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Helping Musicians Earn a Living

What I do with Schwilly Family Musicians is help productive musicians who are tired of clocking-in to a day job in order to pay their bills make a living with their creative output so that they can focus on creating music for all the world to enjoy.

But before I get to that, let me tell you about where I started...

In the early part of the century, I wreaked havoc across the Midwestern United States with a rag-tag group of young hippies under the self-inflicted banner of Schwilly Family. My friends and I staffed big festivals, toured with The Dead, drove golf carts into quarries, and did all the crazy things young hippies do. Time went by and we spread throughout the country as we grew up, got “real” jobs (or not), and started families. At this point, Schwilly Family is a multi-generational, eclectic, artistic, community of music lovers that still gets together whenever and wherever we can for Something Fantastic!

Although I had drifted into corporate America, I never forgot my musical roots and never stopped thinking about how to give back to the world of music that had opened my eyes to the universe around me. By 2012, I was finishing his MBA and still working for “the man”. Then I had an epiphany. I quit my corporate job, bought some recording gear and a motorhome, and set out on a journey of self-discovery that led me all across the country and even south of the border. My mission was to record and share as much local music as I possibly could and figure out how to make a living in the music industry.

During the year-and-a-half journey I recorded 225 bands, studied music marketing and learned about the modern music industry first-hand from everyone I met along the way. In mid-2013 I settled in Utah to focus on putting to use everything I had learned and join the revolution of the music industry by sharing what I had learned with the world and build the ultimate independent musicians resource. Schwilly Family Musicians was born…

SchwillyFamilyMusicians.Com is a website that is built as a resource for musicians. The blog is centered around career advice for DIY musicians and the business is centered around buiding websites for them that effectively build their fanbase and sell their music.

Ultimately the goal is to help musicians identify key niches, connect authentically with passionate fans, and turn them into paying customers.

Identify your role as a marketer by answering these 11 questions:

  • What is Marketing for? Marketing if for building an engaging and enlightening relationship with your audience.
  • What are we allowed to touch? As sole propietor, I am allowed to touch everything that relates to the products and services that I offer a well as this image of the company. This includes processes, pricing, management, branding, budjeting, tools, outsourcing, advertizing, blogging, social media strategy, and anything else under the "Schwilly Family Musicians" umbrella.
  • What can we as marketers measure? I can measure traffic, conversions, income, expences, subsciber value, open rates, and click-through rates.
  • What can we change? I can change my offerings, my branding, the perspectives and perceptions that musicians have about online marketing strategies, and their ability to earn a living through their music.
  • What promise are we going to make? I am going to promise musicians that I can create the tools for them to grow their audience and sell their music online, and show them how to use those tools.
  • What’s the hard part? The hard part is convincing them that the strategies and tools I give them will creat results and convinsing them to make the investment.
  • Should your organization be making trends or following trends? I am making a trend that moves musicians away from the previously standard concept of getting signed by a major label towards empowering them to take advantage of the DIY philosophy of managing their careers.
  • Where is the risk? The risk to me is in failing at this endeavor as an entrepreneur. The risk to my brand is in losing credibility. The risk to the client is in wasting time, energy, and resources that could have been spent elswhere if it doesn't work out.
  • Who is in charge? As sole proprietor, I am 100% in charge and take full responsability for all success and failures that result from my actions.
  • Marketers spend money. Where are you spending the money? What is it for? My money is spent on social media tools, educational resources, website and email list expences, payment processing, and Facebook advertising.
  • How should we be spending our time? I should be spending my time on activities that build my audience and authority in my field.

Describe the business or brand you're marketing

The Schwilly Family Musicians brand is about creating a community of musicians that are venturing forth to create their own individual career paths without the constraints of the old model of the music industry where you must essentially be "discovered" by a major label and lifted by their wings to stardom. It's about the rise of the Musicpreneur.

Action Theory of Marketing:

  • Emotions: The idea is to delight musicians with the possibilty of making a full-time living with their music by using the internet as a way to engage with their audience and turn passionate fans into paying customers.
  • Change: I want to change their perceptions about how the music industry works. They no longer have to hope to be discovered by a benefactor or signed by a major label. They now have tools available to them to achieve their goals at much lower costs (financial, artistic, emotional, etc...) than they would expect. And it's my job to give them the tools and teach them how to use them.
  • Alert: I build authority and gain permission from over a dozen websites that I contribute my writing to. I also gain permission from potential clients by having them opt-in to my email list, which I use to establish a deeper relationship with them and discuss their needs and goals and give them FREE advice as to how to acheive them.
  • Share: This is the hard part. I do my best to use social media and blogs to create content that is worth sharing, but I'm having trouble thinking of how to incentivise that. I can incentivise my clients to share my services by offering discounts or credits to both them and the people they refer. Since I build websites, I was thinking about offering a $100 Facebook ad campaign to both the referrer and the new client. That would probably be more valuable than a $100 referal to the referrer and a $100 discound to the new client. I'd love to get some feedback from the class on this.

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