I very much believe in hard work, and I want to work hard to achieve my goal of making a living from my music, but even if I were the hardest working person who has ever lived, I couldn’t make a living doing what I love without your help. So, I wanted to share ways you can help me live my dream. Some are free, and others involve buying music, etc. If you are reading this, chances are you’ve done some of the things on this list, and I truly appreciate everything that anyone has ever done for me. You are the reason I have been able to sustain the pursuit of music for over 20 years! Thank you!
Let’s start with the free stuff, and after that I will breakdown exactly where your money goes when you buy my music from my website and iTunes, listen on Rhapsody or Spotify, or buy my t-shirts or music at shows.
Free things you can do to help me live my dreams:
The easiest is simply to talk about me, and if you have, thank you. You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter (I honestly post the same things to both), or check out MissionMan.net on a regular basis. Obviously, sharing my page and/or my posts helps too. Anything that gets the word out about my music is highly beneficial to me on many levels. First, of course, is making a connection with people through my music. I’ve made many friends because they started off as fans, and people connecting to what I’m creating is what makes it truly special. Having more fans also means more people will come to shows, which means I can perform more often, and hopefully that will turn into heavy touring.
Come to an open mic or a show
If you come to an open mic, I don’t get any money directly, but performing is always more fun when more people are there. It also allows you to buy CDs and t-shirts directly from me, which is covered below. If you come to a full show, the money gets complicated and varies from venue to venue. Usually, after enough people have come to pay the sound guy, whatever cover charge you pay is split amongst the bands performing that night. Sometimes, though rarely, a venue will pay a flat rate. In this case, there’s usually no cover charge and the venue pays out based on a percentage of their sales.
Quick word about music piracy:
I can’t stop it from happening, and for the sake of my own music I don’t think I’d want it to completely stop, though I’d prefer if you share playlists on Spotify or Rhapsody. People burning CDs for their friends, or sending mp3s to each other, etc. is a big part of how my fan base grows, so I actually encourage you to do those things, with one small caveat. Please consider buying some music too, even if it’s just one song from iTunes. I’ll break down how this will help me a little later in this article.
Listen on Spotify or Rhapsody
Both of these subscription services have their benefits for artists. I’ll start with Rhapsody because it’s more straightforward. With Rhapsody, they pay a full penny to CDBaby each time someone plays one of my songs. CDBaby keeps 9% for setting everything up, so I keep about 9/10 of a cent. That hasn’t added up to a ton, but it definitely helps and you can feel wonderful knowing you have supported me just by listening! Spotify is similar, but their formula is more complicated. Basically, they pay out 70% of their revenues to the artists, and each month they divide those revenues by total spins of all artists and each spin pays out equally (from what I’ve read online). The bottom line is, what they pay varies. I’ve seen it be as low as 1/8 of a cent, but on average I get about half a penny every time someone plays my song on Spotify. The great thing about Spotify is that they have a free (ad supported) version. I use the free version to listen to music all the time when I’m at home (including right now). So, thank you Spotify and Rhapsody listeners! You are supporting me, even if you’re listening for free!
iTunes is still the number one way I sell music online. It’s more than all other online revenues combined. If you buy a song from iTunes for 99 cents, they pay out 70 cents to CDBaby, and I end up getting 63.7 cents. I’m very happy with this percentage, and if it means it’s convenient for you, I’m even happier.
Buying music from my website:
I recently setup my website so that you can pay to download music directly from my site. You can pay with PayPal or with a credit card that gets processed by PayPal. They take 29 cents plus 2.9 percent of each sale. On a $5 sale, that means they take 44 cents, and I get $4.56. That’s huge, and that’s why I took the time to setup PayPal on my site. This is by far the best way to support me monetarily, as it’s a significant sale for me, is low cost for you, and gives me a high percentage. You can also buy physical CDs for $10, which cost me about $2.25 per album to get pressed, and shipping tends to be about $2.50, and I have $.58 in PayPal fees, which means I generally keep just under $5 from the $10 sale. It also means you get a physical copy, which I will happily autograph upon request.
Buying T-Shirts from the website:
My t-shirts are priced at $15 on my website, including shipping. Shipping usually costs about $3, and the shirt itself costs me about $5.50 (can vary), so about $6.50 stays in my pocket. Of course, if you’re buying the shirt you’re probably wearing the shirt and spreading the word!
Buying T-Shirts and CDs at my live shows
Since I don’t have to ship them, I get to keep a little more from each CD and t-shirt I sell at shows. That’s why I will take $20 for 2 t-shirts, or $10 for 1 shirt, even though I ask for $15. I also have quantity discounts for CDs. 1 album for $10, with each additional album being $5. On a $10 shirt sale, I keep $4.50 (on a $15, I keep $9.50). On a $10 CD sale, I keep about $8, and if I sell 2 albums for $15, I keep about $11. These are fantastic ways to help me live my dream.
Just want to donate?
No one has ever just donated money to me, but if you want to, you can simply PayPal money to missionman at missionman dot net.
You Truly Can Make a Difference
I live a fairly modest life, and I’m happy doing so. I’ve never made more than $30,000 in any year, and since I’m used to living within that level of income, that means $80 a day would easily support my life, and I’d even be ok on $55 or so. If you were to buy a $5 download, that one sale would pay for more than 8% of one day. Or, if just 12 people were to download a $5 album, it would pay for my life for a day. Alternatively, I would need to sell about 90 songs (or 9 albums) on iTunes per day. I’ve never come close to these levels, but I believe I can, with your help.