One of the most significant costs a record label will have is its staffing cost. A&R people need bonuses for luring you, executives need bonuses for seeing your project through, and the chief financial officer needs a bonus because of the work he or she will have done keeping track of everyone else’s bonus. Seriously, people cost a lot of money!
Picture the situation: You’re a hot new band, and you have two record labels interested in you. One has its offices in the heart of town. These are the plushest offices you could imagine—the latest designer furniture in the lobby, hand-stitched carpets, and receptionists manicured to within an inch of their lives.
When you get through to the meeting rooms, the tables are inlaid with hand-carved detail, and the chairs are covered in the softest leather you have ever felt. Needless to say, the audio-visual facilities are to die for.
The executives who show up to meet you are dressed in smart (but casual) expensive designer suits. Their jewelry (both the men and the women) is discreet, but you know it is about as expensive as you can get.
Now think about another label with its offices about an hour out of town. Unfortunately, you’re an hour out of town too, but in the other direction. Inside, the offices are painted white, and the carpets have seen better days, showing signs of wear. There are no meeting rooms, so you all congregate in the A&R guy’s office, which is a mess, piled high with demo CDs from other acts. The A&R guy apologizes for the mess, but doesn’t apologize for the state of his Metallica 1997 tour T-shirt.
Okay, which of these two labels impresses you more? Which label says “success?”
The following expenses are in connection with any property that you use for your business:
- The cost of purchase or renting (including taxes and lawyers’ fees) Local property taxes.
- The cost of amenities, such as water and electricity.
- Insurance costs, both for the property itself and against anyone injuring himself or herself while in the property.
- Maintenance costs, which may be as low as a door hinge or a coat or two of paint, but could get as high as extending or rebuilding part of the building.
Record labels spend a lot of money on their computer systems. There are many elements to these systems, including the computers themselves (both desktop computers and servers), licenses for the software that runs on the computers, cabling and network gizmos, a bomb-proof backup system that cannot fail, staff to run all of this stuff, and training for all of the staff on how to work the computers. This is before a cent has been spent on customized programming for the accounting and royalty payment systems.
Even using free software (such as Linux), you’re going to have to spend money installing and running a computer system.
Record labels get hit with a range of taxes. These include taxes on the profits that the label makes, employment/social taxes (such as National Insurance Contributions in the UK), and sales taxes (such as VAT). Some of these charges get levied on a regular basis (for instance, corporate taxes and employment taxes), while others (such as sales taxes) are incurred as part of the daily business of the label. (For instance, manufacturing costs will include sales tax if this is charged in the jurisdiction within which the record label is operating.)
There’s an old cliché that the three certainties in life are birth, death, and taxes. However, this is only partially true. At the time of writing, birth and death are both certain, and while the need to pay taxes is absolute, the amount that will be paid in taxes is far from certain. If you are smart, there’s a lot you can do to avoid taxes.
I briefly mentioned shareholders. By their nature, corporations have shareholders (people who own the business). Shareholders tend to come in two forms:
- People and institutions (such as banks, insurance contributions, and retirement funds) who own shares in companies.
- Other companies, where one company will be a subsidiary of another company.
Whatever the nature of the shareholders, they have one thing in common: They want to be paid for owning shares in the company. The way that companies pay their shareholders is by distributing an element of their profits. This distribution is usually called a dividend, and its amount is determined by the executives of the company.
Getting the Product to the Customer
There are other costs that a record label will incur that are directly related to your product. The main costs are manufacturing, distribu- tion, and marketing. If you self-release a CD, you will incur these costs too, although you may want to spend less than a record label would, and you are likely to employ other distribution options (such as mail order) to a greater extent.
A record label will probably be able to get your CD produced for a lower unit cost than you can. This is because a label will put far more business with a pressing plant than you will and so can negotiate much better deals. Also, a label will expect to sell a lot more CDs than you could and so will get many more CDs pressed. Unless these CDs sell, the record company will not generate any income, so the next step is to get the CDs to a place where they can be sold.
Once your CDs are in the stores, then they need to sell. If they don’t sell, they will be returned.
If you’re lucky, some people will buy your CD on the basis of the cover. However, how often do you walk into a record store and buy a CD by an artist you’ve never heard of? My hunch is not very often. If you, as a musician, don’t buy other musicians’ products without hear- ing them, what expectation can you have that an average punter will go into a record store and buy your music? It is for this reason that you need a marketing campaign. A good idea is to promote your music online.
5 Ways To Reconnect With Your Art As A Dallas Musician
The most important thing you’ll need to learn as a musician is how to handle a creative lull. If you’re going through this right now, don’t worry. Everyone does!
You might’ve heard all you can do is wait for this musical block to disappear. This “advice” usually doesn’t help; it’s also not true. While you can’t force a spark through force of will, there are things you can do to bring it about naturally.
