New Business Ideas No. 15: Making your own music label

Do you have musical talent? Do you compose, sing, and/or perform? Are you unrecognized? Will no record company sign you up?

Don’t despair! There is another way into music recording. One you have total control of.

Just as many writers self publish with Kindle on Amazon, Smashwords, or Lulu, you can self publish your own music.

Buskers or street performers around the world have been doing it for years and quite successfully.

If you are an aspiring singer or musician, sing or play in talent quests, and/or involved in streetside music, then don’t wait to be discovered by some multinational record company, discover yourself and produce your own CD.

The costs and risks of doing this are so low with today’s technology. You can hire a studio and producer for a very reasonable price and lay down your music on a beautiful CD which represents yourself as you see yourself.

It’s just amazing how many copies of a self produced CD a street performer can sell in Melbourne or London during any performance. Sometimes a simple half hour performance can sell over 30 CDs to passers-by. CD sales become your major source of income rather than waiting for donations to be put into a hat during your performance. People are more ready to buy a CD rather than donate as they feel they are getting something of value.

In addition to street sales, you can distribute your CD to selected shops, and sell it online. A simple website will support your efforts with promotional pictures and music samples.

Instead of getting royalty fees as low as 5%, you get everything, less the cost of production.

There is such a wide range of music people appreciate. A good live singer with his or her own compositions always sells. Instrumentals, jazz, spiritual, music to do meditation or yoga by, mood music, or other novel music concepts all have markets.

The key in this business is getting out into the markets where people are and performing. That’s the best promotion you can do. Learn how to gather a crowd, keep them interested, and prominently display your CDs during the performance.

Don’t forget people like you to personally sign the CDs you sell to them. It makes them very personal.

Making your own music CDs is something very empowering. It’s about making something of yourself and getting it out into the world. And when people buy your product which is totally you, there is a real special feeling of contentment and appreciation you won’t get anywhere else.

You can get into the music industry without being controlled by anyone. Believe it or not, some street performers go on to bigger and better things, once their self promotion gets them discovered. Jimmy Buffett, Bob Hope, Josephine Baker, Bon Jovi, John Butler, Tracy Chapman, Shannon Hoon, Loreena McKennitt, Peter Mulvey, Kristyna Miles, Hayley Westenra, and the founders of “Cirque du Soleil” all made their careers from busking.

A street performance by Bryson Andres

In fact street performing is “chic”. So many big names in show business have performed on the street for various reasons, even recording whole albums. Some who have been known to street perform include Paul McCartney, Sting, Brice Springsteen, and Rod Stewart have all performed on the street.

Paul McCartney Busking in London

So if you are musically inclined, there is nothing stopping you from producing your own CD. You don’t need a record company, you make your own. You may even be able to extend into t-shirts and other items as well.

Street performing is always a popular event for passers-by in markets and city precincts. It’s like a discovery for them. If you walk around Covent Gardens in London or Southbank in Melbourne, you will see large crowds around many performers.

You can be a “star of the people” and make a living out of it, if you dare.

Good luck and see you round the streets.

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