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Beginners Guide for Filing Taxes as a Musician – Part 2: 5 Tips To Get Started

By Music Business No Comments

Please Note: I am not a financial advisor or tax consultant. The contents of this blog is for educational purposes only. Nothing contained here is financial, legal, tax or accounting advice. Be sure to talk with a professional tax consultant or accountant if you’re unsure about filing taxes as a musician. The information contained is specifically for those who live and work in the United States.

Have you started bringing in income from music and you’re unsure of how to prepare for taxes?

Being able to earn money as a musician is the first key step from something just being a hobby to becoming a full-time professional. Unfortunately, this is also where income taxes kick in and things can get complicated quickly.

In this blog, which is part 2 of my beginners guide for filing taxes, I’ll cover 5 fundamental tips on how independent artists should get started with accounting for their music business. Also, I share a list of expenses you may be able to write-off as a musician. Read More

Beginners Guide for Filing Taxes as a Musician – Part 1: Frequently Asked Questions

By Music Business No Comments

Please Note: I am not a financial advisor or tax consultant. The contents of this blog is for educational purposes only. Nothing contained here is financial, legal, tax or accounting advice. Be sure to talk with a professional tax consultant or accountant if you’re unsure about filing taxes as a musician. The information contained is specifically for those who live and work in the United States.

As gratifying as it may be to make a living off your art, the tough reality of being an independent artist is that you’re required to handle not only the creative side, but all aspects of the business. This includes filing tax returns with the good folks at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Whether you’re just starting out or on the path to pursue a full-time career as a professional musician, you want to make sure you educate yourself with the basics around filing taxes and creating an accounting system for your finances related to the business. Even though tax returns are due in April, it’s never too early to learn, especially if you want to take this music thing more seriously.

In this blog, I’ll cover common questions newer artists pursuing music professionally may have about filing taxes as a self-employed musician. Read More

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16 Essential Things You Need to Know to Start Your Music Career in 2024

By Marketing Basics, Music Business 26 Comments

2024 Update: This blog was originally published in 2018, but I recently updated it to reflect the changes I’ve seen in the past 6 years.

Have you recently decided that you want to pursue your passion for music, but have no idea where to start? If you’ve been doing music as a hobby for a while now and you want to get more serious, you’re in the right place.

In this blog, I cover all the major pieces and beginning steps you will need to take for starting your music career as an independent artist. Although this guide caters more towards performing artists, singer-songwriters, bands and rappers, I feel a lot of this can still apply to producers and instrumentalists as well.

Even if your end goal is to sign with a major music label, you’ll still need to take these steps to build your foundation. Just know that in the current climate of the music industry (thanks to the internet) you are no longer dependent on music labels to make a career in music, especially the majors. You have the freedom to do it yourself and have complete ownership. Read More

Are NFTs the Future or a SCAM? My First Experiences Buying into Music NFT Projects

By NFTs, Web3 No Comments

This is the first part of a series on Web3 / NFTs for music artists. In this introductory blog, I explain why so many think that NFTs are a scam and cover the very basics of NFTs and the blockchain.

My hope is musicians will rethink this narrative and keep an open mind because there is a lot of good potential for the music industry as this Web3 space continues to develop. As someone new to this space, I share my experiences with buying into some NFT projects to see if they really are scams.
 

Within the past 3 years or so, there has been a lot of chatter around NFTs in headlines and various social spaces. On top of that, you also had the buzz words “metaverse” and “web3” constantly being tossed around.

With headlines of record breaking sales, NFTs gained a lot of attention in the music community. In 2021 alone, musician-related NFT projects generated over 86 million dollars in revenue according to research from Water & Music. About two-thirds (64%) of those NFT project sales came from independent artists while one-third (36%) came from major label artists.

Then you have artists like Snoop Dogg, Eminem and even Madonna making headlines for buying NFTs by the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in the secondary market for what many confused outsiders perceive as “expensive JPEGs.” What is up with all this NFT hype? Read More

How To Find Music Blogs To Promote Your Music

By Music Marketing, Music Promotion No Comments

This is a guest post by Mackenzie Leighton from Groover.

