Music Business Plan For Artist

If you’re an artist or band thinking about releasing your first album, the first thing that comes to mind is getting it done. You want to record it, mix it and master it as soon as possible so that you can get out there and promote yourself. But before you even think about recording anything, there are some basics that need to be in place. A well-written business plan will help ensure your success.

In this guide, we review the aspects of business model for musicians, 5 year plan for musicians, and how to write a business plan for music artist.

business model for musicians

If you’re an artist or band looking to release your first album, the first thing that comes to mind is getting it done. You want to record it, mix it and master it as soon as possible so that you can get out there and promote yourself. But before you even think about recording anything, there are some basics that need to be in place:

In 2003, I started coaching music business students at UCLA, and I’ve continued working with students at the Herb Alpert School of Music for the last 8 years. During that time, I’ve been asked a variety of questions about how to succeed in the music industry, and I’ve also had an opportunity to see what works (and doesn’t work) in the real world.

In 2003, I started coaching music business students at UCLA, and I’ve continued working with students at the Herb Alpert School of Music for the last 8 years. During that time, I’ve been asked a variety of questions about how to succeed in the music industry, and I’ve also had an opportunity to see what works (and doesn’t work) in the real world.

When it comes down to it, there are really only two sides of this equation: You and your audience. If you can figure out how to make an impact on them with what you do or create—whether that’s through your own original music or someone else’s—then they’ll be drawn toward you and want more from you. The more impactful your work is on an audience (whether positive or negative), then more opportunities will open up for you as well.

I’m going to lay out some basic principles here which will help guide everything else we discuss later on:

Thinking through what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it will increase your chances of success significantly. You’ll need a plan if you want investors to invest or banks to lend. You can (and should) write your business plan yourself–this is your business and you know it better than anyone else.

  • Know where you are going
  • Know what you are going to do
  • Know how to get there

It’s important to have this information before you even consider recording an album because it will inform every decision you will make from there on. If you want your project to be successful, knowing these things first is absolutely critical.

Knowing who you are and what you do is critical for any business. If you already have a brand, then this is easy because it’s already built into your marketing plan. But if you don’t have one yet or if there are multiple artists on the team, then it can be helpful to get everyone together and discuss in detail who they are as an artist and why people should listen to them.

For example: Let’s say we have a band called The Good Boys that plays punk rock music with a classic rock influence (think Foo Fighters). We know that our target audience would be people between 18-30 years old who like Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc., but also want something new and exciting. Now we need to figure out how they find out about us—the next step in the process!

Your Competitive Advantage

Your competitive advantage is the special quality, feature or benefit that makes your project unique and will compel people to choose you over others. In other words, it’s what sets you apart from the crowd and makes you stand out—and it’s what will make you successful.

It can be something as simple as an amazing voice or a particular talent for writing songs. It might be the fact that your project has been in development for years, meaning you have an extensive backlog of material ready to go whenever someone wants something new from your team. Or perhaps it’s because there aren’t many people out there doing what your project does; other artists haven’t yet tapped into whatever niche market you’re exploring with this particular venture.

Whatever form it takes, a competitive advantage is essential for any artist looking to make money off their music—and it should be at the heart of any good business plan.

Find out what makes them different from other similar businesses, and how that difference helps them succeed in their marketplace. Then think about how your difference will help you beat out the competition and convince people why they should choose you over someone else.

It’s important to find out what makes you different from other similar businesses, and how that difference helps you succeed in your marketplace. Then think about how your difference will help you beat out the competition and convince people why they should choose you over someone else.

For example, if your business is selling music lessons for guitarists, then it would be helpful to ask yourself what makes it special or unique as compared with other guitar teachers in town who also offer lessons (and maybe even charge less). Perhaps the thing that makes your business stand out is its long history of providing quality lessons to students. Or maybe its experienced staff members are especially devoted to teaching students individually instead of grouping them together into large classes like other schools do (which may not be ideal for a younger student or an older adult learner). If so, then this fact can be used as part of your marketing pitch: “Come learn with us because we’ve been around longer than any competitor; we know how best to teach each student; our instructors are highly qualified.”

5 year plan for musicians

Turn your music visions into a reality. Learn how you can set up your five year plan to conquer your music goals sooner rather than later.


The vision of where you see yourself in 5-10 years may feel like a lifetime away, but we’re here to show you that it isn’t. Setting attainable goals and establishing a gameplan for yourself and your career can dissolve feelings of longing and restlessness, and in turn, will start turning your visions into a reality sooner rather than later. You owe it to yourself to make the most of your time on Earth and to feel like you’ve fulfilled your purpose. There will be ups and downs, and there may be goals you don’t accomplish – but you can feel satisfied in knowing you tried your hardest.

Writing your goals down not only forces you to get clear on what, exactly, it is that you want to accomplish, but doing so plays a part in motivating you to complete the tasks necessary for your success. In fact, you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down or create a vision board.

