Why did you leave the music industry
Ask the music industry. "If I were an aspiring artist and had to spend £ 1,000 ..." April 2016
By @Pursehouse - follow me on Twitter.
According to ABBA, money is a fun thing if you're lucky enough to have enough of it at all, but since the majority of the artists I know haven't written enough about hits to fill a musical, and a few more; ; it seems more of a worry than a comfort.
Here at Sentric Music we have given away a significant amount of money to many artists around the world, ranging from double digit to five digit amounts. Deciding what to spend it on can be a difficult decision. Unless you're a certain Northern Irish act that goes nameless and told me they would get "as much Buckfast as they could carry" after sending them some dubbing fees. Nice.
With that in mind, I thought I'd ask a lot of lovely people in different parts of the music industry what they would spend £ 1,000 on if they were an up and coming artist. Hopefully their answers will fill you with some kind of inspiration and within 12 months of reading it you have changed your flourishing musical career in one way or another for the better.
A couple of reasons before I start.
First, why 1,000 pounds? Because basically it's an achievable number for the majority of aspiring artists reading this blog. If you perform regularly, land a few radio airplays, maybe use your music on TV, sell a few CDs and T-shirts at shows, etc. (basically stuck in work, yeah?) And then when you go around Taking care of your finances should be able to get a cool grand in the bank within a relatively short period of time. Alternatively, you can put £ 15 on red 16 on the roulette table at your nearest casino and pray to the god who floats your boat.
Second, every artist's situation is unique and there was no “starting point” for this scenario when I asked this question to the lovely people who answered. Hopefully there is potential bang for your buck in at least one of the areas mentioned in this post.
Third, money is much more effective when combined with a strategy. Having a grand piano in your pocket is all very good, but if you happen to piss it on a proverbial wall with no plan to go with it, it will be far less useful if you do.
Fourth (PLUG): Don't forget that if you keep your Sentric Music profile up to date, we will send you money on a regular basis. Easy enough huh? (If you're an artist and you don't know who we are or what Sentric is going then come here and we'll put some money in your skinny jeans, you trendy bastard).
So let's start with muggins here, right?
Simon Pursehouse // Centric Music // @Pursehouse
Book a rehearsal room while you get £ 1k and spend every millisecond possible working tirelessly on writing the best songs and practicing them over and over until you get aggressively bored playing them ... and then play a little more. You just can't underestimate how important and difficult it is to write really brilliant songs and then blow people away when they see you live. If you do both of these things well enough, people will line up around the corner to throw more money at you.
Tim Ingham // Music Week // @tsingham
I would put it on the bench first. See how far you can get in a few weeks without spending a dime and set realistic goals for social media numbers growth within a set time frame. That way, when you finally make up your mind to get into your money, you will learn to use money wisely. I would then spend most of the money on recording two or three high quality tracks, plus some good pictures, creating a logo, and a professionally written (short!) Bio. Voila: You now have a product, a brand and advertising material. All of them are vital - never use these words in public. The only way is up.
Peter Robinson // PopJustice // @ PopJustice
I would put it on an apartment in the direction of the bail. If I had to spend it getting my career off the ground and assuming I'd already recorded my song, I'd spend £ 200 on a producer spending a few hours sounding it right, £ 400 for one Video and £ 200 on a photoshoot. I would ask some decent online PR to make sure the right people knew when I posted it on SoundCloud and YouTube. If nobody liked it, I would change my name and do the same twelve months later. If it hadn't worked out after three opposing attempts, I would have got a real job.
Jen Long // Kissability Records // @ JenLong
If I were an up and coming artist and had to spend £ 1,000 I would look at how best to connect my music with an audience and put the money into it. It could be paying for gas on the street, it could be hiring and online PR, but I don't think there can ever be a hard rule for these things.
Jack // Alcopop Records // @ILoveAlcopop
If I were an aspiring artist and had to spend £ 1,000 I wouldn't waste it on the first PR or plugger that called. It's really important that you build yourself a platform to get started from instead of feeling like you need to buy into an expensive press company right away because they tell you you should. PR and pluggers are wonderful when they work well, but to make sure they are busy make sure everything else is there too. Get gigs rolling, sort out some major indie festivals, build your own excitement, and think about what you have to tell the world.
