Why you’re NOT making money as a composer

tips-and-tricks

#1

Hey guys, this is my first attempt at an article for this
subject. If you could bear with me….

No sales, huh? Me neither…. well, at least not the way I
figured I’d make them.

You’ve got the MIDI equipment, the sound samples, the
software, and everything else you need. You post songs that you’ve written – no
one buys them. You figure, “Oh, they want goofball-sounding corporate stuff.
Well then that’s easy.” You do that next, no sales. Now you’re like, “Ok, what
I am doing wrong? I know, I need Google adsense! I need social media! I need a website!”
You do all of that, and you’ve barely even sold anything if not nothing at all.
The traffic to your site is nonexistent, the social media connections have no
interest in music, and the clicks on your adsense ads don’t convert into sales.
Why aren’t you making money?

The number one reason, above all else, as to why you can’t
earn enough money to so much as have a part-time income is very simple and
quite obvious. There are literally over a million people on the net trying to
do the exact same thing you’re trying to do – with an average of 100 songs
each. Basically, you’re lost in a sea of white noise, no pun intended. No one
knows you exist, in other words. If you’re the most expensive pearl in the
ocean, how will anyone find you if you’re trapped in the oyster and it’s now
buried under the ocean floor? Most of us don’t have tens of thousands of
dollars to advertise anyway.

The second reason is because there are too many sites on the
net doing what you’re trying to do. This pretty much is an addendum to reason
number one. What’s going to make your site stand out?

The third reason is because you’re literally gambling when
you post songs on a royalty-free library and expect sales once they’ve been
briefly advertised. What do I mean? It means that when you post your songs on a
place like this, for instance, it’ll be on the front page of the site until
more songs added from others push you out of view. Now you’ll notice that a
significant number of people saw your songs when they were advertised on page
one, but no one bought anything. The reason is because, the people who saw your
songs had no interest in that genre. The odds of someone seeing your stuff for
a brief moment where they just so happened to want what you assembled right there
at that moment is essentially nil.

It’s happened to me constantly. I’ve been at it for the last
five years trying to make any valid money composing songs of all sorts. The
best I did was [Removed] years ago where I was getting about 5-10 songs a
month – earning me about $20 to $40 monthly if I was lucky. Sometimes I got no
requests whatsoever, so I eventually gave up [Removed] and decided to try out
royalty-free music libraries. This, however, was before I had realized that
[Removed] was my ticket to success – not by making money from [Removed]
directly, but from the connections the people who ordered and liked my stuff
had.

I’m not trying to advertise [Removed] in any way, all I’m
saying is… since people all over the net now know that you get all kinds of
services for only [Removed], many will thus look for a quick bargain and save lots of
dough, yet get quality stuff at the same time.

Someone I knew from [Removed] years ago who ordered songs that
I wrote for their independent movie had connections to other film producers.
And they, in turn, knew other people looking for such stuff. I only recently
got in touch with him (he remembers me) and asked him if he wanted more stuff. He
stated yes because he’s still in film and he referred me to about a dozen other
people. I’ve now got stuff lined up J

You can almost always guarantee a sale of some sort with
music compositions on [Removed] as long as you post samples of what you can do
(soundcloud, youtube, envato, etc.). This will then lead the right people to
you since people’s music tastes differ and vary a great deal. Yes, I know you’re
not going to make a lot of money from that site, but allow me to finish……

Here’s what you need to do once you start selling compositions
on [Removed] (or here, or wherever else)………….

Once someone buys your stuff and gives you positive
feedback, do this:

Email them back saying, “Thank you so much for your purchase
and the positive feedback! I was
wondering, would I be able to add your name to my email list for upcoming
compositions that I’ll be releasing shortly? I actually do professional musical
compositions and am able to provide much more than what I’ve provided for you
here at [Removed]. If you know of anyone looking for such compositions, I can
give you a referral bonus just for referring them to me where you get a
percentage of the sale after all is said and done.”

