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 My longtime passion is music and always dreamed to earn some (or any!) money making music or working in the field of media. Does anyone know any opportunity to earn money? (composing music, doing voice over, gaming music, mixing, film editing etc?) Any pointers would be appreciated. Cheers!

Jim
MacBook Air M1 16 GB RAM - latest Logic and macOS version - Focusrite 2i2.

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A couple of thoughts. 

First off, in the audio business, there are no 'opportunities' like "Oh, I've seen a poster 'We're Hiring A Composer', I might just as well have a look to see if that suits me".

Then, in the five areas you mentioned, there will likely be hundreds of folks that are better than you and have better connections than you. In every area. So you will need to thin out the competition by specializing and getting really good at that specific thing or service, provided this specific thing or service is in high demand and you have the networking skills to be at the right place at the right time with the right set of skills and people willing to choose you above everyone else. Even in these days of home office, you still may need to move where the industry is.

If you have followed the evolution of the music industry, you know that composing, producing and releasing music as a band or solo artist will generally not earn you any money. Music is virtually free today and that pretty much sums up the range of money to be earned by everyone except the top 0.1%.

Gigging as a band or solo artist may work out unless you play jazz, but this has been heavily impeded by Covid and the resulting risk of cancelled gigs due to sick band members, venues running out of staff and general restrictions for health security. Then, the abundance and immediate availability of online music has also made live music far less appealing to the crowd, so you may have trouble filling the room. Adam Neely has a quite interesting essay out on Youtube about the struggles on their last tour, including the mockery of other musicians who seriously suggest to 'sleep in the van' to save on hotel costs.

If you provide music as a service, say, as a wedding band, you can earn good money, but that will require you to feel comfortable playing Top40 songs and lots of much cringier stuff, while smiling and wearing a suit with a pink tie. Also, be prepared to be treated as staff.

As a composer for media, you may aim to produce for the music libraries and hope that your tracks will be picked sufficiently often. You will have to create very high amounts of tracks of the genre-of-the-day in very high quality at very low costs to make this profitable. 

As for money in general, set yourself up so you can (literally) survive for five to ten years to apply yourself to this full time without income, and then see where that got you. Music is a luxury item, so if something's got to go it'll be your service first, or if there's a free option (and there may always be) then this is what will be used.

 

Edited by fuzzfilth
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Christian Obermaier
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I agree with the comments from fuzzfilth and would add a few other thoughts to his. 

When it comes to the music side of your list, you need to have a special talent to have any chance of success. It's likely that if you are especially talented you will already know. It will be obvious and people will have told you (not including family and friends). 

You also need the ability to resist the brickbats that will come your way. You will have no money for a long time and relationships will be strained. If you choose to follow this path in your spare time you will be reducing your chances of success considerably. 

When it comes to mixing, editing etc. you will also need to be highly talented and the ability to get on with people. Maybe start by mixing local bands/artists for free. That's how most people started back in the day. Maybe it's the same now. Being a great engineer/mixer takes a huge amount of dedication. If you're not working at it 12/14 (or more) hours a day, 7 days a week, you will have absolutely no chance of success. This kind of dedication is the preserve of those in their early twenties, usually with no ties. 

Other than the above, you have two options. You can either do music purely for the love of it without any expectations, or you can trust to luck. And luck is not the basis for any kind of career decision. 

If we haven't put you off yet, then maybe you want it enough. Only you know the answer to that but you need to be honest with yourself. 

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Thank you, fuzzfilth and nev17 for the lengthy replies. I knew it’s hard to make a living in this industry. I am 48 years old, making/recording music since 16. Recently enjoying film editing as well. I know for sure it is not worth to live my life without my hobby. So whatever time is left after sleeping/40-50 hours work week/wife time,  i spend it on music/media. I am going to do it until the end of my life even if I never make any money. There are some opportunities out there, just as you guys said you have to be lucky to meet the right person or be at the right place the right time etc. I recently met a few individuals working in fields i would love to be in. They all got in through friends and family. (Adding music/ audio tracks to commercials, or games etc.) The other was adding sound/noises to small budget movies. (I asked if i could get in :) . I guess networking is your best chance. Even then you have to be lucky. 
Other thing i could try: a Youtube channel (instructing, reviewing, cats tripping over a rock…) Music libraries sound interesting. Can someone point me to a good one to enter? Thanks again🙏

Jim
MacBook Air M1 16 GB RAM - latest Logic and macOS version - Focusrite 2i2.

