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#824792 - 06/14/10 07:24 PM Re: Okay, so how do I make money at this? [Re: bil farrar]  
Joined: Jan 2005
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Wayne Longtin Offline
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LeMars, Iowa USA

I sure will let you know. As far as I know now I'm booked the rest of the summer with festivals & gigs but in September I'll be back for the Loretta Lynn Ranch Songfest & want to do some songwriter nights again in Nashville. The powers that be have my demo for a possible appearance at Nashville Cowboy Church hopefully the date will co-incide (SP?) with the Songfest dates. Got an inside track there with Dawn & Charley Parker. So maybe it'll work. Are all Bass Players Coffee drinkers? I know some of the best I know are!

#831227 - 07/16/10 05:24 PM Re: Okay, so how do I make money at this? [Re: ]  
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Kitty84 Offline
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@Stan I like your lottery theory!

Kate <3

Ė "The strongest drive is not love or hate. It is one person's need to correct/modify/alter/edit/change/rewrite another's copy."
#1125374 - 03/14/17 05:26 PM Re: Okay, so how do I make money at this? [Re: Marc Barnette]  
Joined: Mar 2017
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DesireInspires Offline
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Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
Hey Kathy,

Have I been Summoned? Hello Cindy. I'm Marc-Alan Barnette or MAB, I teach songwriting and the practical application of the music business based in Nashville Tn. I have been in this business for about 36 years and work every day at teaching writers and artists in the craft of the music industry.

Imagine if you will the National football league. You are in Missouri so I will just take the Kansas City Chiefs for an example. Think about how many kids play sandlot football. Then how many actually play some kind of junior league or pee wee football. Then some play for their elementary school, then go on through Junior High and then High School. By the time they get to Senior year, they have spent about 8 years of constant practice, giving up vacations to play summer practices, constantly in the weight room, totally consumed.

But even that does not guarantee they are going to get to colledge and even that does not guarantee that they are going to play professionally. SO that starts out with millions, files down to thousands, hundreds, and then less than dozens that actually end up going anywhere, ever.

Songwriting is very similar. There are millions that are trying to write some kind of songs. At the most recent count there were about 13 million bands, duos, solos, on You Tube alone. That is millions of people, even more millions of songs. We are at the convergence of several things.

Karaoke which made everyone an amatuer singer.

Computer and the internet and home recording which put everyone into the game.

And it removed a majority of the money made in the music industry.

So basically it is enormous supply and very finite demand. And the people who do this professionally have done this for dozens of years, an average of twenty, doing it almost every day. That is your competition.

You are more likely to be struck by lightning than to get a successful artist to cut your song.

You are more likely to be struck by lightning in a submarine underwater than to have any significant success.

The answer? You totally remove any thoughts of making money and do it as a hobby. If you are very driven you do it as a second job. And you put as much time, effort and money into it as your first job. Because if you don't, your competition does.

The point is that we are all doing it as hobbies. Even those who actually get paid to do it. All of us have multiple businesses in addition to our music endevors. I am fortunate that I am paid for music only. But that goes in numerous directions. Teaching, seminars, workshops, live performances, producing and performing on demo recordings, etc.

I am typing this to you at nearly midnight on Tuesday. I have done a recording session, done multiple threads on these type forums all day long, done multiple song critiques, wrote on two songs, booked five of my songwriter tours for the next two months, made organizational plans in Atlanta for the next three days, and a live songwriter's show. My day starts at 7:00 in the morning. That is a normal day.

So that is what it is really about. Hours and hours of continuous work that has nothing to do with writing music, and dozens of things that make the writing possible. That is what making a living in music is about now.

A primary reason for that is that people rarely pay for music anymore. The industry has lost around 6 billion dollars in the past 7 years. So that is why if you want to do this, you will have to look much deeper into the reality than you are thinking.

Before anyone gets a royalty check, they have to get a reality check.

My advice would be:

#1 Get outside yourself.
Get around other writers.
Attend workshops, seminars,
make a trip to a music center.

#2 Write MANY songs.
An average writer will write 125 songs with 65 people a year.

#3 Do as much as you can do locally before even considering expanding. Learn your craft first.

