Posted tagged ‘funding’

Where Has All The Funding Gone?

October 20, 2010

Funding is fading! At least that’s what it feels like.

Funding for the arts has always paled in comparison to funding for other things; but I’ve noticed even more of a decline in the last year. I especially can’t believe how many “sorry our budget is much smaller this year” conversations I’ve had in the last few months.  I’m finding that I have to be more creative and sometimes less creative (read on, you’ll see what I mean) to get paid gigs.

Here’s one of those less creative options.  Sometimes we get not because we ask not. I’ve found that when I’m asked to do a pro-bono weekend gig, it’s not always possible. Just like for a waiter or waitress, Fridays and Saturdays are the best gig times – more customers (audience), more tips (sales).  This post was pretty popular when we put it up over a year ago. Check it out:  Money: Ask and You Shall Recieve…Sometimes.

It’s weird how this works, but the more options you have, the more money you make.  Having more options guarantees that there’s an alternative for the hard-to-please customer and that you can always do bundle discounts for folks who choose to buy both albums (a perk that really does work). More often than not they’ll by both if its a good deal.

House shows will make you solid fans and they will also give you an intimate venue where you don’t have to split the cover with a doorman. Read this post for more details: What Are Your Thoughts on House Shows?

Brainstorm some unconventional ways to do what you do.  Chances are, if everyone is doing it, there’s less money in it. Think of your ideas like inventions. If you create something that’s completely unique, you can patent it, put it on the market and make 100% of the profits.

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An Interview With Brianna Lane

April 15, 2009
Brianna Lane

Brianna Lane

Folk/Americana artist Brianna Lane is an independent musician based out of Minneapolis, MN.  She’s the author of three self-released, full-length albums and tours full time.  She’s opened for several National touring acts including Dar Williams and The Weepies.

Brianna is one of the few artist I know who has had success with acquiring patrons (i.e. individuals and organization who fund her music financially).  Check out what she has to say about promoting your music, touring, and getting financial support.

1.) What do you think is the single most important thing an artist should do to promote themselves better? 

Networking is key.  Weather it be through MySpace, Facebook, Twitter or the like, reaching out to fans, friends, and other folks in the industry is essential. Some people are very talented at promoting themselves out in public at live shows as well.  It’s important to know your comfort levels in self promotion because if you present yourself honestly and genuinely you are more likely to receive positive feedback. Be open to new ways of networking and try to be aware of how others like to communicate.  I find that it’s helpful to network with other musicians via MySpace but Facebook is better for connecting with some fans on a more personal level.  Twitter is still kind of lost on me but I know that people like it and use it so I’m learning to do the same.


2.) The biggest frustration among most independent artists is finding the money to produce their music and fund tours, promotion, etc.  You’ve had some luck in finding patrons (i.e. people to sponsor you financially).  How did you go about doing this? 

I must say that a lot of it comes down to luck. Although, the more time I spend touring the more people I meet and the more people I meet the more opportunities there are to find people who are passionate about the arts and willing to fund artistic endeavours. 

3.) Do you find people are generally willing to give you money?  And do you eventually pay it back?

I do have a few personal loans with fan-friends (people who I have met through my shows who have since become friends of mine). Sometimes I’ll work in trade and write songs for folks or place their names in my liner notes. I have witnessed a lot of generosity over the years that I have spent on the road.  When people hear that I am living my passion and making music a way of life they are open to supporting me in many different ways, sometimes financially.

4.) You’ve had a chance to open for national touring artists like Dar Williams and The Weepies to name a few. How do these huge opportunities come around? 

The first two dates that I did with Dar came along because I knew someone who worked for her managements company at the time. They needed an area songwriter that they could trust to do the job as the opener.  Truly a dream to open for her- and on the same stage where I first saw her play ten years earlier!  Also, I knew Deb Talan (one half of The Weepies) before opening for them and we talked about sharing shows for years before it actually happened.  Through nurtured connections with either venues, promoters, or artist, opportunities arise that are hard to pass up.  It’s astounding, humbling, and inspiring to play with talented musicians. I am very grateful.
5. )From your website, it looks like you have a General Booking Agent and a College Booking Agent.  At what point did your schedule pick up to the point that you could hire people to handle your booking? 
I still handle the majority of my booking although I’ve hired others to take the reigns from time to time.  Since being an independent musician is more than a full time job it’s important to find good help whenever you think you need it.


I should close by saying that this message is sponsored in part by Paul Loyd…he’s just this guy. 

Brianna Lane Online:


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