If you follow these steps, you’ll be opening the door to new ideas, and before you know it, one will take root, and you’ll be back to your old self.
1. Update Your Style
No matter how much we try, we’ll never get away from the fact that looks matter. A musician’s image doesn’t only matter to their audience- it impacts the musician as well.
If you’re a tattoo fan, why not consider some new ink? Sometimes all it takes is inspiration from a fellow artist to rekindle our own creative spark. Unique tattoo specialists such as Jeanmarco Cicolini, geometric tattoo artist in Dallas, TX can provide you with a one-of-a-kind piece that might inspire your next song.
2. Fix Your Environment
The area around us plays a huge role in our mood. This means you need to make your living space, especially your workspace, into something that inspires you.
You probably didn’t expect to get a reminder to clean your house here, but it couldn’t be more relevant. Clutter shuts off creativity. Think about what kind of music you want to create, and from there, design accordingly.
If you don’t know where to start, plants never fail to inspire. Choose a leafy and easygoing friend like a pothos, or take inspiration from the Chihuahuan Desert and go with a succulent.
3. Dabble in Different Artistic Expressions
Many of us have a blocked-off sense of curiosity. When this happens, we’re unable to try new things. The disturbing effect of this is that every day begins and ends the same.
Try something, whether playing a new instrument or delving into a different genre. The worst thing that could happen is spending an afternoon doing something you realize you don’t like. The best is that you gain a new lifelong passion.
That adds up to nothing to lose and everything to gain.
4. Listen to Music You Enjoy
There was never an artist who didn’t draw inspiration from someone before them. You’re trying to create music you enjoy, but when was the last time you enjoyed music at all?
Spend time listening to old favorites. Pay attention to what instruments they use, how they turn a phrase and the mood they create.
Take this time to find new music that resonates with you, too. Explore local songwriters or electronic artists in Dallas and see what fresh sounds are out there. A new addition to your interests is just as inspiring as getting in touch with old ones.
5. Draw from Life Experience
Few songs came from nowhere; a person, place, or event usually inspired them. That’s why sitting alone in a room for hours waiting for an idea to hit is counterproductive. You’re not getting any new life experiences that might create a spark.
You don’t need to go on a wild adventure to achieve this; a new life experience could be as simple as getting coffee with a friend or sitting in on a music jam at your favorite Dallas bar. When you do this, give the pressure to get an idea a rest. Be present at the moment, and take in all the sights, sounds, and smells around you.
Reignite the Fire
Inspiration doesn’t come back just because you want it. You have to create a place that inspires creativity. And that isn’t all about pushing yourself. Don’t forget what music is at its core: enjoyment. That means you need to enjoy it too.
Investing In The Music Industry: Is It Worth It?
The wonders of technological innovation have enabled musicians and listeners alike to manage and interact with music in ways previously thought impossible. Wild things are happening, such as augmented reality concerts, popular artists making appearances in video games, and who would’ve thought twenty years ago that any song imaginable could be played anytime, anywhere?
We’ll promptly go over two avenues in which you can attempt to make smart financial investments within the music industry. These include music royalties and streaming services. Let’s determine whether investing in the music industry is worth it in 2022.
For the uninitiated, music royalties are essentially payments that are made to both songwriter and publishers once their song has been broadcast on the radio, streaming services, or by less traditional means, such as a Peloton playlist or television commercial. Artists are also known to jack up their streams in order to earn more in music royalties.
Additionally, the use of smart home appliances like Amazon’s Alexa and SONOS speakers deepens the engagement of consumers with music at home. Wireless headphones and other high-tech accessories have also become standard among most listeners, and the rate at which listeners consume materials at home and their place of study or work is now at record highs.
Intricacies aside, millions more listeners might join the music ecosystem as a result of increased internet usage and technological accessibility, especially in developing markets. More music is being streamed as a result of this trend, which jacks up the rates of royalties as well. This prospect is what makes more and more of today’s financiers invest in music royalties at unprecedented rates.
Music royalties are becoming a more alluring investment vehicle in the present market climate of poor yields and interest rates. More investors are now paying attention to their financial potential because of their low correlation with economic growth and strong potential as a steady income source.
On the other hand, streaming services such as giants Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music have continued to add users to their mammoth sizes, thanks in part to the new avenue of opportunities that the COVID-19 pandemic brought along. Their massive user base enables people from around the world to find new artists every single day.
As businesses study listeners’ behavior and habits more closely than ever, streaming platforms are a gold mine of data for musicians. Musicians may utilize streaming data in addition to receiving royalties to choose a tour stop, submit new songs to editors, learn more about the demographics of their audience, and even collect funding for new endeavors.
In a nutshell, the streaming business model is rather simple. Streaming services give access to libraries of millions of songs to users in exchange for deploying advertisements and charging those who don’t want to listen to said publicity. In 2021, streaming services raked in $12.4 billion in revenue, and there’s no reason to think these figures aren’t bound to grow in the near future.
