How to create your Professional Brand as an Artist

Hello Composers and Artists, Mike here. And in this article I want to share some of the most important aspects of branding, for your professional career in music.

First, who am I? Well, my name is Mike, and I am a composer, sound designer and artist like you! I am also the founder of professionalcomposers.com, and I have even worked with branding as one of my main roles in another business I was in a couple of years ago. 

But more importantly, I have personally learned and experienced the practical benefits of having a professional brand, both in business and in your own personal brand. And now I want to share some of the most important aspects of branding, for your professional career in music.

Create your Professional Brand

Let me start out blunt: your music can be of amazing quality, but if you neglect the business aspect of your career, you miss the biggest potential for your success. And the foundation of every business is...your brand!

And this means both your...

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Music Licensing: The 3 Types of Rights

If you're interested in music licensing, there are three main types of rights: Mechanical, Synchronization, and Broadcast. There's also a fourth type of right, print rights, but those aren't as common unless you have a big hit.

Now music licensing is super complicated, but I'm hoping to explain it in simple terms. These types of rights are all a little different, and all require different organizations to collect the money for you. Also note, this is not legal advice, just one musician talking to another about the types of rights we're entitled to with our music.

Now, each type of right leads to a corresponding royalty. Basically, as musicians we trade away part of our right, let's say to synchronize our song with a video, in exchange for money and publicity.

So let's dig into the types of rights for music from the perspective of royalties, cause getting paid is always more fun.

The first type of right is to mechanical royalties. This is basically your right to get paid every...

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How to Release an Album Online (Beginner’s Guide)

For years I had no idea how to release an album online, so I let the songs clog up my hard drive. After lots of research (and frustration), I finally put it all together. Here's how.

Note: This article contains affiliate links, which mens that I may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on them. However, that doesn't influence my recommendations.

Many thanks to the incredible Ari Herstand for laying much of this out in his book, How to Make it in the New Music Business (affiliate link). It’s full of brilliant information on all aspects of being a musician these days.

This guide on how to release an album applies a lot of the lessons from that book, as well as my own experiences.

I've tried to make it a practical, FUN case study about how I released my first album for my synthwave project, “Portents.” (you can stream it while reading this very lengthy article - it's great instrumental background music!)

 

Preparing to publish your...

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How to Get a Record Deal in Hip Hop

A year ago I had no idea how to get a record deal. I was a bedroom producer making a few hundred dollars a month selling stock music. But unbeknownst to me, powerful forces were at work that would lead me to getting a publishing deal. 

Here's how it went down. 

I Wasn't Looking for a Record Deal

To be honest, I was happy just making my music for myself and selling it directly as stock music. But occasionally, a beat that I made would be fire. 

So when that happened, I'd invite my friend Ryn over. Ryn has been a rapper for a long time, and he would come over and spit some lines. It was fun, but we weren't really thinking about how to get a record deal.

It was really just an excuse to drink. And occasionally it would lead to a great track. Over time, it got better. So yea, practice is important. Then Ryn invited his friend Vince over. And Vince is a great rapper to. 

Together, they started making some awesome music. 

Here's the main tip from this story:...

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Taxes for Musicians – Top Musician Tax Deductions in the U.S.

Despite everything you may hear about the death of the music industry, there's still a huge need to pay taxes for musicians. Most people with day jobs receive a W2 tax form from their employers, and their taxes are pretty straight forward. But working musicians like us also get our income reported through a Form 1099.

Basically, you pay independent contractor taxes for the music work you do.

This article will focus on the three major areas of taxes for musicians: basic background information, bookkeeping for musicians, and the top musician tax deductions. And all of this is only for American musicians. I literally have no idea about any other country, so if you're not from the U.S., you may want to find help elsewhere. 

All tax payers are required to pay three different taxes to the IRS - FICA Social Security, FICA Medicare, and Income tax. The two FICA taxes are non-negotiable - all tax payers everywhere pay 15.3% of their income into FICA.

If you're an employee, your employer...

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Tips to Launch Your Music Career Interview w/ Bree Noble

A music career is about so much more than just talent and songwriting. It requires save, hustle, and a business mindset. That’s why I wanted to interview one of the top music career coaches out there, Bree Noble.

Bree Noble is more than just a successful musician, she’s helped thousands of musicians learn how to take control of their music careers. Her website is is chock full of great tips for becoming a profitable musician.

She is especially focused on the struggles that female musicians face building, and launching their musical careers. Her career advice for musicians boils down to this: musicians need to think of themselves as entrepreneurs and act accordingly. Our 20 minute interview offers lots of actionable tips on how every musician can take control of their music business to live a fulfilling, creative life. She also has a fantastic book, The Musician’s Profit Path (affiliate link), that offers even more tips on profiting from your music

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How To Make Money as Musician by Pursuing Your Passion

This 5-day mini course will show you exactly how to launch a music licensing side hustle so that you can finally get paid for your music!