The Compositional Drummer

The Compositional Drummer

Information for the career minded drummer and musician

Hit Song or Your Song?


I often come across writers concerned with trends and attempting to latch onto a trend to write a… Hit? As a person who has spent a considerable time in this business I encounter writers and have co-written with a writer or two again concerned with writing a… Hit?:-( or how about the occasional producer I encounter bobbing his head listening to the playback of the track uttering in my ear... "That's a hit."


Goals and aspirations are noble. There really is nothing wrong with wanting to be the best that you can be and receiving all of the accolades that come with being loved. But, if your only motivation is writing a “Hit” you need a bit of a reality check. Now believe me, music history is loaded with exceptions to what I'm about to share.  There have been times that a tune will come out and the public flocks to it like flies to… you-know-what. But “Hits” (Like Michael Jacksons 35 million seller Thriller) cost MONEY, timing and the right team of people working endlessly on behalf of the artist. So lets do the math from a real world standpoint.


Having a bit of experience in both the marketing of my own personal recordings, a wife that has spent some time at Universal Records in their Pop & Rock marketing division and a friend or two with Gold and Platinum records to their credit, I can assure you the following figures are a “Low Ball” view of reality. So here we go.


Possible expenses associated with selling a lot of records.

Publicist retention for at least a year to generate as much buzz about your record to Publications like Rolling Stone, and other magazines in an attempt to land a cover, column story or review of the music.  Approximately: $36,000.00 (12 months at $3000.00 per month)

Radio promoter or video promoter with a track record for getting music played on major music networks: Approximately $24,000.00 (12 months @ $2000)

Music Video done on a shoestring with DSLR’s cheap… but a Broadcast Quality one acceptable by the standards of MTV, VH1 Approximately $20,0000.00+

Regional tour in support of recording (Costs may vary depending on whether your services are retained by a promoter) Food, gas and lodging expenses assuming it’s a "load the van and go" promotional tour covering NE and SE regions for 26 Dates for the year $26,000.00. Remember, promotional tours are just that promotional. You might get paid to play or you might not. The ideal situation is doing festivals and receiving your fee for performance from the concert promoter. The latter not very likely for a new band.   

Ongoing Marketing expenses for the life of the promotion for the record (Ads in Billboard and other Music publications, Website, E-blast marketing, Telephone expenses) $26,000.00.

Total projected "Low Ball" budget $137,000.00


So what’s my point. Check your heart. What is the real reason you write? Because the easiest way to get stuck and stay stuck is to ignore the song your heart, deny the talent you are given and follow a trend in an attempt to become the next "Hit Wonder".  Resist the temptation to become a clone. The world needs more great songs and musicians to perform them, and fewer clones. As you begin to build a following with the great music you write everything else falls into place. It's a process. Like saving for a house or car. You need a plan to promote your music and as you grow to the next level you spend a little more climbing higher and higher each time until your piece of the pie gets bigger. 



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