Spotify (SPOT), Alphabet’s YouTube (GOOG), Apple Music (AAPL), Sirius XM (SIRI), Amazon Music Unlimited (AMZN), and iHeartMedia (IHRT) are all platforms in which you can invest and get in on the streaming revolution.
With the music industry burgeoning to unparalleled heights, there truly is no better time to make an adequate investment in your favorite musicians or streaming services. Before making any financial decision, as always, you’d be wise to consult with an experienced financier, and this isn’t by any means clear-cut financial advice. Nonetheless, there seems to be an opportunity waiting to be exploited.
Playing Guitar With Headphones: 5 Methods To Get You Started
Practicing your electric guitar can be exhilarating, but it can quickly become frustrating when your roommate, spouse, or your cranky neighbor Mrs. Grouch asks you to hush.
There are other ways you can play your guitar without an amp, although it kind of defeats the whole idea of playing your electric guitar—blasting the sound through the amp and rocking the house—and they all have to do with headphones!
However, you can’t simply hook up your headphones directly into your guitar. With our 5 easy methods, you can play your heart out without irritating everyone around you, including Mrs. Grouch! So when you’re looking for the right headphones, make sure you’re looking at the best picks!
The Advantages of Playing Guitar With Headphones
It’s more fun to play the guitar when you can rock the house. All guitar players will agree on this. And while playing alone in the room isn’t much fun, it does feel rewarding to hear your music echo off the walls and floor.
However, people living with and near you may not feel like it. They don’t think it sounds bad or anything. It just feels too loud to them. If you don’t want to sleep on the couch tonight, you may want to use headphones when you play your guitar.
The best part about playing with headphones is that you can listen to the sound of your guitar more closely, which will help you hear subtle tones you may have missed when playing your guitar with an amplifier.
Also, playing your guitar with headphones on is a simple way to maximize your practice time. Be it day or night, you can play your guitar anytime and anywhere you want, as you never have to haul a heavy amplifier. The more time you spend on something, the better you get at it.
Lastly, if you’re familiar with effects pedals or stomp boxes, you know it’s one way to add grit and energy to your guitar tones. But, through your PC or smartphone, many guitar apps allow you to link your guitar to your headphones so you can create and record your own music with similar sound effects to a stomp box without an actual stomp box. It’s pretty great, right?
Using Your Electric Guitar With Headphones On
The following are some of the ways you can play your six strings with your headphones:
#1: Plug the Headphones Into an Amp
Here’s a way to quickly and easily play the guitar with your headphones. Plug them into an amplifier! The amp converts your guitar signal and delivers enough power for you to listen to the sound by means of your headphones.
If you connect the headphones to an amplifier, make sure you turn down the master volume before putting on the headphones. Gradually increase the volume to a level you feel most comfortable with to prevent the loud music from blaring through your ears.
#2: Using Multi-Effects Pedal
A multi-effect pedal alters your original guitar input signal to produce a range of sounds, giving you an amp-like tone while saving amp space.
Almost all modern pedals with multi-effects feature an output labeled appropriately as the “line out,” which will allow you to plug in headphones if it has amp modeling of some sort. There may also be output labeled as “phones” or “headphones” for that specific device.
#3: Connecting Your Guitar to a Mini Amp
Your regular amp can be utterly loud, and for someone who wants to practice, it may not be the best device to practice with. This is where mini amplifiers exist.
These amps are tiny that you can bring them with you anywhere. They are typically battery-operated, so you don’t have to carry cables and electrical sockets with you. In most cases, all you need to do is plug the mini amplifier into the guitar and play.
Many of these mini amps are designed with a 3.5mm output intended for speakers and headphones. It’s an excellent choice for your practice sessions mainly due to the minimal configuration it requires.
#4: Using Audio Interface
You can also try using an audio interface. It allows you to record yourself playing through your PC or smartphone, and with a good guitar amp simulator, you can make incredible guitar sounds. Now we know why these devices are quite popular!
To set it up, you can plug your guitar into the audio interface. Then connect the interface to your computer. Once it’s done, you can use your headphones to listen to the guitar sound.
#5: Connecting to Smartphone
To set the record straight, you cannot connect your guitar to your smartphone directly. A regular cable and adapter cannot be used as smartphones, including tablets, feature a headphone jack.
To make this work, an interface of some sort is needed. It’s worth noting that not all audio interfaces will work on smartphones.
Due to a number of factors, playing the guitar with an amp is not always doable. Sadly, we often find ourselves in scenarios where playing with an amp is not an option.
The quickest and easiest way to keep playing without disturbing everyone around you is with headphones. Make sure your pedal or guitar amp has an output for headphones. If so, all you really have to do is simply connect the headphones!