One of my absolute favourite entries that I’ve written so far is: The Glorious Hustle.
In fact it might be my number one favourite blog entry.
The funny thing about hitting the wall health-wise is that you easily end up going back into the same patterns of behaviour once you feel better.
This month I’ve had the flu but I’ve still been “hustling” and only stopped once I was forced to physically.
I guess that should turn me into a 21st century icon especially if I die of exhaustion.
When you exit the system and become an entrepreneur your rights are directly linked to whatever portion of the market you are able to reach.
There is no union or government department ensuring that you only work so-and-so many hours or that you have an x amount of paid holiday days or sick days.
Whatever percentage of the market that you manage to reach and expose yourself to decide as a demographic whether or not you deserve a holiday or time off due to their purchasing power.
The best thing that can happened to you as an independent artist is that the entertainment establishment gives you a call and want to hire you to do some work for them, this gives you a proper salary and you’ll know upfront what you are dealing with.
It will also give you a spike in online engagement and sales if a major outlet writes about you. This will be instant and very noticeable.
Most of the time though there will be a direct relation between how much time that is spent online and how much money you make.
I’ve been very lucky since I don’t work alone but have a manager and representation, however these last few months I’ve had to be very active online myself since there has been lots of health issues within my family. This means that I’ve hardly touched my instruments since I’ve been busy promoting my videos and music online in addition to spending time reading and watching videos updating myself on all sorts of changes in the music world.
Pledge Music for example now find themselves in the middle of a scandal and Spotify has changed some of the services that they offer unsigned artists, which are things that I wouldn’t know about if I hadn’t been reading myself up on certain things.
My sponsored video was also the result of me finding out about an online site connecting brands and YouTubers, a site I didn’t even know existed.
Posting updates and being active online raise awareness of your product and results in tangible sales, this then obviously means that you lose out on potential sales if you turn off your gadgets and don’t engage! You also need to have something to sell and this should be of the best quality possible which means lots of blood, sweat and tears when it comes to creating quality content….
Being accessible and “open” might result in extra opportunities and work coming your way since people who follow you gain insight into your charity work or interests, so cutting yourself off from the online world as an artist is a bad idea especially since fans and followers love to connect directly with you as a creator.
So how on earth do you then manage to have some me-time?
- If someone offers you some sort of establishment contract you’ll have some sort of financial predictability. You’ll have access to infrastructure and increased exposure for your brand, in addition to the networking-opportunity that comes with it. Considering how much money the establishment have access to I personally see this as the best option, even though you’ll probably have to deal with difficult attitudes and personalities if signing a record-deal.
- If more of your followers sign up to your Patreon and/or PayPal. If 10.000 of my subscribers on YouTube signed up to my Patreon for 1$ each it would change my life, sadly though I’ve seen people with millions of subscribers on YouTube have only a few hundred signed up to their Patreon. Whether you engage in crowdfunding or a sign up model you’ll never get the majority of your followers to sign up, not even half of them. We started my first crowdfunding campaign due to suggestions from Facebook fans, but we got a bit annoyed afterwards when we had to persistently campaign in order to reach our goal (which we did) since the majority of those who had suggested crowdfunding did not sign up for it… What happened to all of those who promoted this as a good idea? Much talk, not much action.
- The only immediate solution that I see when it comes to me-time is: AUTOMATION. The other day I decided to try Facebook’s scheduled posts. While I was officially active on my profile I was actually keeping my brother company as he was eating his afternoon supper. I was reading a bedtime story for him, but officially I was posting online. Likewise this morning I woke up to a spike in statistics here on my blog since my latest blog post was scheduled to be published at 01:11AM, which I’ve now set as my “publishing time.” In an ideal digital-world it would be possible to automate across all of your various social media profiles for free. Sadly that isn’t the case yet.
If how much money you make is directly linked to how much energy you spend online (without your reach being restricted on social media) then it goes without saying that you can never disappear.
I’ve now heard it repeatedly said that the old model of artists creating something and then vanishing for a couple of years is over.
Just like your social media activity has to be consistent well so does your artistic output. This works well for those who just put things out there, not so much for perfectionists who believe in quality over quantity.
It might even make it less common with creative “masterpieces.”
The whole aspect of you having to be a “social media” person as well will reward characters that aren’t totally socially retarded which also might reduce the amount of masterpieces produced in our time since it is unreasonable to expect that talent or genius should go hand in hand with “agreeableness,” “openness,”etc;
I also see an increase in individuals online becoming upset if they do not get an instant reply when they contact an artist/business. It is in fact very telling that Teespring (the company that I work with on t-shirts) have a system in place that makes the service as close to instant as it gets.
Because of people’s detachment to the production and delivery of goods they seem to think that no effort is required in the stage of production or delivery. Everything ought to be instant!
I receive lots of videos/music from other musicians all the time and that has always been the case. We as a team have also been approached by people who seem to believe that we have the power to get people endorsement deals, even record deals.
Sometimes people have reacted in anger as if thought they are entitled to priority time-wise when we have so many other things to be concerned about both in business and privately.
Every single revenue stream has to be monetised when you aren’t part of the system and it might even prove to be a good idea to share pictures and updates about your life outside of music. I started a blog because there was a demand for it.
This obviously blurs the line between who you are as a person and who you are as a professional person, I see no way out of this because what people expect from their artists and public people have changed so dramatically. Even sharing your artistic process and recording sessions is now a thing. It is all about being accessible as an individual.
