5 Steps to Kick Start Your Music Business

5 Steps to Kick Start Your Music Business

The beginning is the most difficult. When I started my first business I had all of these grandiose ideas about what I wanted to do.  The problem is, when you look at the big picture you can easily miss a lot of the important details involved with getting you there (costs, costs, costs).

Below, I’ve outlined 5 Steps that can take you from the grand idea stage to the execution stage.

1. Write Your Ideas Down

As a musician, you are used to constantly writing and creating.  This really shouldn’t be a stretch.  However, the problem is that a lot of creative types think in a flow which causes them to house their business ideas in their head.  Take your ideas and write them down along with and add-on ideas that relate to the main idea as you go on.

This is important because it brings you closer to a developed music business plan that will help others align with your vision (remember, your TEAM has to be aligned).

2. Map Your Idea

Great, you have written your music business idea down and are ready to start bringing on the fans, right? Not so fast, your plan is still not actionable and we need to break things down further.  In this step, you’ll want to map our your idea and add-on ideas as well.  To do this we need to take our overarching business idea and put it in the center of a piece of paper.

We’ll stick to basics for these examples but lets say you want to createvmerchandise for your music business.  You would place “merchandise” in the middle of the page.  Simple enough, right?  Now we need to think about what it takes to make this idea viable.  A quick few ideas that could make this viable are:

  • Designs
  • Production
  • Fans/Customers

Again, these are very basic but help to get a point across.

The next step in the mapping stage is to identify the additional subsets that help to make design, production, fans/customers viable.  So for example with designs we can draw up the following:

  • Outsourced designer
  • Learn graphic design programs
  • Pre-made designs

You will continue mapping these out until you have at least 5 levels that helps make your business idea viable.

Probably the top choice for mind mapping software is XMind however you can also use Coggle if you are looking for something free.  Of course, you can also stick to good old fashioned paper and pen.

Once you have done this it is time to move onto step 3.

3. Assess Your Music Business Investment

Now that you have your mind map completed, it is time to start adding some costs to this business idea.  For each link in your mind map you will want to put an expected cost associated with that activity.  You will be able to tie this all the way up to your main business idea for an expected idea cost.

From here you will want to start thinking about how many fans/customers you will need and how much money you will need to make in order to make a profit.

4. Find the Profit – Create Your Plan

So now that you understand how many fans/customers you need in order to make your idea profitable, it is time to develop your plan.

A lot of this is just a numbers game to identify where you need to focus your efforts.  Let’s assume our investment/profit analysis identified that we need 100 fans/customers per month to make a healthy profit.  We now need to figure out where these 100 fans/customers will come from.

It is here that you will want to do a little research on the community involved with buying your type of product within your music business.

Let’s go back to the apparel example.  We may want to look at merchandise from similar artists and look at some of the reviews.  What types of merchandise have the highest reviews for this artist? If its apparel, what colors are selling?  You can get a large amount of information from this alone and it will help you decide exactly  what merchandise you need to offer as well as what sites your target fans may be frequenting.

But, this is MUSIC business and you are a MUSICIAN not a merchandise creator.  You are very right, which is why this research and plan creation phase is so crucial! You are not going to go to these identified communities and peddle your merchandise, you will focus on your music while knowing that the merchandise that you are offering is of value to this fan community.


Now that you’ve done research and created a sound plan where you understand your investment, your break even point, and where your fans/customers are, it is time to EXECUTE the plan.

I would say it is fair that this is where the majority of musicians attempting to make a business out of their music fail.  There are all of these grand ideas but no execution. Execution is the true key to being successful in this music business game as everyone has ideas.