When you pay someone to sell your band, make sure they have a compelling story to tell - and don't be afraid to kick yourself! Then hopefully someone else will notice and good people will pay you for it. Then you have a spare wing and I'm thristy. Let's hang out x
Darren Hemmings // Subject unknown // @ Mr_Trick
If we assumed that you wrote and recorded amazing music (no small caveat!), I would probably split that money over a combination of PR and, to some extent, advertising just to raise awareness and maintain people who do understand who you are. PR can ensure coverage that has the reach that ads and such a budget won't get. Ergo, PR is a better use of your money when we talk about a pound to eyeballs ratio here. Assuming your PR person got you some placements, I would put a little money into promoting posts on Facebook and / or Twitter (both now have solid self-service ad platforms) to improve your reporting on those sites. The coverage is all about advertising: if no one has heard from you, put an ad that says, “Hear our music, it's great!”. will fail because it goes without saying that you think your music is great. As a qualifying statement for someone who has never heard of you, it means nothing. For example, if you have NME.com, The Quietus, Brooklyn Vegan, or any other relatively influential website that says, "Look at X, his / her music is awesome," it is infinitely worth more because it is established , trusted sources.
However, I think someone should also write a post on “10 Ways To Avoid A £ 1000 Budget Cut” as I think there are tons of ways to save money and then spend it wiser elsewhere . For example, a Google account ensures that you not only have free email, but also 5GB of cloud storage to share and distribute files. Combine that with Cash Music and you can even then sell your music with the only commission going to Paypal for payment (i.e. less than anyone else, anywhere!). If you sign up for Google AdWords and then leave it alone for about two weeks, you can get around $ 75 free AdWords to get you started. With Mailchimp, you can have up to 2000 subscribers before you have to pay. So you can again create an extensive database and use this incredible platform for free. You can even combine Mailchimp with Cash Music to create free media email downloads. There are MANY fantastic ways to use services without paying a dime - all of which will ensure you have more money to spend on PR, decent promotional posting, or whatever else that comes your way. Never overlook the frugal punk rock approach in the Dischord style!
Steve Levine // Producer & Hubris Records // @ MrSteveLevine
Put it on a horse! It's not about the money. Without a great song, you have nothing. So if you have £ 1,000 or £ 100,000 without this great song idea, you are wasting your time.
James Walsh // Ditto Music // @JW_DittoMusic
I would hire the best PR possible. Most will be monthly retainers and the very best can be over £ 1,000, but even if rented for just a month, your music featured on Pitchfork, Indie Shuffle, Line of Best Fit, Pigeons & Planes, and Charting will be on Hype Machine is shown to make sure this is owned by A&R scouts, publishers and labels. Also gives you plenty of unbiased reviews of your music that can aid your development.
Marsha Shandur // Music Supervisor for The Inbetweeners, Ex-XFM DJ & JaJaMarsha.com // @JaJaMarsha
It would take me two days to research the people in the music industry who I loved most - whether they were radio DJs, music supervisors for my favorite TV shows, or people at record labels.
I would figure out the best way to add value to them - especially those unrelated to their work - and then email links to relevant articles, movie trailers, or organizations. Maybe I'd even spend some of that money to send them a book I think they'd like, or their favorite chocolate.
This is not about bribery - it's about standing out and making the person whose attention you want to know that you care about HER, rather than just sending the same blanket of emails to everyone.
If it didn't cost £ 1,000 - if I didn't have to go to the internet cafe to do this - then I'd spend the money on really nice physical cards to send. Nobody gets a nice real contribution anymore.
Andy Malt // CMU // @ AndyMalt
Buy a van and then drive it to all the most depressing places in the country and play shows there. Probably best to clear up the last part with the venue first, but otherwise, you're good to go. Try to buy a van that will last a few thousand miles without falling apart, but try to get a deal where you still have some cash left to invest in a few other things.
