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INTRO Hello! Sam Russell - heavy metal guitarist

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SamRussell

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Hey everyone,

first off - thanks for making the forums and writing the books MJ.

I read Fastlane a few years ago (I think it is time for a re-read).

I'm a musician, and more specifically, an electric guitarist playing heavy metal and classical crossover.

I've released a heavy metal album. It was made using session musicians. I made some pretty bad decisions when making it, and have a tonne of debt from it.

On the plus side, I own 100% of the rights to everything on the album, it was done professionally, and it has had reviews that are better than major label releases.

Business wise, I'm trying to figure out how to sell my album online. I've taken courses by nearly every "music business marketer" online... and I don't think they have any idea what they are talking about. Strangely... when I ask them if any of them can tell me the net income they or any of their students make from music (not selling "how to sell music" courses), none of them have a straight answer.

I'm not looking to make a million dollars tomorrow, but if I can make $3000/mo profit from it, I can travel around the world, write music, and I'll be profitable enough to justify self funding future releases with a bank loan, if I can't raise the money upfront from existing customers... which would be awesome. I have an MP3 download available for £5 - £7 depending on the offer, which means that my goal income level requires 423 - 600 sales/mo

Market wise, heavy metal fans still spend a lot of money on music and the culture in general.

What I'm working on at the moment:
1. Building a blog related to heavy metal music and lifestyle. Build a mailing list and use it as an online magazine to advertise my album. Also keeps my mailing list engaged.
2. Building a profitable sales funnel using facebook ads. I've made a few sales doing this, but haven't broken even. This week I'm changing the funnel to:
FB ad > opt in page > offer > emails for blog

Why I'm here
I'm here so I can learn from people building real businesses, rather than people whose business is to teach people how to build a business.

Scalabilty
In terms of how I can scale, I think I have this sorted. Before I released the record, I assumed I wouldn't need to market it (... yeah). So I figured out how to ship 1000 physical units a month, found a supplier and a distributor.

Thanks for reading - I'm probably going to keep a low profile while I read up on old posts for a few months.

My work ethic is pretty solid.
 

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njord

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Can you tell us what your band is called?

If you want to travel the world why dont you fomulate a band and just go touring?
I have no experince but i know if done right it should pay for it self, you get tons of new fans and exposure what will lead to extra sales.

PS im a metal fan i would love to hear your work:devil:
 
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SamRussell

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Can you tell us what your band is called?

If you want to travel the world why dont you fomulate a band and just go touring?
I have no experince but i know if done right it should pay for it self, you get tons of new fans and exposure what will lead to extra sales.

PS im a metal fan i would love to hear your work:devil:
thanks for the reply!

The music was released under my own name, "Sam Russell". You can check out a couple of songs on YouTube here:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQPUwRvcTCY

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rf5t91KDuMA


That would be cool, but doing it right and making the numbers fall out would be pretty hard. The music needs 5 people, including myself, to perform, and those players need to be at a pretty high level - people that can play at that level don't want to work for free.

I've contact booking agents and management companies and they want bands that have exposure - either social media followings, shows, or bands doing a lot of live shows.

And as a lifestyle, I'm not sure I want to play a different city every night.

The ideal for me, would be to
  1. Make a lot of sales online.
  2. Live in a different city every 2-3 months.
  3. Play at metal festivals in the summer
If I can get IM figured out, I can scale record sales pretty reliably, and getting festival shows will be pretty easy.
 

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Welcome to the forum Sam.

've taken courses by nearly every "music business marketer" online... and I don't think they have any idea what they are talking about. Strangely... when I ask them if any of them can tell me the net income they or any of their students make from music (not selling "how to sell music" courses), none of them have a straight answer.
That's a shame, if not a surprise.
 

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No business advice, but listening to your links above, I can imagine you at those big European festivals.

Watching with this thread with interest.
 

Primer

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Hi Sam, I feel like this is the first post in here that I am qualified to comment on lol.

If you read my other posts you’ll see that I used to be in the music industry as a signed performing artist (a guitarist in a rock band actually).

We did the whole deal, music videos in Hollywood, toured the world etc. This was around about 2007-2008, just before the arse fell out of the world financially and just as the internet was REALLY putting the final bullets into the industry’s head.

I don’t have great advice for you sadly. I still get quarterly PRS statements. This quarter (ten years on from when I was actually doing it) my songs were streamed 5,166 times across all the various networks. For that I earned £1.88.

