Updated: Dec 14, 2019
There’s a saying that goes “Heaven help the heart that loves the most.”
Most of us who have been around for a while understand what this saying means – the person who loves the least in a relationship has the upper hand, because it won’t hurt as much to walk away.
The person who loves the most has the most to lose, and will usually bend to the wishes of their partner.
The same principle applies in the music business.
If you’re an artist or songwriter, you are the one who loves the most. You are the parent of your song babies and love them more than anyone else ever could.
So it should come as no surprise that you are automatically at a disadvantage in any kind of business negotiation involving your music.
Because you love the most – you have the most to lose.
Music business people know that in many cases they can give almost nothing in exchange for your services and songs, because you’re so desperate for validation that you’ll take any deal they put on the table, fearing that if you try to negotiate a better offer, they’ll just walk away.
And in many cases this is true – there is always another singer or writer willing to work harder, longer hours, turn in more songs and make less money than you – so just shut up and suck it up and take the bad deal. It will all be worth it if you make it right?
Not so fast…
There might be another (better) way to succeed rather than crucifying yourself on the altar of desperation.
Build your clout. This is the key to bigger and better deals, more sustainable success, larger paychecks, greater security and lots more autonomy.
Clout is stature, and stature is based on talent and success.
As musicians, writers and creative people, our real currency (aside from money itself) is our audience.
How big is your audience?
A big audience = lots of clout; a small audience = no clout.
After you have established the fact that your songs demonstrate mastery, your next task is to cultivate your audience.
You need an audience that loves what you do, and is willing to purchase and share their love of your music with their friends and family.
This year Nielsen reported that for the first time friends and family referrals topped radio airplay as the #1 discovery method for new music.
Do you have friends and family that love your music? Great! There’s a good start.
Now your duty is to develop a product they will love.
The product can be the music itself, but in today’s intermediate time between copyright devastation and reestablishment of enforcement of sane and fair compensation for our intellectual property online, it is best to develop an ancillary product that people can actually touch.
What is your product? Think outside the boring old t-shirt, koozie, keychain, wristband crap. That stuff is good but isn’t terribly original or innovative.
What is something that is uniquely you? How can you make a product to sell along with your music that will help to grow and stabilize your creative income?
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to brainstorm unique, high quality, useful products that will enhance the lives of your fans and potential fans.
Need help? Check out our Songpreneur workbooks and start making progress toward your songwriting and music business career goals. We want to see you succeed.