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3 hours ago, Mania said:

Music libraries sound interesting

Just google 'production music', and you're there.

Don't bother applying with a cassette recording of your latest campfire tune, this needs to be professionally produced music, perfectly tuned, rock solid tempo, in stems and in versions with different lengths.

Assuming your lot of tracks has been accepted by the production music house (which will earn you nothing), depending on your luck and music quality, maybe 1 out of 100 (or 1000) of your songs may be selected by an actual production company or agency and built into a corporate presentation, movie promo, washing powder commercial (which will still earn you nothing).

Then if, and only if, your track continues to outdo all competing tracks in the many levels of presentations of the spot to corporate executives of rising orders (who really would rather just use "get lucky" and be done, but that is so damn expensive) until a final version is signed off *and* your track is properly reported to GEMA/PRS/ASCAP and/or the rights holder (the production music house), then you may get some compensation after 6-12 or so months. 

Edited by fuzzfilth

Christian Obermaier
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2 hours ago, fuzzfilth said:

Just google 'production music', and you're there.

Don't bother applying with a cassette recording of your latest campfire tune, this needs to be professionally produced music, perfectly tuned, rock solid tempo, in stems and in versions with different lengths.

Assuming your lot of tracks has been accepted by the production music house (which will earn you nothing), depending on your luck and music quality, maybe 1 out of 100 (or 1000) of your songs may be selected by an actual production company or agency and built into a corporate presentation, movie promo, washing powder commercial (which will still earn you nothing).

Then if, and only if, your track continues to outdo all competing tracks in the many levels of presentations of the spot to corporate executives of rising orders (who really would rather just use "get lucky" and be done, but that is so damn expensive) until a final version is signed off *and* your track is properly reported to GEMA/PRS/ASCAP and/or the rights holder (the production music house), then you may get some compensation after 6-12 or so months. 

Lol. This sounds promising. I am composing music anyway without compensation so it won’t hurt trying to submit. Thanks Fuzzfilth! 🙂

Jim
MacBook Air M1 16 GB RAM - latest Logic and macOS version - Focusrite 2i2.

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17 hours ago, Mania said:

Thank you, fuzzfilth and nev17 for the lengthy replies. I knew it’s hard to make a living in this industry. I am 48 years old, making/recording music since 16. Recently enjoying film editing as well. I know for sure it is not worth to live my life without my hobby. So whatever time is left after sleeping/40-50 hours work week/wife time,  i spend it on music/media. I am going to do it until the end of my life even if I never make any money. There are some opportunities out there, just as you guys said you have to be lucky to meet the right person or be at the right place the right time etc. I recently met a few individuals working in fields i would love to be in. They all got in through friends and family. (Adding music/ audio tracks to commercials, or games etc.) The other was adding sound/noises to small budget movies. (I asked if i could get in :) . I guess networking is your best chance. Even then you have to be lucky. 
Other thing i could try: a Youtube channel (instructing, reviewing, cats tripping over a rock…) Music libraries sound interesting. Can someone point me to a good one to enter? Thanks again🙏

You're welcome, Mania. Best of luck. 

iMac 21.5" 2.8GHz quad core i5 | 8GB RAM | OS 12.3 | Logic Pro X 10.7.4 | Audient iD22 interface

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I will be the one telling you the opposite... kinda. Just because I have a different point of view and that always proved me right. Does it mean it will work for everybody? No, but it could.

First step: don't overthink. I understand where the other comments come from, but before you get all that information they shared and suddenly feel that there's more barriers than bridges, ask yourself: how much money do I need in order to make a living off of music? That's a super important step, because once you know that, all your decisions will be somehow focused on that. Do you need $1,000 a month? $2,000? $5,000? Do the math first.

