Film Music Composing – Ten Tips for Starting Up In Business

  1. Register as self-employed no later than 3 months after you’ve made money from a music commission or track sale.
  2. Decide whether you’ll trade under your own name or under a company name (for a corporate image).
  3. Sign up with PRS and MCPS as soon as any of your music has been broadcast, or screened in a festival.  Even if your film is shown online, you never know if there are some royalties floating around from blanket music licenses.
  4. Don’t give up. You probably aren’t in it for the money, but there’s money to be made.  Just be persistant.  If you’re in it for the long haul and you have a smidgeon of talent you’ll make it eventually.
  5. Make sure your kit is reliable – it does not need to be top of the range but does need to be functional.  Make sure it won’t let you down at the eleventh hour.
  6. Invest in your business when you have the money; don’t borrow yourself needlessly into debt just to get the latest kit.
  7. Work from home – this saves massively on overheads.  No office or studio rent, extra phone line, utility bills.
  8. Get yourself a website – no need to be fancy or flashy. Just the basics about you and your music and how to get in touch. Get your music online. You can always tweak it and/or upgrade it later.
  9. Get yourself business cards and always carry them – the logo doesn’t matter, don’t worry about fancy art, just include your name, your company name if you have one, telephone number, mobile number, email address and website.
  10. Tell everyone! Simple word-of-mouth marketing is free, and worth it’s weight in gold. For example, you can include your new music business information in your signature in every email you send.
Just a few points for starting up in the film music business… quite a few of which I wish someone had shared me when I started out… 😉

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