“Monetizing” my music

When I first started desktop music production back in the 90s, I told myself that I’d give myself 5 years to support myself from my own work. When 5 years went by and I’d sold perhaps a dozen CDs, I set my sights lower: I felt my music sales should at least pay for the computer and audio hardware and software.

Many years later, it’s pretty clear that I’ll be lucky to recoup even a small percentage of what I’ve spend on music-producing tools. I’m mostly OK with that at this point (reality tends to not go away no matter how much one would like) but I do give a lot of thought as to why my stuff has not made me more money.

It seems there are several axes to what makes an artist or musician successful. One is simply luck: there are millions of talented people, but sometimes for no good reason a particular one strikes the public’s fancy for a greater or less period of time. Second is talent; having luck but no talent is a lot worse situation than the reverse. Third is hard work; for a musician this usually means touring or at least playing out live. For various reasons this was not an option in my case.

So that brings us to the issue of marketing.

In my case, I can’t really speak to my talent or the quality level of my productions. It seems to me that if I had ever had a knack for marketing, things might have gone differently.

Marketing involves many factors besides simple advertising.

(…to be continued…)

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