Fortunately, these days you need less money to "get" your music out. So take advantage of all the free services you can. Let's say you've already recorded music or you can record it yourself to a usable standard. Glue that onto SoundCloud and Bandcamp.
Pay a friend with photography skills to snap some nice pictures of your band. Never underestimate the importance of good photos. For one thing, you can use them on social media. And if people write about your band online, they can use it too and you will look really cool.
Maybe pay another friend (or even the same friend) with a video literacy to make a cheap video to post on YouTube. In this case, if you don't have video skills yourself, let this friend know that they can't have your money. Maybe stop talking to them all, you don't need them. Unless they can drive a van and you can't.
Hopefully, when you buy your dirt cheap super van, you have enough cash to do merch. Have some t-shirts made for you. And maybe a short series of CDs. And a couple of badges. Try to sell the t-shirts and CDs to the people who come to your shows. If they refuse, give them a badge and smile. And get your email address. Always the email address. Getting an email address doesn't cost you anything, but it is of great value to you. Create a mailing list, let people know when you are returning to their town, occasionally suggest they'd like to buy something from you, and then get back in that van.
Al Groves // Motor Museum // @ MotorMuseum1
I would find a fucking aspiring producer to help me take my tracks to the next level. £ 1000 should give you access to a producer and studio with a really good local track record. If you choose someone who is on the rise, they give 110% on every project and you will catch them at their best.
Annika Walsh // Blinkbox Music // @annikawalsh
I would spend the money on the music. If I don't have a great track already, I would follow my favorite songwriters online and in person and get them to work with me. I would find a great studio that offers special pricing on unsigned bands (like Metropole) and that records, mixes and (most of all) masters my track. I would spend the rest of the money on EPK assets - a strong band bio, good pictures, etc. would make my band look professional.
At the same time, I would make the most of the free options available to me: regularly create and maintain strong Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, YouTube profiles and vlogs, from songwriting to recording to performance - all from an iPhone, go to As many free showcases as possible in London to meet people and learn from other new emerging bands etc.
Joe Frankland // PRS for Music Momentum Fund Manager // @ Joe_Frankland
I would record this killer song that I worked on with a producer who adds a new dimension to my music, helps with preproduction, and realizes the song's potential so that I get closer to the radio, win blog coverage, and dubbing can secure deals with a single publication. I would take a lot of time planning a release, with a strategy to send my music to media destinations 8-10 weeks before my release date. Prior to the announcement, I would confirm a number of dates across the UK and a single launch in my hometown. I would use whatever was left of the production, mixing, and mastering to cover the loss I will likely make on the road. But it will be worth it as I'll make some real fans, perk up the ears of the industry, and be ready to do it again, possibly with industry support or money I've made from fans.
Gareth Allison // Music at BT Sport // @ GarethJJAllison
Assuming my band sounds as crappy as I imagine it to be, and we put on a show comparable to The Hives, I'd spend my £ 1,000 on print and online PR.
We get hundreds of tracks every day and it's impossible to listen to them all. That's why we rely heavily on what the people we trust are saying about these acts before we decide to check them out for ourselves.
I think the same goes for managers, agents, promoters, labels and publishers. So if you showcase your music in the right places, you can reach all the major players in the industry and it is these people who can turn a hobby into a career.
Of course anyone can post a CD or Soundcloud link to a blog or the NME, but really good PR has the connections to get bloggers and journalists to talk about your band in a way that fans and fans alike Industry appeals. PRs are basically gatekeepers to the gatekeepers and a good one is worth the money.
As a team, we all have a scan of the NME once a week and of course we do a lot of blogging. When I need a new band crush I go straight to Disco Naivete or Break More Waves.
Jonathan Kerr // Universal Music // @ JayKerr
If I were an up and coming artist and had to spend £ 1,000 I would invest where my fan base invests. Be it shows and the financing of tour support or the sale and manufacture of merchandise or products (physical / digital). Find your best sources of income and expand them.
