRODUCT to be sold, view it as a MARKETING TOOL to promote your brand.

If the entire business model for your music is to sell albums, your model is old and broken. Is it possible to sell music? Sure. But I would rather make my music available to everyone I can, THEN focus on creating value in different ways.

Here’s a great example. I make music for a living. But I don’t make much money from selling music or streaming royalties. I’ve created a brand around myself and my music. For my latest EP Fighter, I booked a 2-day recording session at a studio here in Nashville. Then I sold tickets for people to attend the 2-day session. Six people attended, each paying hundreds of dollars to be there.

It wasn’t a million people. It was six.

It didn’t make a million dollars, it made a few thousand.

It didn’t happen overnight.

I launched Home Studio Corner back in 2009. Soon after, I started working on my album Out of Indiana. I documented my music-making journey. Since then I’ve created well over 1,000 videos, talking about music, teaching about audio, sharing my expertise and opinion. Eight years later I’m able to sell tickets to a recording session. It doesn’t happen overnight.

If you hide your music behind a pay wall, you are robbing yourself of opportunities to connect with listeners and grow and audience.

Think bigger. Think long term. Think VALUE.

I’ve given away a ton of music, videos, and articles for free over the years. I’ve built a following. And a small percentage of those people pay me money…for my time, service, or expertise.

That’s how the game works.

And it’s a fun game to play.

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The name of the game is VALUE. If you make something valuable enough, people will pay for it. But it takes effort, and work, and a willingness to risk failure.

That’s the kind of stuff we’re going to be talking about in my brand new Home Studio Business course. We kick things off on January 1st.

And it’s on sale as a part of my big end-of-the-year sale.

Save some dough on a few of my courses, and make sure you add Home Studio Business to your cart. We’ll put together a plan for you to rock HARD in 2018.

Ready?

CLICK HERE to check out the big honkin’ sale.

CLICK HERE to check out Home Studio Business.

Joe Gilder
Home Studio Corner