Alternate routes – you can probably make $1,000,000 from music

Capitalism has some flaws, but one good thing about free-enterprise is that you're free to be as enterprising as you want to be in order to make money from music.

I made a previous post about my adventures in experimental touring. I’m half of a duo. We’ve done hundreds of shows around the U.S. in small places where nobody else is doing shows. Our system now works surprisingly well.

During the tours I’ve written thousands of pages of notes. We’ve taken thousands of photographs and made hundreds of hours of videos. That’s part of why we’re set up to make millions of dollars.

We make scouting trips in order to line up places to play. We do research before hitting the road on the scouting trips, but we really have to see a town in person before we can decide anything about it.

Different towns have different vibes. At this point we can tell within a minute or two if we want to do a show in a town. If we like what we see then we go to the city building to talk to the town’s experts. Small town experts are different than city-slickers.

In one recent town the city manager guy was enormous, as in NFL lineman type enormous, except this guy looked like he had packed on plenty more weight after his playing days.

He couldn’t have been any friendlier. When we explained what we wanted he told us that we could do as many damn shows in town as we damn well wanted. He threw in some extra cussing along the way.

We asked about potential sites. He yelled to someone in a back office to say that he was heading out for a while and then we got in his truck to take a site-seeing trip around town.

The obvious choice was a band-shell that fit into the backside of the town’s football stadium. We asked what it would cost to use the site for a show. His unsurprising answer was not one damn cent.

Once we line up a site we have a lawyer and some insurance people who handle the details, so our next step was to find some people in town who wanted to help us with our promotional campaign.

I consider everything to be an art form. A song is a series of notes. A show is a series of songs. A tour is a series of shows. A tour feels even feels like a long-form song. There’s an art to selling tickets to strangers.

The music industry might have been necessary in the past, but it’s obsolete now, and it’s probably even counterproductive for most people most of the time. It’s way easier to make money outside the industry than within it.

For this specific show several towns in the area added us to their Facebook pages. Local volunteers took over the job as our social-media cheerleaders. A newspaper did a short article about us and the show. We orchestrate our promotional timing.

The city manager guy was right about the non-cost of the band-shell. The city maintenance crew mowed the lawn a few days before the show and treated the ground with permethrin, which is evidently the safest way to kill any grass critters.

There were food trucks and booths. High school kids were selling an assortment of stuff. The restrooms at the football stadium were right around the corner and open to the public. It seemed like everyone in town wanted to cooperate.

The odds of public pandemonium were probably remote in the first place, but some people in uniform were around just in case, and the security didn’t cost us a damn cent either.

We made a lot of money from the show. There have been years during my adult life when I’ve made less money than we make in one night now. We’re a household, so the money all goes to the same place.

When people buy a ticket to a show we throw in some extras. Among other bonuses, they get access to thousands of pages of tour-notes and thousands of tour-photographs and hundreds of tour-videos.

We’ve been testing annual or biennial returns to some favorite towns, along the lines of Willie Nelson’s 4th of July picnic, except not as big and not on the 4th of July and not with Willie included.

The U.S. is jam-packed full of towns where nobody is playing shows, even though people in the towns are happy to go out of their way to help with a show. We get almost all of our sites for free. We travel fairly light, so it's an ultra-low-cost system.

Creating our own system is by far the best thing that we’ve ever done for our music careers. The people who build a system get to rig it in their favor, and in this case we’re the riggers and the riggees.

I think that people here are geniuses. I’ve been in music most of my life, and even with that background I’m clueless about most of the technical music stuff that people talk about here.

If you apply your genius-level intellects toward income strategies, and you turn your strategic planning into an art and a science and a business, you can create your own systems and probably get rich from music.

Comments

  • Sounds great. Would love to see some Youtube videos of your performances.
    Just wondering what kind of music you play..

  • edited July 2018

    Great post. Thanks for sharing. I’m also curious about what you sound like. Link to a performance or recording?

  • edited July 2018

    Good thread, enjoyed reading. Thanks!

    This is an Internet message board however, so there are a set of universal laws that apply here. One such being: videos or it didn’t happen ;)

  • Ah, yes, must be book promotion time again.

  • A little skeptical but a fun read no matter what.

  • @oat_phipps said:
    Ah, yes, must be book promotion time again.

    THIS

  • @Jocphone said:
    Sounds great. Would love to see some Youtube videos of your performances.
    Just wondering what kind of music you play..

    +1

  • @Janie. This is intriguing for sure. How about just a band name?

  • This is the 2nd intriguing post from OP with not much follow up. :)

  • edited July 2018

    @oat_phipps said:
    Ah, yes, must be book promotion time again.

    But not even a link to the book? That would not be very good promotion.

    Must be true and they are really super anonymodest

    Or they are doing ‘The Secret’

  • They may take all their money to a secret island and burn it.

  • @knewspeak said:
    They may take all their money to a secret island and burn it.

    Not original, been done before :)

  • @richardyot said:

    @knewspeak said:
    They may take all their money to a secret island and burn it.

    Not original, been done before :)

    True, so to be original kool katz, they could take their money to the secret island and eat it, thus transforming into phat katz. :D

  • Don’t know that I’d read the book but I would definitely watch the documentary.

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