Business At A Glance
Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? Yes
If you’ve always wanted to be in the music business, but you can’t singa note and your instrumental talents are limited, take heart. You cando the Dick Clark thing as head of your own record (or more properlynowadays, CD) label. According to the Recording Industry Association ofAmerica, music influences every culture on our planet to the tune of$38 billion annually, with the U.S. recording industry accounting for afull one-third of the world market.
As a recording whiz, you’ll locatetalent, choose the songs, style and format for your first album, thendo everything the Capitol Records execs would do–rent a studio, hirean engineer and producer, have the tracks mixed and mastered, arrangefor cover art, and have your CDs pressed. You’ll also be theadvertising and marketing department, working with distributors,getting your band gigs on the road, and making sure your CDs andposters are displayed in stores.
Then you’ll turn around and do thewhole thing over again with your next album. The advantages to thisbusiness are that it has a definite cachet and sounds not onlyglamorous but way cool. If everything goes right, you can make asizable amount of money, and, of course, you get to be in the music bizevery working day. This is entrepreneurship of the first order–you’llneed to be a major go-getter, willing and able to carry out everyaspect of getting your CDs from gleam-in-your-eye to on-the-chartsreality. You should have a good working knowledge of how the musicbusiness operates. And you’ll need the innate ability to recognizetalent when you hear it and to know what will appeal to a significantlistening audience.
As with the book-publishing industry, you generally don’t sell directlyto the ultimate consumer, the person who pops that CD into his playerand cranks up the sound on a sunny afternoon.
Therefore, you’ll need towork out a deal with distributors. Some smaller record labels do selldirectly to listeners at flea markets and swap meets and through mailorder. And even if you go through a distributor, you can sell directlyto music stores as you canvass your territory, making sure they’recarrying your album.
You’ll rent the recording studios and hire out production, mixing,mastering and pressing, so all you really need are your own abilitiesand plenty of chutzpah.