Why musicians must create a passive income source?
Drummer John O.Reilly in his book, The High Paid Musician Myth talks about the importance of creating a passive income source for musicians. He lays down some ideas as to how musicians can make income outside of playing gigs since the music business is at a decline.
He starts off by saying relying on music as the sole source of revenue is a broken business model.
The idea of paying for music to this generation would be like asking them to pay for breathing unless of course you shut it off. It ain't gonna happen, not in my lifetime, and maybe not even yours, or your children’s.
He goes on to make a case for increasing intrinsic value of musicians using the Rolls Royce v/s BMW as an example.
Practical Value + Intrinsic Value = Total Perceived Value. Practical value is the thing that you do; you play or sing as well as or better than any other high paid hired gun out there. All things being equal, intrinsic value is the unseen perceived value that’s created mostly by positioning and promotion. The differences are largely cosmetic. Increasing your intrinsic value will do two things: it’ll increase your profitability and keep you in demand.
The author suggests specialization as a way to increase the intrinsic value of musicians. Another suggestion is to start a business outside of the music industry. However, the author asks musicians to avoid any brick and mortar business such as rehearsal/recording studios and physical locations for music lessons because the cost of failure is enormous. A good starting point would be diversifying musicians' business interests by going for the low hanging fruit such as information business and online courses.
The great thing about starting a business online is that it allows you to fail fast, pick up the pieces, and start over while learning from your mistakes. Since we are musicians, we know all about failure.
The author argues that being a product creator, at the right timing, adds more value than being just a songwriter. Also, as musicians, we must learn to see things instead of merely looking at them to position ourselves in the marketplace. One way to do this is to focus on something that is not common knowledge and to build a mailing list of prospective fans. Additionally, musicians must learn how to problem-solve by asking the right questions, in order to thrive.
When you ask quality questions of importance, you'll get quality answers. It really is that simple.
Despite the decline in the music business, the author encourages musicians to chase their musical dreams.
Listen, we all seek fortune and fame at some point in this business. If you're going to pursue a career in the music industry, shoot for the top, don't fall into the trap of, “I just want to make a living at this, and I'll be happy.”
Don't let that stop you from going for it though because it's a great life. You get to see things, do things, experience things that people who aren't in your position will never experience in their lifetime.
The book also has some relevant quotes from other popular writers in this context.
The author concludes by leaving us with some food for thought.
I was recently at an informal gathering of friends when I was asked by someone whom I'd never met before what I did for a living. I told him I'm a professional musician, at which he sort of scoffed. Sensing the challenge, I asked him what he did for a living, to which he cheerily replied, “I work on Wall Street.” I then told him I could learn his job in 90 days or less, but it would take him a lifetime to learn mine.
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