President of AM to FM Promotions has contributed as a panelist for Canadian Music Week, Country Music Week, The Canadian Urban Music Awards, Indie Week, Ontario Country Music Association, Stylus Music Conference, Vancouver Island Music Conference and several others. She has worked in radio, and for labels in radio promotion, in the US, UK and Canada.
As we head in the holiday season, Indie Connectors would like to focus on budgeting. Andrea Morris, founding member of Indie Connectors, and the driving force behind AM to FM Promotions, shares some thoughts on planning ahead financially before you begin the recording process.
Glitters are not free!
Picture yourself at a concert, dancing and singing along with your favorite artist.
Look at that awesome stage! Look at those lights! Check out those dancers! WHOOOOHOOO!!!! Yeah baby – that’s where you want to be someday, right? Well, how much do you think it costs to put on a production like that? (uh oh, is your balloon deflating now?).
Huge concerts are not cheap to produce, hence the high ticket prices. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. You’re just starting out in the music industry, so you don’t have to worry about semi trucks full of gear, a production staff of 300 and costuming costs. Let’s concentrate on what YOUR budget needs are as a new artist.
Be aware of the costs...
Being aware of the costs associated with recording, websites, touring and a support team is one of the first steps in establishing yourself as an artist and NOT a hobbyist.
I know it’s a lot more fun to talk about performing and songwriting, but the reality of the business is this: nothing is for free and everyone is willing to take your money. It’s up to you to be smart and know what you SHOULD spend money on now, and how much is correct.
I have spoken to artists who have gone into the studio with no set budget, then ended up spending close to $20,000 on three tracks, leaving them no money to promote their single to radio, or to publicize their music. They now have three killer tunes that only their family will hear.
... and plan your expenses!
Let’s start mapping out your budgetary needs:
Once you have decided where you are going to record, you will have budget entries for studio time, producer fees, engineer fees, and miscellaneous expenses (cds, equipment rental, food, etc). Make sure you know exactly how much money you want to spend and be sure to stay as close to that amount as possible. It is inevitable you will run over budget, so be sure to pad it a bit.
Your song after the studio
Look ahead to what will happen once the recording process is completed:
What are you going to do with the killer tracks you have just recorded?
If you want your tracks on the radio, be sure to research radio trackers (also known as pluggers or radio promotion people).
Again, it’s homework time. Check out their websites, talk to their former clients and ask about rates. This will be another budget entry: radio promotion.
You also want to think about hiring a publicist. Same homework rules apply and yes, it’s another budget entry!!
Other costs to think about include: website, photos, biography (this may be included in the cost for a publicist), electronic press kits (commonly referred to as EPK), and manufacturing costs.
Knowledge is power!
Is your head spinning now? It can sound somewhat overwhelming. However, if you know the costs before you embark on a project, it will make your life a lot easier. Knowledge is power!!!! The more you know, the less likely you are to be ripped off.
Be realistic in your budgets and don’t spend all your money on recording!
I’ve seen way too many people blow their budget on studio time and then what do they have? A great cd that no one will ever hear (except their family and friends who have gotten copies for Christmas, birthdays and any occasion where gift giving is appropriate!)
If you want to fulfill your dream of becoming an international singing sensation, then be smart from day one and BUDGET!!!
See, it’s not such a bad word!