Jhon Cosgrove // Fantastic goods // @ AwesomeMerch
If I were an up and coming artist and had to spend £ 1,000 I would invest it in goods. Obvious response from someone who works for a goods company, but also a reasonable response from someone who has also been in a touring band for over a decade.
Here's why: you're an up and coming artist, people get to know you. You play some good gigs, people buy your CD and download your music. How else can you promote yourself / your band and your melting melodies? A whole range of excellent merch, of course. Buying merch is an investment in your future as making more money and funding what you do is a surefire winner. Being in a band isn't cheap. People imagine bands sitting around in their gold tour buses smoking fifty pounds and drinking bottles of JD, but in reality it's a lot of hard work and money. Exercise cost / travel / equipment and subsequent recording are all constant pits of money.
Use that £ 1,000 to spend on good design (this bit is very important) and then on great merch. Think about what your fans want and take care of them. T-shirts, stickers, badges, and posters are a good place to start. Get the merch online, promote it through social media websites, and help fund your band's future. In today's world running the band as a company is just as important as good songs (cynical but matter-of-fact). When you have spent the first $ 1,000 make sure you have saved the winnings in the bank and keep investing in more. Pretty soon you'll be smoking those fifty pound notes in that golden tour bus.
Revo // Liverpool Promoter & Booker for Liverpool Sound City // @ClubEvol
I would book in some studio time and record my best songs to a professional standard. Once you have your songs, you can do everything else yourself online, with or without a label.
Andrea Madden // Music Supervisor for Made In Chelsea // @ MissyAmKm
My advice would be ... the sensible i would put the money on the commercials, you could have the best track in the world but if no one hears it it's a shame. Maybe you're looking at a radio / television plug ... they could open doors for you. The not so sensible I would buy a Fender Jaguar and a couple of FX pedals 🙂
Alex Kennedy // Music on Sky TV // @ajkendo
If I were an aspiring artist and had to spend £ 1,000 I would find some very creative young guys and get them to make an absolutely unique and compelling music video for me. I had the pleasure of being on a panel recently with the two little geniuses (Brendan Canty and Conal Thompson of Feel Good Lost) who made the amazing video for Hozier's "Take Me to Church" and it has only been mine for a long time Belief, and something I work on every day, reiterates that the best way to influence people outside of finding someone is when you have the track that you've put your blood, sweat, and tears on alongside breathtaking Put audiovisual footage in the front row of your gig and blow it away with 80s power chords!
Kevin Douch // Big Creepy Monsters // @BSMRocks
I would go down the bookies and stick it all on Coventry to lose their next game and double my money. I would then spend £ 10 on 100 blank CD-Rs, £ 20 on paper and other tools to create awesome eye-catching DIY artwork, £ 200 on 50 T-shirts, and a ten on a bucket of chicken before sitting down I spent a day in front of my laptop looking for labels, magazines, promoters, booking agents, PRs, and radio pluggers that I really think my band would like. The next day I sent them all of the streaming links for our best songs along with a short, friendly, non-arrogant, personalized note explaining why I was contacting them, a little bit about my band and links to more information should they be interested be. If a PR shows real enthusiasm for the songs I would ask if I could pay them a small amount of money to use their services, book a few gigs (maybe use a little more money to make up for the unfortunately low fees ) to sing my heart out and whip through goods. The rest of the money would be spent recording our next brilliant songs and repeating the process, including bookies and chicken, until I was fat, rich, and great.
Matthew Williams // UK Music Jobs // @ UKMusicMatch
If I was an aspiring artist and had to spend £ 1,000 then ... I used it to build a decent website that has a mailing list. This will make you look professional and allow you to create a database of fans. BOOM!
Liam Keightley // International Talent Booking // @ Reggiekite
I would put it in the direction of a splitter / van. All you have to do is take yourself and your gear to the venue. That's it. When we grew up in a band we had 2 or 3 cars / taxis to take us to concerts. You would have spent your entire fee before you got to the venue! Someone always has to drive, but you can get a partner to drive, roadies also start somewhere 🙂
You could go to gigs farther away, save yourself at a hotel, and if you're friends with a few other bands it could be something to make money off of. It won't be a luxury, but it will get you performing; one of the most important aspects of an aspiring artist.
