Despite all the bad news coming from the music industry – tales of record companies going bankrupt, of artists suing music-sharing sites, and the decimating effect iTunes is having – there is still money to be made off of music.
In fact, I would argue that music today is a much more dynamic industry than it ever was. Thanks to recent technological advances, music consumers now have unprecedented access to different styles and artists that they might never have heard before. And there are many ways for unique musicians worldwide to make money from their art.
Radio, MTV, and Rolling Stone magazine are no longer the best places to be exposed to new music; that distinction goes to the Internet.
Bigger Than iTunes
Apple revolutionized the music industry in 2003 when it launched the iTunes store. All of a sudden, consumers no longer had to spend $20 for an album; they could select individual songs and pay just $0.99 for each one.
This has forced many artists and record companies to rethink the way they do business. It’s no longer enough to have one good song on an album and hope it’s enough to sell the whole package. Why would folks do that when they could just buy the one good song for $0.99, download it to their MP3 player, and listen to just the song they like. (Which many do these days, by the way.)
But it’s not just iTunes that’s responsible for this massive shift in the music industry. As I’m about to explain, there’s a quick and easy way for YOU to become a force in the music world. Even if you don’t have an ounce of musical talent, there’s no reason you can’t start making money right away by spreading the word about music you love.
Starting a Music Blog
There is perhaps no other topic better suited to be covered by a blog than music. You can choose any genre, style, or time period of music to write about.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a diehard fan of Mexican techno music but live in Brussels, you can still provide just as much information, passion, and awareness as anyone. Other fans of that genre will be your audience, eager to hear your views on this niche.
Your first step in setting up this type of business would be to think about the genre you want to cover. It should be specific but not so obscure that only a few dozen people will visit your site. A good idea would be to examine some of the current blogs out there to gauge how “deep” they get into certain niches.
For example, maybe Taiwanese disco bands might not lend itself to a blog. But if you concentrated on weird music coming from Asia, there’s probably an audience for that, believe it or not.
Whatever your topic, there are many advantages to being online. Unlike a magazine, you can actually embed songs into your blog. That means people don’t just have to read what some writer thinks of the music, they can click a button and listen immediately for themselves and form their own opinion. And, this is the important part, they can buy those songs – more on that in a minute.
A great example of this is the website Pitchfork.com. This website started in 1995 as a resource for independent music. Today it’s not only one of the most influential hubs of information and opinion, it has also spawned an entire music festival. Not too bad for a little website that started out as a music blog, eh?
More inspirational examples can be found in the Resources section below. They are great models to follow as you create your own music blog.
And by the way, the nuts and bolts of setting up your site are easy. Blogger.com offers a totally free platform. If you go through GoDaddy.com, you’ll pay a low fee for hosting and getting a URL, plus, you get to use the intuitive platform WordPress.
Making Money the Musical Way
But I’m going to assume that you don’t want to organize a music festival (not now, anyways) – so how can you start making money from your website?
Well, first thing’s first: here are a few things I believe you should include on your musical blog:
– Album reviews
– Band tour information
– Industry news
– Sneak peeks
You might not be able to include all these features at first, but stick with what you can and expand your website. Album reviews, for instance, can be written by anyone, and since most albums can be streamed for free from the band’s website, there’s no out-of-pocket cost for you.
Once you’ve found your groove with the website, you’re ready to start making money.
As a music blog, you’re uniquely positioned to make money in one very profitable and niche-oriented way: selling music as an affiliate.
People who love a particular style of music will seek out websites that cover that style. The more in-depth your reviews and band information, the more people will find your website.
If you do a good job you’ll have droves of music lovers hungry to buy music from you. It’s kind of like the old style record shops where the clerk passed on tips about new records to customers – passing on his personal knowledge.
You can start becoming a musical affiliate by working with Amazon.com and iTunes. Basically, you’ll post advertising on your website that will lead folks to virtual stores like Amazon and iTunes where they can buy music. With Amazon you could even sell CDs – yes, people still buy them.
And it’s not just albums and songs you’ll be selling. As music affiliate, you’ll be selling everything from t-shirts to concert tickets.
Always wanted to be a mini-mogul in the music industry? Well, now’s your chance. If nothing else, you’ll be earning a steady stream of extra income while writing about something you love.
I wish you the best of luck!
P.S. I’ve just given you all the tips you need to become a successful music blogger. But here are a few more resources to help you reach the stars!
Inspiration for Your Music Blog