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How To Make A Living with Music feat. Benn Jordan (The Flashbulb)

A lot of artists and producers want to know how to make a living with music, and Benn Jordan (AKA The Flashbulb) has done exactly that. He has 145,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, 70,000 subscribers on YouTube, has been signed, toured, made music for TV & Film and also made music for commercials. In this video I got to pick his brain on how he did it and what advice he’d give other people who want to do it to.

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Important Points:

  • Benn talks about why you should turn down bad deals if they are not profitable and at the same time won’t even advance your career but focus on opportunities that make more sense for you instead.
  • Andrew and Benn talk about why you don’t necessarily need a college degree in music to make a living in the music industry and ways to earn money as an artist besides your releases, from teaching to coaching to producing sample packs or monetizing your YouTube channel.
  • Benn discusses why looking for a get famous or get rich quick scheme won’t get you far as an artist since you couldn’t pick a worse industry to do it in. Being passionate about your music and being consistent might take a bit longer but can lead to a sustainable career in the music business.
  • Benn shares how standing up for your value as an artist and turning down unpaid gigs in exchange for exposure, can lead you to be placed right before the headliner and even get paid more.

Podcast Outline:

[03:18] How Benn got into music – Benn

[04:54] Benn’s first drum machine – Benn

[05:43] How Benn started composing music for ads and TV – Benn

[07:47] Composing music for computer games – Benn

[10:02] Film scoring vs. composing for advertising – Benn

[12:00] Why breaks are important in mixing and mastering sessions – Andrew

[13:09] How open or semi-open headphones can help you to work longer – Benn & Andrew

[15:02] How Benn got his name out there by touring – Benn

[15:40] Why you should not always perform for free in exchange of exposure – Benn

[17:43] “I don’t take shitty deals!” – Benn

[17:58] Why Benn turned down an offer to perform at Coachella – Benn

[20:20] Touring with Dillinger Escape Plan – Benn

[25:18]  The challenges of performing in clubs or festivals – Benn

[27:39] Why labels became irrelevant for independent artists – Benn

[28:43] How online lables work – Andrew & Benn

[34:12] How you can get more people to hear your music – Benn

[38 :23] How music curation doesn’t work for all genres – Benn & Andrew

[40:43] The downside of Tune Core – Andrew

[44:20] How to generate income apart from music sales – Andrew

[46:43] Why you don’t necessarily need a college music education to make a living as a musician – Benn & Andrew

[56:31] Benn’s approach to growing his YouTube channel – Benn

[01:03:26] YouTube’s algorithm – Andrew & Benn

[01:04:58] Video editing hacks to work faster and more efficient – Andrew & Benn

[01:22:32] How to deal with money when you are trying to run a successful business – Andrew & Benn

Wise Words:  

[09:26] “I liked how it felt like bootcamp because you would get a lot of jobs. They’d have really crazy turnaround times and they’d be like, Oh, we need a 1920s swing turning into blazing guitar solos and then turning into hip hop for the ending and it all has to be on cue. And we need this within 24 hours.“ – Benn

[10:02] “Film score takes six months and like, I don’t wanna work on somebody else’s project for that long unless I’m being like, really, really paid well for it. And advertising, it’s just quicker, it’s outta your hair and then you get to work on whatever you want.“ – Benn

[11:01] “In a weird way, yeah, the selling out kind of allowed me to be more artistic (with my music)“ – Benn

[15:40] “Most artists have this like understanding that like, they’re gonna have to play for free to get their name out and they’re gonna have to do this. And I would just be like, No, I’m not doing it. And, you know, and nine times outta 10, they’d be like, Well, then he’s not playing. But I felt like one time outta 10, somebody would be like, Oh, this guy knows his value. He’s probably really good. We’ll put him on right before the headliner, you know, and we’ll give him $200  “ – Benn

[35:19] “Jumping into music professionally as a strategy to make money or to be famous is, is a very bad gamble. Like, it’s just not a good thing. Jumping into music because you love making music is an obvious choice“ – Benn

Resources Mentioned:

  • Benn Jordan YouTube Channel – link
  • The Flashbulb Music – link

Learn More:

If you enjoyed this interview you might also like this one I did with Jesse Cannon (Musformation) about how record labels market music, Facebook ads vs other music marketing methods and how indie artists can grow their fanbase.

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Jesse Cannon Interview