#4. Be happy in whatever comes your way and never expect anything. That way you will always be pleastantly surprised.

There are many great things about it. You meet wonderful people on sites like these. They are of varying degrees of success and various levels of talent. Listen to them. Learn your craft.

Be happy with yourself and what you achieve. Work hard. Write often. And most of all, touch lives.

At the end of the day, that is what is important.


Words of wisdom! Not much has changed for the better over the years.

#1125385 - 03/14/17 11:15 PM Re: Okay, so how do I make money at this? [Re: cindyrella]  
Joined: Feb 2017
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Trentb Offline
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That was a good post by Marc, not sure where the original went. I agree with most everything Marc said but one point. In comparison to the football players at various levels, but not everyone will make it. The reason for that is because in the end, they dint have the talent to play at the higher level. Some kids are great in pee wee league, and can't make a high school team, some kids excel in High school, but don't get a scholarship to college, some kids do great at college but the pros don't have nterest. Even some make the pros but get cut It's based entirely on how good you are, how atheletic you are, how fast you run the forty, how high you can jump, how quick yiu are, and how good your vision is. Now, some guys do go unoticed, and some come out of nowhwere and have unlikely careers. But you can not play at the pro level and not be one of e best athetes in the country. But some guys can sneak in with an unrelenting work ethic, and perseverance, but they still have top notch talent compared to the rest of the field.

In music it's not based on how great of a singer or songwriter, or musician you are, sure that's part of it, but it's based on marketability, your look, luck, and just having a really good song. You don't have to be the worlds greatest songwriter to have a hit, you just need to be good, but have a lot of help.

Music is subjective, that's why Taylor Swift can dominate the charts, people like her music, nothing else really matters, there is no stop watch or measurement of what the best music is, it's opinion, but she couldn't play for a football team!

Last edited by Trentb; 03/14/17 11:18 PM.
#1125480 - 03/16/17 12:58 PM Re: Okay, so how do I make money at this? [Re: cindyrella]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.

The comparrison to sports, football just being one, to me is very comparable to music. I have known hundreds of artists, writers, musicians, who are amazingly talented, but get stuck in development deals, get put on hold, never actually get a shot. Things beyond their control, labels and publishers folding, or selling to other companies staffs begin cut, having releases held up do to political considerations, etc. Some rise above it, end up in other avenues of music, etc. One of my good friends is the top independent song plugger in Nashville. Responsible for many great hits. He didn't want to do that, started as a writer, and actually pretty good. But that never took off, so he ended up in publishing and then song plugging

You find a lot of amazing writers that were really good performers, but by the time their shot rolled around might have been too old, so they found themselves focusing on writing. Then getting cuts, but not singles, etc. then they end up teaching ,producing or doing jobs totally unrelated to music. Doesn't mean their talent wasn't there, just breaks didn't go their way.

In my own case, when I moved to Nashville in 1988, I was "The guy to watch." Got a cut my first night in town, was recruited by labels, publishers, producers, etc. had a lot going on. At the time there was a movement in country music called the "Blue Eyed Soul" country songs. People like Delbert McClinton, T Graham Brown, Lee Roy Parnell. I was in that vein. As a matter of fact, after one of my shows a guy approached me and said, "Man I love everything about you, your attitude, your voice, your songs, everything. But I was in Marietta Ga. three weeks ago and signed a guy just like you. His name is TRAVIS TRITT. "
Even after Travis hit and hit big, I was still in the running. Another label, Liberty was after me and did a showcase to seal the deal. But at the same time this kid from Oklahoma named Garth Brooks, came in and changed everything in Country music. All the "soul shouters" were out, and the "ironed shirts and jeans, cowboy hat" wearing guys were in. Just missed. After a while I switched more to being a writer and got cuts, but none of the singles.

We miss a lot of things. Some wounds are self inflicted. At an ASCAP number one party I was approached by a 15 year old girl and her Mother. Of course at the same party there were about 50 OTHER 15 year old girls and THEIR mothers. I was told by a hit writer friend of mine that she was someone I should write with. But I had had a really bad experience with THREE 14 year old girls and THEIR MOTHERS, a few weeks before and had determined I was not working with anyone else under 18. That girl turned out to be Taylor Swift. I sure showed me.

