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Chapter TEN

Money Path Solutions = Greater Profitability

Now that you know the money paths and the players, let’s look at the problems and identify the SOLUTIONS?

The simple “good news” answer is that you, the artist/band, can create shortcuts in the money paths by taking on more responsibility and doing some tasks yourself. You can reclaim responsibility for some of the services that artists have traditionally been paying others to do. Only some of these shortcuts involve your using today’s new technologies, but all of them will eliminate or change your relationship with some of the players. Most importantly, they will allow you to be more directly linked to the customer/fan and put more money in your pocket. The reality of “more effort yields more profits” can be realized, and you can direct your destiny first hand in a cost-efficient way. This is good and bad: success (read: PROFIT) doesn’t have to be shared with so many others, but you cannot as easily blame any failures on others.

Let’s look at each of the money paths to see where you can put solutions to work for you.

Solutions in the Royalties Money Path

Because of the current economy and technological change, the record companies are not “signing” new bands. No one is getting a break. BUT DON’T PANIC! There are many ways that you can reduce the expense of using all of the services of a recording company.

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The recording studios are especially hurt because the record companies are cutting back, and many are empty or dark. They never really participated in the boom years because they only got paid for their time and never got a piece of success because they weren’t paid by the unit. This is a problem that you can benefit from. You can get a studio to finance its time by setting up a payment plan for its services. This is a WIN/WIN solution with a huge opportunity for the artist to own the recordings (the IP) and fill the studio at the same time.

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Solutions in the Publishing Money Path

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Solutions in the Ticket Sales and Live Shows Money Path

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Solutions in the Merchandising Money Path

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Solutions in Action

This idea of the artist taking on responsibility and creating shortcuts in the money paths is not just wishful thinking on my part. Several “industry leaders” on the artist front are starting the wave of change. My champion is Pearl Jam and their manager. These guys stood up for what they believed in! They left a lot of money on the table trying to tour in venues where they could sell their OWN tickets, and now they are not going to renew their major label record deal, instead opting to create and sell their music directly. This started with the soundboard recordings of many shows that they released to the fans. The Dead, the newest version of the Grateful Dead, now sell soundboard recording to all their shows directly to the fans, no middlemen at all. The fans get the best possible recordings, and the band makes better money than selling any album the traditional retail way. Phish has also opted for this method, as well as many of the smaller “jam” bands who live from touring. Natalie Merchant, formerly of 10,000 Maniacs, has also rejected renewing her major label deal. She wanted to make a non-mainstream record, but her record company would not accept it. Her goal of selling several hundred thousand copies of this particular would have been considered a failure by her record company since she had sold millions of her previous release. So she is going her own way. These trendsetters are clearing a path for newer artists to have a chance at making enough money to continue creating music for a living.

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