The fact of the matter is, big dreams take time to accomplish. Establishing a 5-year plan for accomplishing your goals helps frame your vision to a realistic timeline, leading to better goal success. We’ve come up with five key ways you can break down your long term goals into more manageable steps. Let’s delay no longer.


1. Write Down All of Your Goals

This may seem obvious, but it’s an essential first step. Writing down your goals is scientifically proven to help with long term memory, encoding, and external storage. Neuropsychologists call this the Generation Effect, finding that people have a better recall for information that they’ve created themselves rather than something they’ve read. Keep it old school and grab a piece of paper and a pen, and jot down every. single. goal and accomplishment you’d like to achieve in five years. Taking the time to write down each letter of every goal can help with mindfulness, and give you more time to think about the weight of each goal.

2. Break Down Goals into Yearly & Monthly Objectives

Five years can seem intimidating, especially when you haven’t even established what your game plan is for next week (or even tomorrow). The best thing you can do is to break down the goals you’ve written down into yearly objectives. If you have a goal that is extremely grandeur, write out a draft as to what it may take to actually conquer that goal. If you break down your goals into steps, it’s easier to establish realistic timelines for yourself.

For example, if your goal is to eventually publish your music, brainstorm all of the things you’d need to do over a monthly or yearly time span. It may be to increase your collaborations, distribute your music, or connect with music professionals for mentorships. Another goal example, especially if you’re just starting out, could be to establish your beat store business strategy. Think of everything you need to do to make that goal a reality, such as building out your beat store with the BeatStars Pro Page, set up your marketing integrations, or researching different marketing and business strategies to help increase your buyers.

3. Break Down Goals into Weekly & Daily Objectives

Once you determine your yearly and monthly strategies, you can start to map backward. Look at your long-term yearly and monthly goals and outline weekly and daily steps you can take to start conquering those goals. This can be as simple as making a beat a week or setting aside 30 minutes every day to reach out to other producers for collaboration inquiries. Once you determine those smaller strategies to reach your overarching goal, slot it into your phone calendar and set reminders! Writing down and establishing these smaller steps is one thing, but actually implementing them is another.

4. Use the SMART Goal Strategy

Marketers and business professionals are no strangers to the SMART goal strategy. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Structuring your goals using this method can help guide your goal setting, focus your efforts, and increase your chances of conquering that goal. To help you get started with your first SMART goal outline, peep our example to the right.

5. Do Your Research

Avoid blindly writing down a goal without knowing all of the bits and pieces that ultimately make up that goal’s end. If you want to eventually become a published producer, but have zero knowledge about the world of music publishing, then it will be hard to write out actionable steps to achieve that dream. Knowledge is always at your fingertips. Research different facets that make up your end goal while you’re waiting in line or attempting to fall asleep at night. The more knowledge you have about your end goal, the better equipped you’ll be to actually accomplish it.

how to write a business plan for music artist

Making a living in the music business is the ultimate dream of every serious musician. But out of the countless individuals with a passion for music, only a select few will make a profitable business out of it. That doesn’t mean reaching your goals is impossible. If you want to earn reliable income from your music career, you need to treat it like any other business. That means making a detailed blueprint that will take you from passionate hobbyist to successful professional. This step-by-step guide to developing a music business plan will set you on the right path.

Why you need a music business plan

Whether your goal is to have a career as a professional musician, recording artist, producer, or music teacher, documenting the path you’ll take with a music business plan will be helpful to your cause. Your business plan outlines your goals, identifies the practical methods you’ll take to achieve them, and lists the resources you have and will need.

Not only will a concrete business plan keep you on course, it will also demonstrate your credibility in the eyes of others. Potential clients and business partners will see you as a professional and not another starving artist. If you ever need to take out a business loan or raise money for investors, a business plan is a must-have.

Crafting your music business plan isn’t something you can do in one sitting. You’ll need more than an afternoon to get this right. Take your time, bite off piece-by-piece, and chew your thoughts over thoroughly.

Where to start

Our first piece of advice is as old as time: know thyself.

You need some clarity of purpose before you can craft a useful music business plan. Ask yourself:

Having this understanding will make it easier for you to explain your vision to others and convey your enthusiasm. It will also establish the framework for your music business. This step is crucial if you’ll need people to buy in to help you reach your goals.

The main components of a music business plan

The content of your music business plan will vary depending upon whether you’re aiming to start a music school, be a producer, or work as an artist. But the fundamental components are the same either way. Here’s what you’ll need:

Let’s look at each of these in turn.

Mission Statement:

This can be as short as a few sentences, as long as it adequately describes who you are as an artist or a musical entrepreneur and what you’re trying to accomplish. While this might sound simple, think things through a bit before you try to draft your statement. Everything that follows here will hinge upon it.

Executive Summary:

The executive summary is a one-page synopsis of your plan. It should include an introduction as well as a description of your endeavors. Details about the funding you already have and what you’ll need in addition to a brief accounting of your plans for putting all of it into play are important too.

