How to Get Paid What You’re Worth as a Musician


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Music and Money: How to Get Paid What You're Worth as a Musician

Here’s a great lesson if you want to generate the kind of music revenue you know you deserve. I first came across this idea in a blog post titled “How to Get Paid What You’re Worth” by Peter Shankman.

Here’s the golden nugget:

You can always come down in price. You can NEVER go up.”

There’s a lot of power in those 12 simple words. For example, imagine the following dialogue:

“Hi. I’d like to hire your band for a business meeting. How much do you charge?”

“Well, we could probably do it for 500 bucks.”

“Great. Let’s book it.”

“It’s a done deal … Wait! On second thought, it’ll actually cost you $900. Is that OK?”

“What?”

Needless to say, this is not a good pricing strategy. However, imagine this dialogue instead:

“Hi. I’d like to hire your band for a business meeting. How much do you charge?”

“Thanks for asking. First, I need to know where and when it is, how long the event is, etc.”

“Sure. It’ll be May 17, from Noon to 2 PM. And it’s right here in town on the south side. It’s a spring party for our sales managers.”

“Sounds great. And we are available that day. Our rate for corporate shows like this is $1,000.”

“Oh … I was given a budget of no more than $700 for entertainment.”

“Hmm … well, since it’s in town, I’ll extend a $300 discount. We can do it for $700.”

See how this works?

You can always come down in price. You can NEVER go up.”

So … put a reasonably high value on the musical products and services you offer. You can always negotiate or lower your “normal” fee when it feels right. But if you don’t start from a position of value, you short-change yourself and your income.

This pricing philosophy also extends to your albums and merchandise sales. If you think that keeping your prices low will endear you to fans and increase sales to the masses, more often than not you will be disappointed.

When you start with prices that are cut to the bone, you leave yourself no room to offer discounts or do special promotions.

There’s a better way!

Let’s say you would be happy to sell your full-length albums for $10 each. Instead of promoting that price to start with, put a price of $15 on them.

That gives you room to create incentives. Perhaps you could promote “Buy one album for $15, two for $25, or three for $30.”

That type of offer makes the $30 price seem awful tempting. By doing this, you would increase the amount of the average sale – and still get the $10 per album you want!

So remember …

“You can always come down in price. You can NEVER go up.”

Music and Money: How to Get Paid What You're WorthYou can read Peter Shankman’s article that inspired this here.

-Bob

P.S. For a big dose of money-making ideas, check out 19 Cash Flow Strategies for Musicians and Bands.

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3 comments

  1. Bob, I’ve always heard that he who names the price first, loses. In fact, when dealing with some venues, this seems to be the tactic they use. What would you say about that?

  2. Quite Great says:

    Some excellent tips there Bob and you’re providing a great service. Indie muscians are the grass roots of the music industry and the more help they get the better.

  3. Hey Bob, great advice! I love the simplicity of it. I think a lot of artists are afraid to ask too much for a performance or an album sale because they think people wont buy and end up regretting it.