Second step: once you have step 1 figured out (and don't put yourself in that position where you have the "the more money I make, the merrier" mindset, because that will create unnecessary anxiety, in the beginning), be honest with yourself and ask: what kind of value can I bring to the market? Are you a great guitar player? Are you a great producer? Are you a great business person that could potentially be a manager? Stuff like that. Write that down, sorted by  "how good am I at this?" and how much you love each one of those. Picture yourself doing each one of those things for the next 30 years. Would you love doing them? Because that will dictate how much you will truly invest (money, time, energy). If it's something you don't see yourself doing for that long, I would suggest that you don't do it, because you won't give 100% of yourself and that will eventually translate into people feeling you're not the best choice for them. People can feel this and trust me, people are attracted to that kind of energy and when they do feel that you love what you do, they will create a special bond with you and your brand.

Third step: once you have those sorted out, do some research and see how much you could charge per hour/project/product/service. When you do that, you will have a rough idea of how much of that you have to provide every month in order to achieve your goal from step 1. This is, of course, an ideal picture, because things change, but for now, assume that you are able to achieve those numbers. Do you need to sell 10 products a month that cost $100 each so you can make $1,000? Do you need to mix 30 songs in order to make $5,000? Stuff like that. After that, do the research and see if there's any market for that. In my opinion, I believe there's a market for everything. I don't believe in "saturated market". I believe that if you are good at something, you provide great customer service, etc, you will for sure surpass even people who have been doing this for 30 years. You can start today and by the end of the year you made $100,000 while some people who have been doing this for 30 years, struggle with $10,000 a year. Focus on your product, your service. Each person/business has a different story. Create your own. ;)

Forth step: create a real plan. Think of ways to promote your product/service using as much free tools as you can, but always focus on quality of the product/service, along with an extraordinary customer service! Just one more time: extraordinary customer service! You have no idea how many great products I decided to stop using, because their customer service sucks. I don't support arrogance.

Fifth step: execute... every... single...day! If today you lay down a brick in order to creating a wall, you are a step closer than you were yesterday, with no bricks. People will build trust if you are good and consistent. They will most likely not buy from you the first time you promote it. Or even after 5 times seeing it. But maybe they will on the 10th time, so stay consistent.

 

I hope this helps. I'm not here to tell you "do this, because it's a good service", or "do that, because there's less competition". You know YOU. You know your skills, your will to win, your available time, your financial situation. The steps I suggested are steps that can apply to any endeavor. I believe that as much as there's a lot of "competition", truth is: only 1% of people doing what I do, have a great product, offer amazing customer service, are innovative, are consistent, have a good looking brand, etc. So to me, there's no "huge competition". I'm competing with myself and just a few people who are as good or better than myself. :)

Believe in yourself, your goal, your desire to live off of music. Work hard (and smart) and you will get there! Good luck! :)

Edited by Danny Wyatt
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Danny Wyatt (formerly known as 3ple here on the forum)
Musician, Music Producer, Songwriter, DJ
Official Website: http://www.iamdannywyatt.com  - Join my Discord: https://dwyatt.me/discord

Logic Pro 10.6.3 • M-Audio Fast Track Pro 4x4 • MacBook Pro 13" Mid 2012 || 2.5 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 || 8GB 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM • macOS Catalina 10.15.7

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5 hours ago, Danny Wyatt said:

I will be the one telling you the opposite... kinda. Just because I have a different point of view and that always proved me right. Does it mean it will work for everybody? No, but it could.

First step: don't overthink. I understand where the other comments come from, but before you get all that information they shared and suddenly feel that there's more barriers than bridges, ask yourself: how much money do I need in order to make a living off of music? That's a super important step, because once you know that, all your decisions will be somehow focused on that. Do you need $1,000 a month? $2,000? $5,000? Do the math first.

