OK GO’s Damian Kulash on how to make it in the music business

OK GO Sheet Music
OK GO Sheet Music

OK GO’s Damian Kulash Jr has written a phenomenal piece in the WALL STREET JOURNAL that talks about the NEW ROCK STAR PARADIGM.

In th earticle, he explains that the old method of signing a contract with a record label is no longer the only way for a band or an artist to make a living at making music.

He talks about how OK GO is working directly with sponsors to help fund various projects – such as using State Farm’s money to help create and film the giant Rube Goldberg contraption for their video… all for a brief “thanks” message at the end of the video.

The Who Sell Out?  Not so much anymore.  Everyone seems to be doing it, as that’s where the money is.  Well, that — and iTunes. It’s really a great piece from the artist’s point of view and worth reading.

But it were the bonus tips included at the end of the article that you may find helpful as well.  Here are some additional tips on how to make it in the music business when traditional methods of making money have started to dry up:

  • APPS might be the new albums.   Create your own iPhone or Android app and sell it.  Or make it free and just make money off of in-app advertising (hey, that worked for Angry Birds’ free Android application). 
  • Use the web to solicit money directly from the fans.  PledgeMusic, ArtistShare, Kickstarter… even PayPal.  Artists are not shy about asking their fans for some financial love.  And a true fan always pays up for music by their favorite artist, one way or another.
  • Keep making unique, engaging music videos.  From the Bed Intruder Song, to Cee Lo’s F*** YOU, to Lady Gaga, to any of OK GO’s elaborate productions — people STILL will seek out and watch music videos, despite MTV’s continued attempts to eradicate music videos from the planet.
  • Nothing wrong with a good cover song to gain street cred.  Even Neil Diamond did a cover of Adam Sandler’s The Chanukah Song.  And don’t forget any of William Shatner’s work, such as Common People.  Good covers will help fans of the original seek you out, and hopefully convert into a new fan for life.