The point is that there are a lot of things that happen in the course of a career, the business is a weird one and it is hard to really predict or adjust to. You have to roll with it and adapt as you go. In music ,I became more of a teacher, mentor. coach and consultant which is what I do now. Still write, perform. record, I just do it with other people now instead of me.

My analogy to sports are much the same. How many people are really good as younger athletes, but burn out, get hurt, or just decide to quit? College prospects that get drafted but wash out. Some times behavioral problems, drugs, alcohol, etc. that never cut it. The people drafted by the pros that wash out, Ryan Leaf, Brian Bosworth. Or how about the ones that are amazing but on really bad teams. The Buffalo Bills, going to four Super Bowls, but never winning. Or the OTHER thing, the people who have that ONE great season, get to the college championships, the Super Bowl, but NEVER do anything after that. Team is traded away, again get hurt or just washes out.

So that is what I am talking about. There are a lot of ins and outs, a lot of other reasons besides someone's talent. Luck plays an amazing part, more than anyone would like to admit. But to me, luck is when opportunity and preparation meet. All you can do is up the level of your odds and keep going.

Thanks for reading and responding.


Last edited by Marc Barnette; 03/16/17 01:19 PM.
#1125481 - 03/16/17 01:49 PM Re: Okay, so how do I make money at this? [Re: cindyrella]  
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Trentb Offline
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Your points are well taken. I'm just saying that even the "busts" in football had to have all American, world talent to even step on the field with the elite. Some times the scouts are wrong, they salivate over one player, and he can't deliver, other guys go unoticed, and make it. There has been many cases of a player selling car insurance one day, playing the next week in a real game! Happens when a team suffers a lot of injuries. But these replacements are still documented world class athletes. If you can't run the forty in 4.3, your going to go backwards in the pros. There are tons and tons of talented sports people who never made it, but imagine if they were slow and short? What were their odds then? Zilch.

In music, if u want to call a record label exec, a scout, he's not looking to see how many chords yiu know, or how great of a musician you are, or not even how good of a singer you are, he's looking for other things. I mean look at all the great technical singers on American Idol, or the Voice, none of those people have the careers of Taylor Swift who is a marginal singer. Or Bob Dylan, tom petty, Springsteen, or just about any big music star, there's just many more great singers out there who do jingles instead of sell out arenas

Look at the sex pistols, they had minimal talent and still are widely known today. Look at the one hit wonders, they didn't need unworldly talent to break in, they got in anyway... In sports, your not stepping on the field if you are not great

Music has so many dimensions to it. But I doubt anybody would have the gumption to say somebody like Stevie wonder is not more talented than Taylor swift, but Taylor swift has outsold him in every way.

Last edited by Trentb; 03/16/17 01:53 PM.
#1125494 - 03/17/17 02:06 AM Re: Okay, so how do I make money at this? [Re: cindyrella]  
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Ted Martin Offline
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Once upon a time the only way for musicians to get paid was to play live. Then there was the Golden Age of recorded music when people actually had to buy the recorded music to be able to listen to it when they wanted. Now anyone with a cell phone can record audio and video of live shows and download or stream music for little or nothing. Back to having to play live (and sell merch) to make money from your music. Problem is you have to be able to play and sing and be entertaining or have people with you who can do whichever you can't.

Doing house concerts will not make you rich but you will make more from your songs than you will pitching them to people who don't care. And if you are really lucky someone will take one of your songs change it enough so they can't be sued, it will play on the radio and you can be just like this guy.


#1125496 - 03/17/17 05:06 AM Re: Okay, so how do I make money at this? [Re: cindyrella]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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John Lawrence Schick  Offline
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Making music and making money are two different entities. Anyone interested in the latter shouldnít consider music for a living. Musicís about passion. Only pursue it if you canít live without it.

John smile

#1125505 - 03/17/17 01:50 PM Re: Okay, so how do I make money at this? [Re: cindyrella]  
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niteshift Offline
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Amen ! smile

cheers, niteshift

#1125506 - 03/17/17 01:54 PM Re: Okay, so how do I make money at this? [Re: cindyrella]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
Very true John. Very true.

