One of the hardest things about getting into music distribution and live performances is finding the money to do it. Being a musician isn’t cheap; especially with crowds demanding better shows all the time.
Whether you’re working on a shoestring budget from your barista gig, or just got handed a nice advance from a new music distribution service, knowing how to budget is a requirement to get ahead in the music business.
(At least, if you want to succeed without ending up working in reality TV to pay off your debts…)
Four Tips For Managing Your Money In The Music Biz
1. Leave yourself money to eat.
Seriously, being a starving artist is far less cool than it sounds when front men are talking about roughing it. No matter how committed you are to your music, you need food and shelter more than you need a new guitar. Make sure to take care of yourself first. Music distribution can wait.
2. Make two lists – Wants vs. Needs
As a musician, you’re always going to have more stuff you want, but a lot of it isn’t equipment you strictly need. Keep the difference in mind, and make lists for both. Don’t splurge on stuff from the Want list unless you’ve recently had some sort of windfall or otherwise know you won’t regret the purchase later down the road.
3. Plan thoroughly for upcoming events.
No matter what you’re doing, take a few minutes and jot down a realistic idea of everything you need to make it happen. When you hear about bands going, “Oops, we forgot to rent the amps!” it’s usually because they didn’t plan ahead. Making a complete list of your event requirements ahead of time means you’ve got a solid basis for planning on your budget.
4. Always overestimate.
Yeah, you can probably get Travelocity to find you a hotel room for twenty bucks. Go ahead and assume it’ll be $50 anyway when you’re budgeting for that promotional tour. If you’re constantly spending less money than your initial estimates, it means you’ll have money in reserve when something inevitably goes wrong.