The establishment is not static either and have suffered enormous financial losses these last few years due to the digital revolution. Everyone regardless of stature has a social media presence and I do get the overall impression that you somehow have to be extra-likeable and extra-nice if you are very skilled professionally or famous as if thought people are looking for asshole-signs.
People are weird, yet what people want colours where businesses go.
Once again I see AUTOMATION as the solution to me-time.
It will also satisfy the market’s desire to get instant replies and attention once social media platforms offer more diversity when it comes to automated responses.
AI to the rescue.
I share 5 announcements with my fans and followers in this video so make sure that you watch it!
So this morning I woke up to the beautiful sight of my account looking like this:
This is how it looks like when you have made an approved sponsored video! It will show up in your content section and automatically become part of your “commercial-cv.”
If you want to know more about the site and my experience so far then make sure that you join my LIVE stream on Patreon for only 1$ on the 28th this month! I do minimum two update videos every month and have turned these into live streams in 2019 which means that not only will you get all sorts of tips and advice relevant to being an indie-musician you can also ask me questions and interact with me!
Obviously I’m very excited about my first sponsored content and I hope that I will get hired to make many more videos in the future! I’ve only contacted brands that are related to interests that I’ve expressed on my social media, which is an important detail when it comes to sponsored content! You have to aim for products that genuinely interests you or that you think that your fans/followers will have an interest in!
Whenever you create a video that features sponsored content you are obliged by law to notify the viewer, which means that none of the videos that I’ve made in the past for brands were sponsored! The standard for a video with 100.000 views on YouTube is 10.000$ for a featured product. That’s quite something to find out, especially when you are creating content that is in perpetuity, which obviously is the case whenever an artist makes a music video!
I wish that there was an organisation for independent musicians that could notify creatives of these things! As it is you just have to find out things on your own which means that you’ll miss out on financial opportunities!
The secretive nature of musicians also makes it difficult to “unionise” if you get what I’m trying to say. When I was offered to do my very 1st clinic some years back I tried to shop around and ask musicians who only do clinics what an average rate might be. Nobody wanted to help me with this so I was never able to figure out what a standard industry rate might look like. Likewise; when I was ill and injured I couldn’t find any averages for injuries or an estimated retirement age which meant that I had to resort to online forums which is not representative due to limited sample sizes!
The music industry is so murky that it leaves a lot of people fumbling in the darkness when it comes to: technique, health & money!
I think most aspiring musicians will have come across people who play amazing licks and runs only to receive a note with a scale written on it if asking about said lick!
I took lessons with a very difficult (but well-respected) guitar teacher some years back who waited until my hand was hurting so much that I had to take a break before he shared health-related knowledge with me. He literally waited until I could have gotten injured. That is not acceptable tutoring. Nor is it acceptable to shower students in sarcasm which I guess is common with miserable musicians. Envy is apparently rampant in this business which is not a good thing.
The secrecy that guitar players shroud themselves in is ridiculous as well since it only makes it harder for musicians as a demographic. The general atomised culture makes it easier to take advantage of performers or creative artists in show biz!
If you are looking for a mentor or a teacher who doesn’t hold anything back then you should get in touch with me! Not only do I customise my music lessons to fit whatever individual needs, I also share my knowledge. Obviously I don’t do this for free! In order to have a one-hour customised private lesson with me over SKYPE or in person you’ll have to pay 30GBP, I will also expect that I’m mentioned or thanked if I aid you when it comes to your recordings, etc; It is a bit silly to seek out expertise only to pretend that you came up with everything on your own afterwards!
I always give credit to Ramon Ortiz even though I didn’t take that many lessons with him, because he had a great influence on my heavy metal guitar playing. I also mention Steve Smyth even though I only had one masterclass with him. He is a great teacher and if anything, he boosted my confidence as a player before I recorded my Evolution EP!
And of course I always thank my mother Elisabeth who taught me how to sing opera by using the bel canto technique, not to forget that she is also my manager!
Letting people know that you appreciate their help and support by giving them credit or by officially thanking them should become more commonplace in showbiz!
There is always a generation of musicians coming after you and it is the duty of those who are more experienced to pass their knowledge on, especially if you know how to sing or play classical music.
This is part of our irreplaceable European heritage and it can never be allowed to get lost!
In this video I launch my MERCH STORE & also show other UK based content creators how easy it is to set up a Merch Store with Teespring & Youtube Merch Shelf!
Please check it out & share – & remember to go to MY NEW STORE to get your affordable Commander-In-Chief Merch! Never before has it been this easy to get hold of a Commander-In-Chief t-shirt! Run & buy! 😀 It looks really cool!
It makes me happy to say that ” 2 Guitars – The Classical Crossover Album” has now been going in and out of the charts for 5 years!!!
I saw this in the middle of the night the other night but was too tired to post about it!
We are still in 😉
I can’t wait to make a follow-up!
I really have one hell of a fan base and the last few days have served as a reminder of that for sure! We went from 0 to hero in less than 3 days of campaigning! I’m now in the lead in the “ iNSTAR Original Music Competition” & I hope that I will able to stay in my number 1 spot until the 28th this month!!!
There are a lot of musicians who participate so I’m stoked that my fans and followers have voted with such fervour!
I’m doing 2 more GIVEAWAYS on my Instagram so make sure that you join in and cast your vote for my song “Stay With Me” 🙂
If I win this competition then it will be the first time that I win a music competition/award!
PLEASE VOTE FOR ME! ❤
From I first discovered that I had been featured in the “Story“ of “iNSTAR Original Music Competition” and that strangers to my music had been voting favourably it didn’t take long before the snowball started rolling once I shared this with my awesome followers! 🙂