Trent, if you were around the industry in places like Nashville, New York.; LA, you would find literally THOUSANDS of people in development deals, publishing deals, working with small and independent groups, doing their own projects, web sites, motivating their own fan bases and careers. There are hundreds of writers, thousands of songs that are the equivilent of playing the minor leagues or triple A.
They get various shots, from small single releases that go no where, are paid to write songs but get no cuts or don't recoup enough to pay their draws back and are dropped. Many are amazingly talented but the breaks don't go their way.

There are dozens of weekly showcases in this town. The same as football or baseball tryouts. Those amazing prospects that have backing behind them, financial, political clout, street credibility, etc. and things still don't work. Songs that are amazing but just don't find their way.

This is the same as athletes that might not get to play because there is some monster standout player in their position. Micky Mantle waiting till Joe Dimaggio faded. And his knees already being in terrible shape. But there are even more that played backup for Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, or people and just never got the playing time, got traded to weak teams.

There are paralells in all of it, and the closer you get to it, see what's "behind the curtain" in inner office politics, burn out, or thousands of things that can happen, the more you realize how strange it all is.

Ted, house concerts are a good way to perform and keep yourself out there. The biggest problem is that venues closed and the dynamic of the music business shifted, those avenues got clogged up as well. There are millions of writers and artists that would love to go out book some house concerts, play their own songs, make nice money and move on. The good venues are pretty booked up. They are actually booked years in advance and can even get higher level people like artists with former record deals or other people that now would rather play smaller venues without the overhead of bands, additional costs.

A few years ago colleges were a great avenue. Then they got overwhelmed. Now they are very expensive to plug into the things like National Association of College Artists, or other things that have the conventions and showcase events. You had to join a lot of organizations to be considered. Same with the fair circuits, and house concerts. All have their own etticate, on hirearchies. They are cool to do, but not as easy as just making a phone call here and there.

If there is money involved in anything ,there are circles that have to be worked into. Everything has a price.

#1125509 - 03/17/17 03:06 PM Re: Okay, so how do I make money at this? [Re: cindyrella]  
Joined: Jan 2013
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Ted Martin Offline
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Ted Martin  Offline
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Here is a good story that shows what John is talking about when it comes to pursuing music out of passion. For most of us it will never be more than an enjoyable hobby. Which is to say it will cost us more than we will ever make from it yet we still do it because we can't live without it. https://medium.com/@jackconte/pomplamoose-2014-tour-profits-67435851ba37#.74uei8ad5

#1125510 - 03/17/17 03:28 PM Re: Okay, so how do I make money at this? [Re: cindyrella]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
You know, it's interesting that this post got reinvigorated. It got started a while back and I responded on quite a few things and it has taken on some great posts. But basically it is a question pretty much everyone trying to do music is asking. "HOW DO I MAKE MONEY AT THIS?" If you knew how many HIT songwriters and many artists ask this same question, lit would put things in quite the different perspective. But the simple answer really is:


When you begin to answer these questions, you can start to understand how you make money at this.


#1125511 - 03/17/17 03:37 PM Re: Okay, so how do I make money at this? [Re: cindyrella]  
Joined: Jan 2013
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Ted Martin Offline
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Ted Martin  Offline
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The definition of luck is that it is where preparation meets opportunity. But you may never get the opportunity and there is no guarantee that if you do that you will hit the mark. Yet we still try because the alternative is unthinkable. Sure many of the good venues in the house concert circuit may be booked in advance but there are many, many hosts who are looking for performers and with persistence and "luck" you can get yourself in front of live audiences. Where the rubber meets the road is playing to a live audience of people who are not your sycophantic friends that have taken time out of their busy lives and paid money to be entertained. Better have your [naughty word removed] together.

Here is a good resource for anyone who wants to pursue that avenue. If nothing else you might even be tempted to be a host which is what I plan to do once I get back into my house that was landlocked by eminent domain.


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"If you expect perfection from other humans, you'll always be disappointed. If you expect your preconceived notions about someone to be correct, in your mind, they always will be. If you require perfection from someone to break your preconceived notions, you will continue to live with your own personal prejudicial demons for the rest of your life, living in a self created state of ignorance." -Brian Austin Whitney
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