In 2018 music is essentially valueless. If you want to make £3000 per month from selling your music then I just don’t know what to tell you. I still know and am friendly with people in successful bands and they don’t make £3000 a month.

Sorry I didn’t have anything more enlightening for you.
 

Andy Black

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There’s a podcast on superfastbusiness.com where James Shramko speaks to a bass guitarist who’s got a big subscription site for lessons. Not sure if that helps.
 
G

Guest61835

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Hey everyone,

first off - thanks for making the forums and writing the books MJ.

I read Fastlane a few years ago (I think it is time for a re-read).

I'm a musician, and more specifically, an electric guitarist playing heavy metal and classical crossover.

I've released a heavy metal album. It was made using session musicians. I made some pretty bad decisions when making it, and have a tonne of debt from it.

On the plus side, I own 100% of the rights to everything on the album, it was done professionally, and it has had reviews that are better than major label releases.

Business wise, I'm trying to figure out how to sell my album online. I've taken courses by nearly every "music business marketer" online... and I don't think they have any idea what they are talking about. Strangely... when I ask them if any of them can tell me the net income they or any of their students make from music (not selling "how to sell music" courses), none of them have a straight answer.

I'm not looking to make a million dollars tomorrow, but if I can make $3000/mo profit from it, I can travel around the world, write music, and I'll be profitable enough to justify self funding future releases with a bank loan, if I can't raise the money upfront from existing customers... which would be awesome. I have an MP3 download available for £5 - £7 depending on the offer, which means that my goal income level requires 423 - 600 sales/mo

Market wise, heavy metal fans still spend a lot of money on music and the culture in general.

What I'm working on at the moment:
1. Building a blog related to heavy metal music and lifestyle. Build a mailing list and use it as an online magazine to advertise my album. Also keeps my mailing list engaged.
2. Building a profitable sales funnel using facebook ads. I've made a few sales doing this, but haven't broken even. This week I'm changing the funnel to:
FB ad > opt in page > offer > emails for blog

Why I'm here
I'm here so I can learn from people building real businesses, rather than people whose business is to teach people how to build a business.

Scalabilty
In terms of how I can scale, I think I have this sorted. Before I released the record, I assumed I wouldn't need to market it (... yeah). So I figured out how to ship 1000 physical units a month, found a supplier and a distributor.

Thanks for reading - I'm probably going to keep a low profile while I read up on old posts for a few months.

My work ethic is pretty solid.
I'm also an artist as well (metal primarily but I can do other genres of music and such). Is music your career or hobby? Because neither of those should both be music. You'll burn out on it. Music needs to stay as a passion unless you use it to gather an audience I suppose. Music is great and all but you need to first read The Millionaire Fastlane and Unscripted before you proceed. I highly recommend you read those first and then take a jump into what you believe is best next. M.J.s book will give you the correct guidance. That I promise. I don't promise that the books will tell you what your next business idea will be.
 
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SamRussell

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Hi Sam, I feel like this is the first post in here that I am qualified to comment on lol.

If you read my other posts you’ll see that I used to be in the music industry as a signed performing artist (a guitarist in a rock band actually).

We did the whole deal, music videos in Hollywood, toured the world etc. This was around about 2007-2008, just before the arse fell out of the world financially and just as the internet was REALLY putting the final bullets into the industry’s head.

I don’t have great advice for you sadly. I still get quarterly PRS statements. This quarter (ten years on from when I was actually doing it) my songs were streamed 5,166 times across all the various networks. For that I earned £1.88.

In 2018 music is essentially valueless. If you want to make £3000 per month from selling your music then I just don’t know what to tell you. I still know and am friendly with people in successful bands and they don’t make £3000 a month.

Sorry I didn’t have anything more enlightening for you.
Thanks for the information man! Wow, that is awesome, it sounds like you had quite a ride in the music industry!

I partially agree and disagree with this. I know a lot of people in a lot of bands are having a pretty rough time and not making very much, but I'm not prepared to give up just yet. I have a few funnel ideas to test out.

I'm running FB ads to a squeeze page and getting confirmed opt ins to my mailing list for £0.30 - £1, so if I can get 10% - 20% to spend a few quid, I can break even on the ad spend and scale up...
 
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SamRussell

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There’s a podcast on superfastbusiness.com where James Shramko speaks to a bass guitarist who’s got a big subscription site for lessons. Not sure if that helps.
Teaching is how I make money at the moment. I used to be full out on my guitar teaching business and could make £100/hour easy, £300/hour some days.

Problem is... I hate teaching. I took a lot of bad advice, which led to putting bad systems in place and dealing with people the wrong way, which created tonnes of problems, which killed my love for it.