Had I asked for this with each of the 100+ people I wrote
stuff for back in 2011-2012 and just kept going with that up to today, my
financial worries right now would probably be over. One of the links in the
email I would send those people would be a link like this one – audiojungle.net
for my particular channel.

Now what are you creating here? First, you’ve got an email
list of people who like what you do where you’re probably going to get business
from them again if they are looking for songs on a routine basis. Most any good
business knows to keep a list of satisfied customers and send them offers and
updates if they agree to be informed. Secondly, you’re building your network.
They know people who know people who know people in the industry you’re trying
to reach. If you’re going to make it as a composer, your network has to be
private for starters. Why? Simply because there are too many people in the
field trying to make it big – those who advertise on freelancer.com,
upwork.com, peopleperhour.com, etc. are inundated with composers who will jump
at the opportunity to write songs if the price is right.

If I went on to any one of the aforementioned sites and posted
an ad that read, “$5000 for a composer to write independent movie score”, how
many people do you think are going to make an offer? HUNDREDS! What are your
chances of being that one that I hire? Very slim. So this is why you can’t just
assume that you’re going to make good money answering public posts. You might
be able to compose songs that are far better than anyone you know have composed
or have ever heard yourself… but the problem is, in music, it’s who you know,
not what you know. Whether your songs sound great or not is irrelevant.

Someone else I met from a chat room was telling me that he
makes his living writing cheap, boring elevator music for his client’s apartment
complex. He submits about several dozen of these quickies to that landlord each
month and the songs are very easy to write. Now, take a look at what’s happened
here… did this composer make all kinds of money with great material? No. Did he
advertise his services with, “Cheezie, generic muzak for sale – I charge $2500
a month” and make a good living afterwards? Hardly.

What had happened was, he wrote songs for someone, who knew
someone, who knew someone else that got him connected with that landlord. His competition
was non-existent since the landlord had no idea who else to ask – he never
heard of freelancer.com, [Removed], etc. at that time. And even the ones that
do know about those sites… well, who do they trust more? Someone they’ve never
heard of where they’re taking a chance, or someone who referred you because
they dig your stuff?

It seems like word-of-mouth is how you advertise as a
composer. The website with your songs, the connections on social media, etc.
comes second after all of that. You lead the people that heard about you to
those things afterwards. Someone out there wants what you create, but you’re
not going find them the conventional way.

Many of you may think, “Why would you give this information
out if it works? Aren’t you shooting yourself in the foot?” Not exactly. Every
composer has their own talent that’s unique to them only. What you sell
musically will be something I can’t sell since I don’t have the background or
experiences you have… and vice versa. Emotion is what fuels any and all melodies
that stand out, as you already know… however, no two experiences combined with
how people react to them match. The composer transforms that emotive force into
sound.

If you want to treat this like a business, then don’t make
the same mistakes I did. Criticize this article as much as you can, I’m not
saying what I’ve mentioned here is the cure-all for no sales achieved. Let everyone
agree or disagree with what I’ve said so we can know what has to be done to
make any real capital in this field.

Stef


#2

Blimey, that’s a lot of words.


#3

Yeah, sorry I didn’t realize I wasn’t allowed to post the site I’m talking about.


#4

Oh, one last thing, by the way… If someone says, “Sure, I’ll refer you to people I know!”, do NOT assume they’re telling you the truth off the bat. A lot of people just say that and never do anything. The only way you’ll know that someone is serious is if they keep coming back to you for stuff over and over - usually if that’s the case, they won’t tell anyone else since they want all of your stuff and won’t fill people in on where they’re getting the material from.


#5

I’m making a lot of money as a composer and I did none of those things.

Why is this strange attempt at an advertising post still on the forum?

Good luck making a living writing music for ONE apartment complex… That was the best part!


#6

“Advertising post”? I was just sharing my experience so that others can attempt alternate paths to success and I happen to have forgotten to mention something last week.