When starting a new business, it is vital that you make a plan for the future. This is as vita in the music business as it is in any business. It may be viewed as boring an unnecessary, but without a business plan, you will more than likely fail. There is a saying in the marketing world that states, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. So, a music business plan is the all important component in your business. A music business plan will allow you to see where you have come from, where you are now and where you will be in the next few months and years. A good business plan forecasts up to three years in the future. It should also be updated monthly.
What are the Six Most Important Things to Include in a Music Business Plan?
1. Market Research is one of the Most Important Aspects of Your Music Business Plan
Ok, so a big factor of having a business plan is your market research. It is the number one most important reason for your plan.
There are two types of research. This includes your field research and your desk research. Your field research is where you get first-hand feedback from prospective fans. Desk research is investigating published sources of statistical information.
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Field Research Sources
One of my University qualifications is a Certificate in Higher Education in Business Planning. My eventual assignment for this was to produce a business plan. At the time, there was Survey Monkey for putting together questionnaires and that was it. Thankfully, today there is more than just one way of creating and getting feedback from questionnaires. There are sites like Feedier and Google Forms. I have a lifetime membership for Google Forms that I got from AppSumo. However, Google Forms is completely free and well worth your time and energy.
You can find people to answer your questions on sites such as Fiverr, Facebook and Pinterest. I highly recommend spending a few pound (dollars, rupees, yen, euros – or whatever your currency is) on advertising. From this, you can find a big reach and get feedback from a lot of people from anywhere in the world.
Questionnaires are one of the best ways to conduct field research. The other way that I can recommend is test trading. Run your business for a month or so to see what kind of reception you will get. Make that merchandise for your band. You don’t have to put a lot of money into designing merchandise. It is important that you can purchase it as and when your fans want to order it. There is nothing better than test trading because it tells you whether or not your fans are fans that put their money into your music and speak with their pockets.
The best places to find desk research include Facebook Insights. Back in the day, it was difficult to source desk research. It was contained in big and expensive reports that you had to purchase. Today, you can get all your desk research for free. This is all thanks to the internet. With social media sites like Facebook, it is easy to find this information now. Facebook Audience Insights is freely available to anyone who wants the information. Furthermore, with Facebook Audience Insights, you can learn things like…
- The biggest age group your fans represent
- Whether your fans are married or single
- Are your fans mainly male, female or a pretty much even mixture?
- What do your fans do for a living?
- What else do your fans like?
- Which cities and countries are your fans from?
- What languages do your fans speak?
This information will enable you to know how to communicate with your fans. Furthermore, you will be able to influence your fans in a certain way. You will also be able to design your merchandise, your website and any other visuals with art design and colours that correspond with your fans.
If there are a bigger number of fans in a foreign country or city, you will be able to learn that language to appeal to those fans even more.
One example of the latter strategy is Roxette. Marie Fredriksson (Rest in Peace) and Per Gessle learned Spanish because they had a bigger number of fans from Spain than any other country on earth. This made them even more popular in Spain. Not only could they speak Spanish, they also translated their hit songs into Spanish.
2. Market Analysis is a Vital Element of Your Music Business Plan
Your market analysis will enable you to have a better understanding of your competition. Who are your competitors? What are their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats? This will enable you to improve on your weak points and take advantage of your competitor’s weak points. If there is a good number of synthwave fans in one city and that city is lacking in synthwave gigs, you can hold gigs there and increase your fan count in that city.
You should complete a SWOT analysis for both your own music business and also for your competitors. The strengths are where the business is better at. For instance, if you can find a way to include all your fans in a gig, it is a strength.
One website that I can really recommend is Stageit.com. This will enable you to hold gigs from your home studio. You don’t have to move your equipment. There is no tiring travel involved. Your fans will be able to talk to you personally. You will be able to hold gigs every day for every fan in the world to join in too. Your fans don’t have to travel to your gig. They don’t have to buy expensive tickets. It just makes a lot of sense. With price elasticity, you will be able to decrease the price of tickets, yet have many more fans tune in. Plus, between songs, you can address them personally.
3. Unique Selling Proposition
Often referred to as either a unique selling proposition or unique selling point, your USP is vital to the success of your business. It is the thing that only you can provide. This may take some thought. What can you provide for your fans that no other artist can? What is your unique mixture of music? If you have a YouTube channel, what can you do for your subscribers that is not being covered by other channels?
My channel at Krannaken TV provides over-the-shoulder tutorials in music marketing. This is different from other channels who will just sit there and talk for a few minutes.
Your slogan can be along the same lines as your USP. This is also related to the next point about your elevator pitch, but the slogan sums it all up in a short sentence. I have been working with a blogging business called Blog One Stop Shop. The slogan for the Blog One Stop Shop is “Making You The BOSS”. It is aimed at people who want to leave their day job and work from home as a blogger.
So, what about your elevator pitch…
4. Elevator Pitch
If you were stuck in a lift (only Americans call it an elevator) with a prospective fan and you did not have any way of playing your music, what would you say to make that prospect into a fan? What would you say? Therefore, you have to include what you would say in your elevator pitch, in this part of your business plan. Thus, the elevator pitch has to be over and done with, in no more than two minutes.
This is important because you are trying to win investment. Therefore, your business plan should make your business sound great. It has to sound professional. If you are looking for investment, you can also see how important this step is.
5. Your Marketing Plan is An Essential Part of Your Overall Music Business Plan
In today’s world, the most important part of your marketing plan involves how you are seen in cyberspace. If you have a music business, which websites are you most present on? My advice is that you focus mainly on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok if you want to appeal to a younger market of fans. Most musicians will be looking to spread their popularity among fans of a younger age. People on Instagram and TikTok are of the right age group if you want to target this market. If you make any kind of music YouTube is essential.
As I stated before, StageIt would give you a prime opportunity to appeal to your fans. This is true of any generation. Even older people are now becoming much more internet savvy. Therefore, this represents the best way for you to build the right audience and showcase your music.
In the old-fashioned world of big bands travelling the world, there was a very high divorce rate among show business couples. With StageIt, you don’t have to be away from your partner or your spouse for a long period of time. You can be there when the need you. Pioneers of this online way of holding gigs include Armin Van Buuren and Jean Michel Jarre.
Armin Van Buuren
Although Armin travels as well as holding his own online shows, he is well known as a YouTube celebrity. You can see his show below. He holds this show every week and fans can tune in to watch and listen to the music. Armin has special guests who travel to see him at his studio in Amsterdam. You can see Armin’s show below…
Armin Van Buuren: A State of Trance.
Jean Michel Jarre
Altough, this is the first JMJ show I have seen on YouTube, it is nevertheless very impressive. You will see these guys messing with modular gear. If you are a knob twiddler, you will enjoy watching these guys messing with all this modular hardware gear. Jean Michel Jarre is the grandfather of modern EDM. His track, Oxygene, was big in the 1970s and he’s still at it today. Here is that show that he put on for fans on YouTube…
JMJ: Oxygene: Live in Your Living Room
6. Your Cashflow Forecast is Also an Important Aspect of Your Music Business Plan
Although it is largely a guessing game and rarely goes to plan, your cash flow forecast is important. Most business people will recommend that you complete a three-year plan. This is so that you have a future to aim at. Sometimes it goes better than this and sometimes it is a total flop. However, it is still important that you do this.
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