I have thought of the subscription site for lessons, I've seen a few people doing that.

An idea I've toyed with is to take lessons with a great guitar player, put the lessons online and let people subscribe for a few dollars a month (of course, with permission and cutting in the other teachers involved).
 
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SamRussell

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I'm also an artist as well (metal primarily but I can do other genres of music and such). Is music your career or hobby? Because neither of those should both be music. You'll burn out on it. Music needs to stay as a passion unless you use it to gather an audience I suppose. Music is great and all but you need to first read The Millionaire Fastlane and Unscripted before you proceed. I highly recommend you read those first and then take a jump into what you believe is best next. M.J.s book will give you the correct guidance. That I promise. I don't promise that the books will tell you what your next business idea will be.
Currently it is a hobby, but I'm good enough to make it a career... IF I can solve the marketing side of the equation and build an audience.

I have the first 5 chapters of Unscripted form the free download and I'm going to start re-reading Fastlane tonight.

thanks for the reply
 

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SamRussell

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No business advice, but listening to your links above, I can imagine you at those big European festivals.

Watching with this thread with interest.
thanks man,

you're not the first person to say that....

it's in the plan.
 

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Jeff Noel

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Welcome to the forum, Sam !
Excellent song structure, I love the riffs vibe overall and the emotions in your solos.

I know it's all original compositions, but have you ever thought upping your YouTube presence with covers of existing songs "made your way" ? I know some guys like Cole Rolland (contact@colerolland.com) and Erock331 (shredguitareric@gmail.com) are kicking a$$ doing just that.

You could try contacting Frog Leap Studios (Leo Moracchioli - frogleapstudios@gmail.com - Frog Leap Studios) who's also big on YouTube (2.9m subs). He could perhaps provide you tips on growing your online presence as an independant artist. He started doing live shows last year I think, and grew his audience exponentially after steady uploads for a few years.

They all have different styles, but the marketing, branding and growing parts can all be applied to your own business! They're also really friendly, all of them.

Feel free to ask all around the forum here if you need help with anything. You're a great artist, keep going !

Edit: Just thought about a local artist here that literally blew up after becoming viral for his guitar improvs and one-man-band videos - David MeShow. He's now pushing his original content.
 
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Arun Siva

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please come play in norway. the music scene is getting bigger and bigger now. I have a friend that coordinates Rock in Rio too both in Lisbon and in Rio.
 
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SamRussell

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Welcome to the forum, Sam !
Excellent song structure, I love the riffs vibe overall and the emotions in your solos.

I know it's all original compositions, but have you ever thought upping your YouTube presence with covers of existing songs "made your way" ? I know some guys like Cole Rolland (contact@colerolland.com) and Erock331 (shredguitareric@gmail.com) are kicking a$$ doing just that.

You could try contacting Frog Leap Studios (Leo Moracchioli - frogleapstudios@gmail.com - Frog Leap Studios) who's also big on YouTube (2.9m subs). He could perhaps provide you tips on growing your online presence as an independant artist. He started doing live shows last year I think, and grew his audience exponentially after steady uploads for a few years.

They all have different styles, but the marketing, branding and growing parts can all be applied to your own business! They're also really friendly, all of them.

Feel free to ask all around the forum here if you need help with anything. You're a great artist, keep going !

Edit: Just thought about a local artist here that literally blew up after becoming viral for his guitar improvs and one-man-band videos - David MeShow. He's now pushing his original content.
I'll look into those - thanks Jeff!

From what I've read on online marketing (from people like Russell Brunson), the idea is you have to build a distribution channel you can then feed your product too. I'm building Instagram, my blog and Facebook at the moment. I've been a bit patchy with uploading to YouTube.

With the YouTube covers, I'm not sure the audience necessarily crosses over to people buying original music. But I am open to being corrected on that!
 
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SamRussell

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please come play in norway. the music scene is getting bigger and bigger now. I have a friend that coordinates Rock in Rio too both in Lisbon and in Rio.
I'd love to play those places! That sounds like a cool friend to have!
 

MJ DeMarco

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Welcome Sam, appreciate the intro!

I'm a musician, and more specifically, an electric guitarist playing heavy metal and classical crossover.
Oooh, love it. Every so often our local Symphony does Led Zeppelin.
 

Raoul Duke

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There’s a podcast on superfastbusiness.com where James Shramko speaks to a bass guitarist who’s got a big subscription site for lessons. Not sure if that helps.
Louis C.K. did something similar. His show "Live at the Beacon Theater". He did all of the production, etc. Sold the show for $5. Controlled pretty much everything.

