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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Many ways for a regular person to make money in music.

You don't even have to know how to read notes to make money in music, but if you do, all the better.  In this quick post, I'll throw out some old and new ideas.  New technology brings new ways to make money.

One tried and true way to make some extra cash in music is to give lessons.  If you sing or play, don't get down on your abilities.   Do perform some research so that you're not teaching your students bad habits, but then just go for it.  Teach the little buggers as much as you can and graduate them on to another teacher who can take them to the next level.  I'm sure some parents are snooty and expect you to have at least one platinum album out, but others are just trying to introduce their children to new things.  If you are concerned about your ability, only offer beginner lessons and practice up so you can be the best beginner teacher out there.

Suppose you don't even know how to read notes, but you like to tinker on a guitar or the piano.  Can you make up a tune in your head?  Could you write a jingle for a commercial?  Could you play some ambient background music for people to use in their YouTube videos?   

There are many websites that are always looking for new musical content.   Here's one:   Now, perhaps you noticed the word "free" in there and you're wondering how you're going to make any money at this.   If you check out the site, you'll see that artists must offer some of their songs for free, but they can also sell others.  If you're smart, you'll put some teaser work out there for the free stuff and save your best sound tracks for paying customers.   Of course, if you can produce some quality content, you can pound the pavement and sell your tracks directly to end users.  The hosting website method is just a quick easy way to get started.

If you are good at making up a tune on the fly, consider offering your services to video production studios.  With YouTube getting so popular, there are many small time producers that do not have the ability to produce sound tracks that custom fit their videos.  It's kinda like the old days again where someone would play on the piano at the theater to go along with the silent movie.  

Of course you could also produce your own videos, and the corresponding music.   Working up a YouTube partner channel will be the subject of another blog entry, but good music can certainly help your video endeavors. 

I'm not good enough to sell my music, but I do make background sound tracks to use in my own YouTube videos.  Here's a quick view into the process:

And then if you care to see the "how to" video where I used the sound track:

Here's another great link to give you more information on this topic:

What ideas can you think of to make money doing music?   Please leave comments below!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Why pay to exercise somewhere when you can make money exercising?

I really don't get the appeal of a treadmill or fake bike in a gym.  Wow, how boring can you get?  OK, the gym is in A/C, but even in Texas in August where the highs are 104 plus, at 7am it's pretty nice outside.  As it turns out, 7 to 8 am is a perfect time to hunt for treasure in parking lots.  There aren't any cars in the rows. Monday morning, in particular, is a great time to search the parking lot of a busy mall or weekend venue.

Now, honestly, the odds of finding any real cash are too low to justify this activity solely on the premise of making money.  But, there's always the potential of scoring a gold tennis bracelet or a signed portrait of John Wayne.  The trick is to cover a lot of ground fast, and to be able to quickly inspect and retrieve found items.   The best way I've found to do this is on roller blades.

Roller blades are great because they give you the option to get between parking lots quickly, and to slow it down when searching back and forth across the parking rows.  There's no blockage to your visibility and with a little practice you can pick stuff up without even stopping.  

After a busy weekend, you can find more stuff roller blading than by metal detecting because you can cover so much ground and you don't have to stop to dig.   Although I have yet to search a grass parking lot with a metal detector after a large event scenario, I'm guessing you won't find as much stuff as I did in an hour in the video above.   I will try the grass lot/metal detector next and offer data on items found per hour as compared to a roller blade/parking lot search.  Stay tuned, but for now my preferred treasure hunting technique is on wheels.