Most experts recommend saving the drafting of this part for last. It’s essentially a digest of all the other parts of your plan. Doing it last allows you to draw upon the information you’ve drafted for all of the other steps.

Audience Analysis:

Here’s where you’ll demonstrate your understanding of your target audience. If you’re already performing, teaching, or producing on the side, think about what traits the people who follow you have in common.

If you’re just getting started, find someone doing what you want to do whose style and circumstances are similar to yours, and analyze their target market. Create a demographic sketch of your target audience based on gender, age, location, musical tastes and favorite venues.

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats:

Think about the qualities that make you unique. List everything that comes to mind, from technical mastery and creative spark to teaching older demographics and networking. Your skills might not seem extraordinary on an individual level, but combine all your best qualities and you’ll find there isn’t anyone quite like you on the market.

Don’t forget about your weaknesses. Identity these not as qualities to promote, but as areas to work on in the future. Being aware of your shortcomings will also help guide your decision on potential business partners in the future. Let your inner critic loose, but realize that this is an exercise in personal growth, not tearing yourself down.

Had enough reflecting? Let’s take a look at the marketplace. Think about potential gaps in the industry you can exploit. Perhaps your competitors are overlooking a key value and you see a way to provide it both efficiently and effectively. These are your opportunities.

Threats could include technological shifts, cultural changes, the emergence of new artists, competition, and new trends. The music world moves fast, and today’s hot act can end up as yesterday’s news before your can say “more cowbell!” Brainstorm any roadblocks you picture yourself facing over the next few years and strategies you can use to overcome them.

Marketing plan:

Your marketing plan will detail how you’ll spread the word about yourself. Consider how much money you can reasonably invest into marketing and work out how you’ll spend it to reach as many of the right people as possible. Think about how you’ll grow your online presence—including social media, a press kit, and publicity materials such as a logo and photography.


Get a full account of your current cash flow situation. List how much capital you currently have and estimate how much it’ll take to get your operation up and running. When in doubt, overestimate. Studio time, engineering talent, transportation, legal fee, copyrights and trademarks are all important considerations when projecting your budget.

Measuring your progress:

At what intervals will you go over the financials to see how you’re advancing? What are the milestones by which you’ll mark your achievements?

You’ll also need a method for measuring your impact on the market in terms of the reputation you build. Social media outlets provide analytical tools to help you track these metrics. They can also help you pinpoint the demographics of your audience.

Establishing your key performance indicators (KPIs) can help you set the standards by which you will gauge your success. Sharing this information with others makes you accountable because they can look at your projections and see how much progress you’ve made toward achieving them.

Summarizing your music business plan

As we mentioned above, once you have all of these areas covered, you can then condense the information each section contains to create your executive summary. After all, how will you know what to put in it until you’ve examined all of these other areas first?

The importance of multiple income streams

Success in the music industry takes a lot of work and a little luck, but you can stack the deck in your favor by building multiple income streams. That way, if one area slows down, you’ll have another one in play to keep you rolling until the next opportunity presents itself. Revisit your strengths and opportunities and start brainstorming ideas. If you get stuck, here’s a quick list to get you started:

Give music lessons. Chances are if you’ve got the chops to play paid gigs, you’ve got enough skills to pass on to some novice students. Giving music lessons can be a great way to add some extra recurring income.

Start a YouTube channel. With over 2 billion active users, YouTube might just be your biggest source of untapped attention and potential.1 The platform offers users a chance to learn or be entertained, and as a musician you’re well-positioned to offer both. You could upload instructional videos or footage of yourself performing. You’ll get to keep a portion of any ad revenue your videos make. And if the right person sees your content, it could open the doors to even greater opportunities.

Explore the marketing world. If composition is your thing, you might be overlooking a potentially huge money-maker—marketing and advertising. Brands are in constant need of good video content to market their products, and those videos need music to truly capture attention. If you’ve got a knack for putting together atmospheric instrumentals, creating music for ads could seriously help stabilize your income.

Open your own studio. If you have the capital to invest and live in an area underserved by recording studios, you might want to consider opening your own. While you’re not using it for your own projects, you can rent it out to other local musicians and producers. If there’s enough demand, you could cover the costs of equipment and rent and even have a little profit left over.

Explore session work. Sure, your band is your baby, but if you’ve got time on your hands and musical versatility to boot, why not offer your services as a session musician? Session work is an effective way to boost your income, make new connections and get your name out there as a legit professional. If an artist is truly enamoured with your work, they could invite you to join them on tour.

Another important consideration in your music business plan is protecting your livelihood from the consequences of unintentional accidents. General liability insurance is key to helping you stay focused on your business. Carrying a policy also demonstrates to potential clients that you are a serious professional — whether you’re a musician, DJ, or another kind of entrepreneur in the entertainment industry.

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