LouisCK.net | News | A Statement From Louis C.K.
 

Davejemmolly

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Not sure whether this is viable, but given more and more advertising is short video based (Facebook / Instagram) is there a way to create free / affordable 30 second instrumental soundtracks for this use?

With an open license style arrangement, this should pull large amounts of traffic to your site, and hopefully expose more people to your music.

More exposure = more sales (hopefully)
 

Arun Siva

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Controlled pretty much everything.
This. Hit the nail on the head bro.
The control is what plagues the music industry (in all entertainment industries this is an issue but especially for musicians due to the logistics and high costs of entry). If you can control the show, then at least you know where you stand financial wise. Also, you will be more in tune with our fans and followers etc.
 

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ShieldMaiden

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Hail Sam, I feel your pain. I've been in punk, metal, and some weird bands over the years. It took me a long time to get back control of my life which I'm still working on. I'm still reading FASTLANE, but the part that sticks in my head most is creating value for others. Pursuing music has minimized me to living in my rusted out van so I don't have answers for you. I love Metal and your recorded tracks sound Pro! Metalheads are loyal so if you can make people feel a part of what you're doing they will probably buy shirts or band merch.
 
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SamRussell

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Welcome Sam, appreciate the intro!



Oooh, love it. Every so often our local Symphony does Led Zeppelin.
thanks MJ!

Wow, that sounds like a great night out!
 
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SamRussell

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Louis C.K. did something similar. His show "Live at the Beacon Theater". He did all of the production, etc. Sold the show for $5. Controlled pretty much everything.

LouisCK.net | News | A Statement From Louis C.K.
That's cool - Joe Bonamassa has done this but on a huge scale. He teamed up with 2 guys to run merch and business, and is making an absolute killing at the moment.

This. Hit the nail on the head bro.
The control is what plagues the music industry (in all entertainment industries this is an issue but especially for musicians due to the logistics and high costs of entry). If you can control the show, then at least you know where you stand financial wise. Also, you will be more in tune with our fans and followers etc.
Completely agree. Most signed bands don't realise they don't own their music, that they are working for a specialist VC company who has control.

The one advantage I have is that I control everything.
 
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SamRussell

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Hail Sam, I feel your pain. I've been in punk, metal, and some weird bands over the years. It took me a long time to get back control of my life which I'm still working on. I'm still reading FASTLANE, but the part that sticks in my head most is creating value for others. Pursuing music has minimized me to living in my rusted out van so I don't have answers for you. I love Metal and your recorded tracks sound Pro! Metalheads are loyal so if you can make people feel a part of what you're doing they will probably buy shirts or band merch.
Thanks ShieldMaiden!

Totally agree with value and loyalty!

I'm currently working on creating value through light entertainment with words - doing a daily email that has a light hearted a fun story, with a short sentence at the end promoting one of my products.

Sucks to hear you are living out of your van. Feel free to send me a message if you want to talk music stuff - I've got a pretty good list of what doesn't work and things to avoid now!
 

amp0193

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You've produced a high quality album (the tracks you shared are great).

What about helping people do the same? You obviously know some talent that you could rely on as contractors.

Become a producer for other people?
 

GPM

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I am going to be following your journey! While I don't listen to nearly as much metal as I used to, that is still my favorite thing to play on the guitar.

I wish you all the success in your journey and can't wait to hear great things.

Just watched a few videos of you on youtube. Great work on jamming with Steve Vai! He was a serious obsession of mine like 15 years ago when I was more into playing and was a crazy teenager. I would love to hear the story behind this!
 
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SamRussell

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You've produced a high quality album (the tracks you shared are great).

What about helping people do the same? You obviously know some talent that you could rely on as contractors.

Become a producer for other people?
Haha, thanks man, but the reason it's high quality is because I knew I couldn't produce it, and I hired a producer to work with!

So it's not a skill that I have
 
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SamRussell

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I am going to be following your journey! While I don't listen to nearly as much metal as I used to, that is still my favorite thing to play on the guitar.

I wish you all the success in your journey and can't wait to hear great things.

Just watched a few videos of you on youtube. Great work on jamming with Steve Vai! He was a serious obsession of mine like 15 years ago when I was more into playing and was a crazy teenager. I would love to hear the story behind this!
Thanks man, it's appreciated!

That story is here: Playing with Steve Vai - Sam Russell Blog

Short answer: he ran an event in America that I flew to!
 
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