Second step: once you have step 1 figured out (and don't put yourself in that position where you have the "the more money I make, the merrier" mindset, because that will create unnecessary anxiety, in the beginning), be honest with yourself and ask: what kind of value can I bring to the market? Are you a great guitar player? Are you a great producer? Are you a great business person that could potentially be a manager? Stuff like that. Write that down, sorted by  "how good am I at this?" and how much you love each one of those. Picture yourself doing each one of those things for the next 30 years. Would you love doing them? Because that will dictate how much you will truly invest (money, time, energy). If it's something you don't see yourself doing for that long, I would suggest that you don't do it, because you won't give 100% of yourself and that will eventually translate into people feeling you're not the best choice for them. People can feel this and trust me, people are attracted to that kind of energy and when they do feel that you love what you do, they will create a special bond with you and your brand.

Third step: once you have those sorted out, do some research and see how much you could charge per hour/project/product/service. When you do that, you will have a rough idea of how much of that you have to provide every month in order to achieve your goal from step 1. This is, of course, an ideal picture, because things change, but for now, assume that you are able to achieve those numbers. Do you need to sell 10 products a month that cost $100 each so you can make $1,000? Do you need to mix 30 songs in order to make $5,000? Stuff like that. After that, do the research and see if there's any market for that. In my opinion, I believe there's a market for everything. I don't believe in "saturated market". I believe that if you are good at something, you provide great customer service, etc, you will for sure surpass even people who have been doing this for 30 years. You can start today and by the end of the year you made $100,000 while some people who have been doing this for 30 years, struggle with $10,000 a year. Focus on your product, your service. Each person/business has a different story. Create your own. ;)

Forth step: create a real plan. Think of ways to promote your product/service using as much free tools as you can, but always focus on quality of the product/service, along with an extraordinary customer service! Just one more time: extraordinary customer service! You have no idea how many great products I decided to stop using, because their customer service sucks. I don't support arrogance.

Fifth step: execute... every... single...day! If today you lay down a brick in order to creating a wall, you are a step closer than you were yesterday, with no bricks. People will build trust if you are good and consistent. They will most likely not buy from you the first time you promote it. Or even after 5 times seeing it. But maybe they will on the 10th time, so stay consistent.

I hope this helps. I'm not here to tell you "do this, because it's a good service", or "do that, because there's less competition". You know YOU. You know your skills, your will to win, your available time, your financial situation. The steps I suggested are steps that can apply to any endeavor. I believe that as much as there's a lot of "competition", truth is: only 1% of people doing what I do, have a great product, offer amazing customer service, are innovative, are consistent, have a good looking brand, etc. So to me, there's no "huge competition". I'm competing with myself and just a few people who are as good or better than myself. :)

Believe in yourself, your goal, your desire to live off of music. Work hard (and smart) and you will get there! Good luck! :)

Wow! Thank you Danny! You would surely succeed as a motivational speaker LOL. 
I totally understand the reality of the other responses and yours is greatly appreciated as well. It’s just what I needed. I am currently self-employed and working full-time installing products physically. So not the music/media business which I desire. I think what I will do is dedicate one day a week to this and try different things in the media/music field. . I know this is something I would like to do because I’m already doing it for 30 years with no income. As i said i have income,  I would like to just transition into music or something related instead. This is what i love to do and when I do it,  time flies by and it doesn’t feel like work. Right now my feeling is that I can hardly wait till work is over so I can do music, producing or some kind of media activity. I composed hundreds of songs in my lifetime, I was in a band, I was a singer songwriter and I composed instrumentals for games and commercials, movie scores etc. submitted here and there but was discouraged through my life because nothing went nowhere.  Maybe I’m just unlucky in life. Nothing really happened to me that I really really wanted in life. But other great things that I did not even know about just fell in my lap. Cheers!

 

Jim
MacBook Air M1 16 GB RAM - latest Logic and macOS version - Focusrite 2i2.

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22 minutes ago, Mania said:

You would surely succeed as a motivational speaker

Funny that you say that, because I had other people say the exact same thing haha I guess it's just my mindset. I'm not "falsely" positive, you know? I don't believe in luck, I believe in hard work (and smart work), because those will put you in situations where some call "luck", whereas I call "I worked my way up here". If yo leave the house and you meet someone in the industry that can help you, it's not because you're lucky. It's because you made the decision to leave the house, right? All your actions have a consequence/reaction. So the more you do, the more you exposure your work, the more chances you have of someone finding you, hiring you, etc. It's a snowball effect.

