It is no surprise that it’s 10:20pm on Sunday night, and I haven’t scratched out a single sentence in this week’s blog entry for my Monday morning deadline. [Ed. note: it’s now Monday morning at 9:15am, and I’m not done yet. Yikes.]
You see, I’m wrapping up the eighth week of the nine-week blogging challenge. And this week the task is about money. Our task is to create a “Continuum Program”. In market speak, this means answering the key question: what are the variety of items / services / events you can sell to your consumers (fans) in order to make your music business an ongoing thing?
Like many artists, I find it hard to think / talk about this question. But it’s maybe not for the reason you think. I don’t believe in the cliché of money sullying art (well, I used to… but I’m long over that.) I like money. I like feeding and clothing myself, paying my bills and student loan (well, I don’t like the bills, but I like paying them off.) I like being able to afford to tour and make records. And I do think my music contributes to people’s quality of life and is worth an exchange of cash for it.
But it baffles me how people actually assign monetary value to things …how do they know how much to ask for? It seems to me that succeeding in sales and these sorts of financial matters require an understanding of interpersonal communication rules and a community agreed-upon pricelist that I just don’t have.
Maybe it’s silly but…
When I think about money, I get the very strong sensation that I am a kid playing house or “groceries” and that it is play money I’m handling. Yes. Even now. I get that feeling. A concert ticket could be $2 or $20, a record could as easily cost $50 as $5, and I couldn’t explain the difference between St. James Place and Pacific Avenue. The amounts are arbitrary to me, and at the end of the day it is merely an accumulation of numbers. Maybe this is why I don’t mind doing my taxes, because it’s more like a giant set of math problems than any thing to do with the real world.
Is that strange?
Like I said I am coooool with money. I know I need it to live, to tour and to make records. I’m pretty good at raising capital for large projects: I collected a fair chunk o’ change for my last two albums through arts grants and by inviting friends and fans to contribute through my “Fundraising The Roof” campaigns (popularly known as crowdfunding), and I’m about to do it again for the next one. Making records this way is a fairly sustainable proposition.
But what this week’s chapter reminds me is that it is on-going sales/contact in-between the big projects that makes a music career sustainable. I ought to (want to) come up with additional day-to-day ways of making an income. Less feast / famine and more chug – chugging along.
So let me put the question out to you, my trusty readers… what sorts of items / services would you like to see me offer as my “Continuum Program”? Do you need t-shirts? Fridge magnets? Chord charts? House Concerts? Let’s brainstorm here! And can we get a price check on that?
PS: Speaking of play money, check out my friend Corin Raymond’s fundraising efforts for his upcoming record. So far he’s collected more than $2,600 in Canadian Tire Money!! He’s aiming for $10,000! (There’s a photo of what $2,600 CTM looks like on his blog: www.dontspendithoney.com)
Next week: “The Real World”.
Look for my next blog update Monday March 12th.
For more about the blogging challenge I have embarked on for my 2012 New Year’s resolution, see my earlier posts:
Warm up: Does Anybody Ever Win These Things
Week 1: What The Mayans Can Teach Us About Setting Goals, Or…
Week 2: Hold the door, this elevator is going up!
Week 3: Home Sweet Homepage
Week 4: Social Media and the Theory of Everything
Week 5: Music Videos Are Not Dead! They’ve Just Gone North For The Winter.
Week 6: I’ve Looked At Blogs From Both Sides Now
Week 7: Poor, Poor Baby