Your Questions Answered: Making Smart Career Decisions After of Organic Success
We just launched a new feature on our social media platforms where you can submit a question and Lyric Financial’s CEO Eli Ball will answer! Eli began his career as a producer, where he guided a range of studio and live productions from award winning albums to large multi-day music festivals, working with acclaimed artists including Ray Charles, Santana, Lyle Lovett, Roseanne Cash and Herbie Hancock. His recording studio was ground zero in the early 90’s for the burgeoning Memphis underground scene, providing a creative laboratory for future stars Al Kapone, DJ Paul (3–6 Mafia), 8-ball & MJG and The North Mississippi Allstars. In 1996, Eli took a break from producing to raise his two sons and began a new career in banking, leveraging his deep understanding of the music industry to provide efficient access to capital for the professional music community.
Our first question comes from hip hop artist @niccjohnsonuhunnit via Instagram:
I’d like to know what I should do if I have a record with a major artist @iamkevingates and I was able to reach major success with no budget over 1.5million paid streams on Spotify alone and thousands of record sales! What would I need to do to take this record to the next level with financial backing via loans, advances etc. Which direction should I go in as an independent artist, what’s the next step if I feel it could do major numbers with a budget for marketing, distribution, and promo? Thanks!
Firstly Nicc, thank you for reaching out to us on Instagram and congrats on all the organic success. It’s no small feat to garner those kinds of numbers!
I can surely identify with the feeling of being overwhelmed with options when something starts to build momentum. There can be a lot of routes you take but ultimately it’s really important to outline your goals. Where would you like to be in 2 years and how do we work backwards from there?
You have already done a great job at building a social following. That is the first thing I would say is key, collecting fans and bringing them over to your online platforms.
Secondly, keeping those fans close and releasing music directly to them. New content, music videos, and personal interactions go a long way. In terms of spending money I would suggest creating some really high quality content. This will help to only further build a connection with your fans and inspire them to share with their friends.
Have you hit the road yet? If not I would suggest starting to hit primary markets in small weekend trips. Play in markets that you know are receptive to the music you’re making. Find the right clubs to team up with. Look at your Facebook analytics to understand where your fans are. Touring may not be a break even venture at the start (that’s where your advances/loans come in) but it is crucial to building your career and allows you to have more than 1 income stream in the long run. Musicians who succeed have established 5–6 healthy income streams (recording income and royalties, touring, merchandise, endorsements, licensing and sync).
Once you’ve got a tour locked in and some new content ready for release I would recommend hiring a great publicist that specifically works in your genre and with the publications you want to be placed in. Ask artists in your network for referrals to find the right person.
Now that you have numbers to show, press coming in, tour dates on the horizon setting up meetings with potential managers, agents, distributors, and labels shouldn’t be so tough. Putting some of your funds towards traveling to meet these people would be wise. Be sure to target the people at these key companies who work specifically in your genre and with artists you see as kin. Invite them out to shows when possible.
Furthermore, I would suggest launching some kind of direct-to-fan campaign. PledgeMusic is a great example of a platform that allows you to do this and there are many out there. You can give your fans exclusive peeks at new content, exclusive merch, etc. This can be a great and always-growing income stream.
Attending and playing (when possible) key festivals and conferences will also help. When you’re there be sure to have a great deal of promotional materials — this is a key chance to promote your music to like minded fans in an enclosed space.
The very last thing I would suggest is to hire a solid business manager or accountant to help manage your finances, royalties, and more. It’s important to find someone you trust who can help make sure you use your money wisely, take advantage of any tax breaks, and continue to prosper for years to come. As quickly as you earn money, you can lose it. So rely on professionals to help you make wise spending decisions.
Best of luck and congrats!