We all want to make money doing what we love – that’s the dream of every artist I know, and the goal of every manager and agent to help them actualize it. If you’re worth your salt, you’re getting your artist into paying gigs, selling their merch or albums (physically and digitally), collecting performance royalties, and maybe getting them placements in Film and TV. As G.I. Joe says, knowing is half the battle – but it’s only half. I’m going to push you just a little further and encourage you to define and analyze your artists revenue streams. Here’s why.
1. You get the big picture
Once you’ve defined your revenue streams, you can keep a close eye on what’s working and what isn’t. You may find that iTunes just isn’t working, but your artist sells like gangbusters live. You can use this information to improve on the areas your artist is lacking, or perhaps focus more fully in the direction of their success. I know one band who gave up touring altogether because they were doing so well with sync licensing.
2. Micromanaging can be beneficial
If you feel like getting very nitpicky, there’s one area where you can really zoom in – merchandise. When I toured with my band, we kept track of every t-shirt and sticker we sold – designs, colors, sizes, etc. We found that we were constantly selling out one particular design, and that a couple of the colors were especially popular. We doubled down on orders of those and blew the rest of the designs out in a sale. Not only is this a great money saver – you won’t be buying more merch that just sits around – it’s a money earner as well. You’re now selling stuff that’s more in demand. This bolsters the band’s morale, and makes you seem even smarter and hands on – a good move all around.
3. Knowing your budget helps you sell your artist
When selling your artist – especially to big decision makers – you’re going to have to be ready to answer a lot of questions. Sure, they’re going to ask you questions about your artist’s sound – who would you compare them to, what bands have they toured with, etc. – but they will want to know the business side of things too. Don’t be caught flatfooted – coming back with an intelligent answer can be impressive and show that you take yourself (and your artist) seriously. “They have a strong social media presence and do great with online sales – we’ve found that they’re in demand in the area of Film and TV placements as well. We’re also ramping up the PR machine for an album release in two months, and have 25,000 copies pre-sold” is a knowledgeable answer – “They play out a lot and get good reactions from the crowd” is considerably less so. Be on the ball - knowing the ins and outs of your artists sound is one thing, being on top of every facet of their career is another. It’s what separates the top tier managers from the rest of the pack.
4. It allows you to easily promote your wins
If you represent an artist, it’s your business to know everything. If you don’t know, you can’t promote it, and then how are fans of your artist supposed to know? Take to Twitter and Facebook – tell them to tune into tonight’s episode of The Flash to hear their latest song! Better yet, make sure it’s on the artist’s bio and on website – yours too. . And remember #2, where I told you to keep track of what sells at your merch table? Having lots of people walk away carrying CDs, stickers and T-shirts looks good – and ensures others will stop by to see what all the fuss is about. This generates more buzz for your artist, earns their trust in you as a representative, and makes you look great.
When you define and analyze your revenue streams, you can use them as a roadmap – one that may take you to new and unexpected places. At the very least, you’ll finally know where you are!