So, you're packed full of potential, and the world has no idea about the impact you're about to have on the music industry. Your next challenge is figuring out how to compete with artists with large budgets. Many of them have 150k to a million GBP dedicated to each album. Unless it's somebody like Lady Gaga… then that budget is practically limitless. *She’s such a queen though, I love her!* So, let's take a look at five key steps you can take to help generate funds for your next project!
There are quite a few grants available to musicians in the UK. If you're between 18 and 25, look at grants dedicated to young people, like the Youth Music Network Grant. If you don't qualify for something like that, you can still explore government funds dedicated to the arts. Funds like these don't have to be used on community projects either, as the purpose of these grants is to help develop the music infrastructure of the country. According to the latest British Arts Council Report, 20% of grants resulted in successful projects. It's important not to under-pitch, as many grants are offered in the range of 7,500 to 10,000 GBP! This much money can profoundly impact your efforts, and just a couple of grants of this size could fund a massively successful project! I successfully received the grants from both Help Musicians UK and Arts Council England for music projects in 2020 and 2021, and the help did amazing things for my career and definitely pushed me up a level! I managed to create some great tracks that you can check out here. Also, take a look at the blog that my university, BIMM, wrote on my funding journey here.
If you've already released some music and garnered some listeners, another avenue that could help you fund your next project is appearing on features of a few fellow musicians. This practice is most prevalent in hip-hop but is not uncommon in other musical genres. You may be surprised to hear that even up-and-coming artists can often collect a feature charge of 2,000 to 5,000 pounds! More established artists charge much more, with Drake rumoured to charge as much as a million pounds per feature!
Monetizing Social Media
Another stream of funds you may be able to utilize, even if your audience is relatively small, is social media. Many people don't realize that social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube can all pay thousands of pounds to creators for posting videos. Some of them, like TikTok, have static creator funds that rarely change in size, which are dispersed to creators based on viewership. Others, like YouTube, pay a percentage of the ad revenues on your videos. The important part is that they pay, and while YouTube typically pays the most, content created for YouTube can be repurposed for other platforms and posted in multiple places. This means you can draw funds from the same content multiple times while building awareness for your existing music!
An underrated avenue of monetization for musicians is selling merchandise. This can include hats, shirts, posters, and other exclusive items branded with your name or album art. Some artists go as far as to make limited edition merch ahead of a project release for dedicated fans. Many smaller artists actually make more money with merch than from streams, as the payment per stream on services like Apple Music and Spotify continues to fall.
Selling Your Skills
If your skills extend outside playing instruments and singing, which a solo artist almost definitely does, you have an opportunity to make money helping other musicians! Look for singers who need a writer or a musician who needs a producer, and help them make something great! You could charge for these services and drum up some extra funds, but it can also help you get your name out there! If you were to collab on a song and own a %, that also could mean extra income for you later on down the line when the song generate revenue!
If you've utilized grants, features, merch, social media, and selling your skills, there's a good chance you'll be able to drum up a decent amount for your upcoming project. It’s also worth speaking to other creatives on a similar journey level too, as you could all help each other. For example, I recently collaborated on a music video shoot with BIMM, The Screen and Film School and The Central School of Make-up in Birmingham. It was an amazing experience and what we managed to create benefited everyone involved. Check out my music videos here.
Little tip of the day: Use your resources wisely, be savvy and COLLABORATION IS KEY. Contact me if you want to talk further.