How do you make yourself recession proof as a creative
2020 has been a weird year for the music industry. Conventional forms of entertainment have slowed to a snail's pace and incomes have dried up everywhere. Lockdown is showing musicians just how vulnerable their incomes are. Now that we're on the mend, something needs to change in case we're in a similar situation again. 1. Hand to mouth Most musicians live from gig to gig. They're occasionally in studio and then it's back to the gigs. Because music income is so erratic, musicians should hold an emergency sum of about 3 months worth of expenses for dry spells. This ensures that you can continue about your daily activities instead of worrying about how you'll pay your next bill. It's very difficult because everything costs a lot of money, but winners move with discipline. Put that money in a place you won't see to often if saving is difficult for you. 2. Long-term money I've done a lot of posts about music publishing and securing your royalties. There's a lot of long term money out there. Games, movies and adverts are all ways you can ensure your long term income. To start this process, look into publishing companies in SA and abroad. They're always looking for new music for their clients. Artists fail here because of their approach game. If you're bad at sending emails, text me for some ideas you can use. When you contact a publisher, you aren't talking to one of the homies so your written English needs to be decent and respectful. You need to state your intentions clearly and there's no need to sound cool. Professionalism and good intent are enough. 3. Back-end admin Most artist's admin is a mess. If you don't sort out your admin, you won't get paid. Other admin that can also benefit you that's unrelated to royalties is sorting out your budget. How much would it cost for you to work as a musician for a month. How much would food cost and how much would you be able to spend on studio time. Figuring all these things out will show you very quickly whether your finances speak to your music goals. If you can guarantee R5k from music in a month, spending R4k on food and other costs would leave you with R1K for beats and studio time. Is that enough? Do you need to spend less on monthly expenses? How often can you afford studio time? Would it make more sense to buy your own equipment? Without data on your own habits, you can't answer these questions accurately. I suggest a free app from the app store to manage your time and your budget. I've used a few like aTracker and Money manager to keep track of what I'm doing. 4. Research The music industry is changing every month and it's tough to keep up with everything if all you're doing is making music and chilling. Take some time to look up new websites, apps and opportunities online. Google is a great place to check out if you want to grab some quick info about something. There may be some false information out there, but it's up to you to think critically. Being able to tell the difference between facts and fiction comes with experience and through reading widely on a topic. Watch numerous videos and read numerous articles until what you're asking about makes sense. 5. Network in your down time Its widely known that your network determines how far you go in the music industry. Taking time out every day to contact fellow creatives is a great way to strengthen bonds with people in your community. Strong ties with more people lead to more opportunities. Checking out peoples profiles and reaching out to them is a great way to make new connections online. This works especially well if you're on lockdown or you find yourself far away from a major city. The internet has brought everybody closer. When lockdown is lifted and bans on gatherings are gone, go to events and network. Meet new people and follow up on the projects you set out to work on. These are a few points that will ensure you are able to build your career and navigate harsh periods the next time we're faced with a situation that brings our industry to a halt. I know there's a lot to do and sometimes you may feel overwhelmed but it's possible with a little dedication and sacrifice.
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