Billboard Latin Week: 5 ways to make money from your music

Are you starting to publish your music and not sure how to monetize it? Or are you an emerging artist who’s already beginning to be heard in Europe and has been touring for some time? Whether you’re just starting out or you think you know everything about the music industry, don’t miss these tips from five Latin music leaders on how to make money from your work right away. 

They are Cris Falcão, managing editor at Ingrooves Music Group, Brazil; Edgar Martinez, senior VP of Entertainment at Loud And Live; Omar Paredes, associate director of industry relations at SoundExchange; Horacio Rodriguez, CEO of WK Records and head of music for WK Entertainment; and Emilio Morales, publishing director at Rimas Publishing. Together they participated on Monday (Sept. 26) in a panel of Billboard’s Latin Music Week moderated by Leila Cobo in which, for the most part, they agreed all that you should educate yourself well about the business although music comes first. 

Here are the five most relevant points: 

Publishing: Unless you are a very local artist and your genre and scope are limited to your environment, once your music starts playing beyond your borders you should ideally hire the services of a publisher, says Morales. A publisher will help you maximize the collection of money and get international royalties faster, something that would otherwise be very difficult, he says. “It’s a very technical and complicated administrative job and a largely unknown area in this industry.” 

SoundExchange: A publisher will help you get the royalties from your music if you are the composer, but if you’re only the performer, SoundExchange will be your best ally. The nonprofit collective rights management organization collects money for the singer from non-interactive radio services like SiriusXM, and not just in the United States, Paredes said. SoundExchange helps record labels and publishers run their businesses better. It collects digital royalties on behalf of labels large and small and allows them to claim and track their music catalog. 

An advance: A record label will give emerging artists a cash advance so that they can support themselves while they develop their craft, adds Rodriguez. The label will be your partner for a long time and you need the business to always look good and be healthy for the company to keep investing in you.

Touring: Touring usually comes later and artists should know the appropriate size of their tour and their venues at any given moment in their career. Not everyone can fill the American Airlines Arena, says Martinez, but by studying the artist and scope, the right tour can be defined in order to get the most out of it. 

Hidden money: There are many opportunities in the industry to make additional money. Beyond sponsors or the typical merchandise, Martinez sees a source of income yet to be exploited in unique experiences like sound-checks, backstage tours or going on stage with the artist. “It is money that is not necessarily being exploited right now and there’s a real interest in this type of experience.” 

An additional tip per panelist: 

Cris Falcão: Don’t follow the numbers. Follow your heart, and the numbers will follow. 

Edgar Martinez: In my case, follow the numbers (laughs.) Actually, I think that the most important thing to be a touring artist is to focus on creating music, on really being different, unique. That’s what really makes an audience follow you for 20, 30 years. 

Omar Paredes: I am a huge advocate of the art… but also research, learn, constantly evolve, stay up to date. Work on your craft, but keep your eyes in the business as well. 

Emilio Morales: Work as a team from the beginning. No one wins a championship alone, you have to fight as a team. 

Horacio Rodriguez: Artist, producer and manager have to learn every line of income in the business, know where the money comes from, delegate, trust and work as a team. At the same time, above all, music comes first, always.