Anna Sophie Mertens // Live Nation // @miss_asm
I would invest it or put it in a decent used car / van. There is a possibility that you are traveling around the country with the instruments of your choice and the performances do not (yet) cover your expenses. And you can earn your performance royalties for live gigs through Sentric too!
Jim Gellatly // XFM DJ // @ JimGellatly
I would invest in studio time to get the best rendering of my music, or just set it up for a good occasion. Otherwise, riding a horse can result in better returns.
Louise Dodgson // Unsigned Guide // @EditorUnsigned
A high quality recording of your demo or EP is essential. This represents your sound and is what you will be showcasing to the industry and fans, so you are absolutely committed to making the best possible impression.
Other basic building blocks of your music career that you should spend your £ 1,000 on are decent pictures (either photography or works of art). You don't have to spend a lot to get great results. Membership in the Musicians' Union is a good call and of course a subscription to The Unsigned Guide to give you up-to-date contacts from all walks of life in the music industry to send your music to.
Point Levine // UK Music //. @ DotLevine
If I were an aspiring artist and had to spend £ 1,000 I would hire a graphic designer to help me with my brand identity. I would get them to design an e-newsletter and website for me so I could send my EP out to bloggers, DJs, and flavor makers while improving my social and online presence. I want my music to get noticed and noticed - a strong identity would benefit me. It is so important for aspiring artists to be unique and professional in order for their music to get noticed.
Caroline Bottomley // Radar Music Video // @ RadarMusicVideo
I would go to my local arts / media college and find the instructor for all of the film production classes and ask them to tell the students that I have £ 100 to pay for every director who shoots me / us playing three songs, cut them well and can get up on my youtube channel a month before my tour starts. If they don't meet the deadline I won't give them the money and find someone to do it quickly.
In the meantime, I'll be doing a lot of little bits of vines and Instagram videos on my phone - I'll be performing somewhere, me after a gig, a fan saying what they liked about the gig, etc. I would build one Feeling of community and joy around me. And I would edit the Vines & Instagram videos into slightly longer videos that I can put on my YouTube channel.
I would put £ 200 in as much as possible for transportation, accommodation and tours. When performing, I asked the audience to film my performance, upload the best song to YouTube, and send me the link. I will be favorite these videos to show up on my YouTube channel. Anyone who sends me video footage can download my EP and Big-Ups for free on Twitter / Facebook / Instagram. I may have to play this if it doesn't start. IE makes different friends come to different gigs and record me on their phones and upload me to start the idea.
Then I'd spend £ 500 to get a good video for my lead track, which was created via Radar - home to the emerging talent of music video directors around the world.
I would spend the remaining £ 300 getting a new, small but good PR / plugger to secure a group premiere of the video on the four or five biggest blogs they can get (which may be tiny, but I have to starting somewhere and any good press is priceless) and I would work with them to get closer to the radio and try to access radio playlists, referring to the pretty nice view and subscriber numbers that I have on mine I built a YouTube channel.
Ally Gray // Emu Bands // @ EmuBands
If I were an aspiring artist and had to spend £ 1,000 it would depend a lot on what stage I am at. If I was just starting out I would hold on to it and focus on writing and rehearsing until I felt it was time to get my music out. I would then attend as many conferences and educational events as possible to learn as much as possible from panels and seminars and to meet some industry contacts at networking sessions. A little later, when I started building a fan base, I would invest a little (although not much is required) in learning about my current and potential fan base through analytics, about Next Big Sound, Facebook, etc., and then creating a targeted marketing campaign for my next release.
Olivia Hobbs // Universal Music // @OliviaSpitfire
If I were an up and coming artist and had to spend £ 1,000 I'd probably spend it with a decent engineer in a decent studio to get some of my best songs that sound REALLY amazing before using all of the free tools on the internet to Kick things off ... Maybe save up a bit to buy me a KFC or something else as a reward.
Here we go! Lots of ideas to find your way around there. Feel free to make your own posts on Sentrics Facebook / Twitter.
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