As an independent musician, good media coverage is the key to growing your fanbase and establishing notoriety. It can be overwhelming to find music blogs to submit music to when there are endless options to choose from. Some artists may choose to work with public relations agents that do this work for them, while others prefer to get media coverage on their own. If you want to send your music to blogs with guaranteed feedback, check out Groover: a platform that connects artists directly with influencers in the music industry.

Here are the best strategies to find music blogs so that you can successfully pitch your music to the right people and get media coverage.
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How NOT to Pitch to Music Industry People: Avoid These 10 Common Email Mistakes!

By Music Business No Comments

Have you ever tried pitching yourself or your music to someone in the music industry but rarely ever hear back?

Many of us are busy and yes, we get a lot of emails. At least for me, I actually read most of the emails I get from my website, but I only respond to maybe 5% of them. Why is that? Many artists are making the same common mistakes when it comes to email.

One of the most fundamental skills any emerging independent artist needs is to know how to communicate to music industry people professionally. So if you want to improve the chances of getting something you want, whether it’s pitching for a playlist, receiving coverage on a blog, performing at a venue, getting help with your career, you need to know the proper way to email someone.

Some of you may be thinking this sounds so basic, why dedicate a whole blog on this topic? Unfortunately, I still see a lot of these mistakes in my own inbox way too often so clearly this isn’t common sense. Read More

10 Ways to Enhance Your Music Marketing Around Song Lyrics

By Music Business, Music Marketing No Comments

Lyrics are powerful. You write and perform your songs. Fans memorize them and sing along. Sometimes, they’ll even tattoo their favorite lines on their body. As independent artists, you want to make sure you leverage the power of lyrics in every possible way in your business and marketing.

In earlier days of the Internet (in the late 1990s and early 2000s), searching for song lyrics was one of the top things people did online. I remember I would print out the lyrics to my favorite songs from sites, like AZ Lyrics, and sing/rap along so I could memorize them faster. The good news is making your lyrics accessible is so much easier now, compared to how it was a few decades ago.

In this blog, I will cover all things lyrics that independent artists should do for every release as well as things to consider for marketing your music. Read More

How to Sell Your Merch Directly Through Instagram Shopping (Guide for Musicians)

By Ecommerce, Instagram, Merch, Music Business No Comments

5/8/22 Update: I noticed that Meta(Facebook) is rolling out a revamped tool called Meta Business Suite that looks to replace Facebook Business Manager, which I reference in this blog. As a result, some locations of things I reference and directions I included below may not work anymore. I will try to update everything as soon as possible.

For musicians, a big part of marketing is accessibility. Whether it’s at a live show or on social media, you want to meet fans where they are at and make it as easy as possible to support you.

With Instagram being one of the top social media platforms for musicians, setting up the Instagram Shopping feature is a great way to do this. After launching in 2019, Instagram Shopping has become more widely available now for most business account users.

Unfortunately, the process to get set up can be a bit confusing. In this blog, I will go over all the steps in detail so you can get Instagram Shopping up and running on your Instagram account. Read More

How to Submit Your New Release for Amazon Music Playlists and Stations

By Music Distribution, Music Promotion, Music Streaming No Comments

Last Updated: 8/10/22

Following in the footsteps of Spotify, Amazon Music has launched their own submission tool for artists to pitch a new song release for consideration on one of their editorial playlists and stations.

This is a brand new offering so I have yet to submit a song for any artists yet, but I wanted to put this on your radar. In this blog, I will go through how it works and why Amazon Music should be taken more seriously. Read More

6-Step Guide to Make Quality Cover Song Videos With Your Smartphone

By Content Creation, Video One Comment

Video content is essential for any independent artist looking to gain exposure, build a fanbase and ultimately work your way into a full-time music career. The problem is not every musician has the budget to hire a videographer for every song you do, especially when money is tight.

In this blog, I will go over how you can record your own videos without the need of any fancy cameras and minimal investments in equipment. All done simply through your mobile phone. Yes, you can still produce good quality video content with it. This is guide is perfect if you’re new to video or you just want tips to make improve the video quality of your content.

I’ll specifically focus on cover song videos since it’s a very common and viable type of video content artists will release. Read More