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Meet Your New Friend Limbo

October 6, 2011

I have said hundreds of times, “it’s not spending, it’s investing” but perhaps I should clarify, it is spending if you don’t do it right, in fact one might even call it wasteful spending if you cannot grasp the basics of how to invest money into your musical career. However if you are making smart decisions you should only need to “invest” your own personal money for a relatively short period of time before it begins to break-even or better yet possibly even turn a profit.

You see as an upcoming independent artist it can take awhile to get the point where you are getting a decent cash flow from your musical endeavors.First you need to build and grow a fan base but most importantly you need to monetize your fan base. This not only includes engaging your fans to get them out to see you perform live but more importantly it involves the creation and sale of band merchandise (to see a much more detailed post on merch please read our previous post Merchandise Corner)

If a band is smart with their cash and how you invest it (merchandise, reliable touring vehicle, etc.), they can hopefully get to the ‘Band Limbo’ stage of their career relatively quickly. This stage occurs when the band is making enough money that it is self-sustained as its own entity but not yet making enough profit for the band members to quit their day jobs or embrace as a viable full time career.

For most artists the cycle will look like this:

Spending -> Investing -> Band Limbo -> Profit

Some artists can move through this cycle quite early in their careers (6-12 months) whereas for others it can take years to cross into the band limbo threshold where you have finally stopped spending and investing your own money into the project. There is no golden rule for what this time frame should be as there are a lot of factors that can affect the amount of time and effort it takes an artist to become self-sustaining. Likewise there is no set time that an artist will remain in band limbo before (if ever) advancing to making profit.

I realize the term ‘Band Limbo’ might not be the most appealing concept. In fact, upon first thought being stuck in a middle ground indefinitely is terrifying but upon closer inspection it sure as hell beats being stuck spending or investing your own personal money indefinitely which is where the vast majority of independent artists will find themselves.

You see I am not saying artists shouldn’t have a long term goal to make money but before you set your sights on turning a profit you better lay the foundation to achieve band limbo first.


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