Henry Ford (allegedly) said: "Those Who Say They Can and Those Who Say They Can’t Are Both Usually Right". The moment you say you can't, or it's hard, or there's too much competition, you are already programming your brain for that scenario, right?

Now, I don't think everything is super easy, and that all you have to do is "think positive". I hate that mindset. Be aware of the barriers, but don't dwell on that. Being aware of the difficulties is part of planning the solutions, which is what you should be focusing on.

As I said, sit down, grab a pen and a piece of paper, and plan. When we look at things right in front of us instead of having them in our minds, it seems more realistic and less complex. Our brains can be very tricky ;)

 

Go for it! We only live once. F*** it!!!

 

Edited by Danny Wyatt

Danny Wyatt (formerly known as 3ple here on the forum)
Musician, Music Producer, Songwriter, DJ
Official Website: http://www.iamdannywyatt.com  - Join my Discord: https://dwyatt.me/discord

Logic Pro 10.6.3 • M-Audio Fast Track Pro 4x4 • MacBook Pro 13" Mid 2012 || 2.5 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 || 8GB 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM • macOS Catalina 10.15.7

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taxi.com is an interesting website with forums and commentary on this subject.  They bill themselves as "an independent A&R agency."  Forums are here.  That's where you'll read comments made by people who are actually using the service, some of whom have been doing so for a very long time.  Taxi is a subscription-based service which requires paid membership.

Edited by MikeRobinson

Mike Robinson - "I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
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It sounds like you have a large catalogue of songs, Mania. Have you tried publishers? If not, track down your most local publishing companies, call them and offer your songs. They're always interested in songs they can push to artists, labels, TV and film. It's best if you can meet the relevant A&R in person before they hear your songs. Offer to buy them a sandwich for lunch. If you pitch it just right, you will get a few takers. 

iMac 21.5" 2.8GHz quad core i5 | 8GB RAM | OS 12.3 | Logic Pro X 10.7.4 | Audient iD22 interface

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, nev17 said:

It sounds like you have a large catalogue of songs, Mania. Have you tried publishers? If not, track down your most local publishing companies, call them and offer your songs. They're always interested in songs they can push to artists, labels, TV and film. It's best if you can meet the relevant A&R in person before they hear your songs. Offer to buy them a sandwich for lunch. If you pitch it just right, you will get a few takers. 

Thanks Nev17. What is a publisher? Just google publisher? I just did google. All of them are books publishers but i will shoot an email everywhere. I have to do my homework. Thanks 

Edited by Mania

Jim
MacBook Air M1 16 GB RAM - latest Logic and macOS version - Focusrite 2i2.

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1 hour ago, Mania said:

Thanks Nev17. What is a publisher? Just google publisher? I just did google. All of them are books publishers but i will shoot an email everywhere. I have to do my homework. Thanks 

When you write and record a song you are creating two distinct copyrights. The first is in the composition (lyrics and music), and the second is in the recording. When you sign a record deal, the record company are leasing the rights for a fixed period to sell your recordings. Your record royalties are a percentage share of the sales of the recording. Your rights in the composition is administered by a music publisher. For a percentage share of the income, they will collect the performance and mechanical income from around the world on your behalf. You sign a publishing deal in the same way you would sign a record deal. This is a very basic explanation and you will find plenty of information about copyright and royalties online. My company website has a bit more info https://www.bespokeaandrservices.com 

Besides collecting your royalties, publishers put a lot of effort into placing the songs and music on their roster into films and tv. They also offer songs to artists who are searching for new material. Keep in mind that there's considerably more money to be made from publishing than there is from releasing records. And the copyright lasts longer - life + 70 years, which means you have a legacy to leave your loved ones. 

Do a bit of research and let us know if you get stuck. Copyright is a complex beast so don't despair if you find yourself going down incomprehensible rabbit holes. When the time comes to sign a publishing or record deal, you will have a lawyer who will explain your particular circumstances to you. Don't ever sign anything without being represented by a music lawyer. Hope that helps. 

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