How I Made 20 Bucks

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comIf anyone was wondering how well the music business is doing, I would like to share with you how I made my last $20. 

The direct ACH deposit was to pay you:
$4.56 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through CD Baby Publishing
$3.80 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through CD Baby Publishing
$1.27 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Apple iTunes
$1.27 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Apple iTunes
$1.27 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Apple iTunes
$1.27 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Apple iTunes
$0.83 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through CD Baby Publishing
$0.68 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through 7digital
$0.64 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Amazon MP3
$0.64 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Amazon MP3
$0.64 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Apple iTunes
$0.64 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Google Music Store
$0.64 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Apple iTunes
$0.61 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through CD Baby Publishing
$0.17 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Spotify
$0.16 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Spotify
$0.13 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Spotify
$0.07 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Spotify
$0.07 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Spotify
$0.06 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Spotify
$0.06 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Spotify
$0.06 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Spotify
$0.04 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Spotify
$0.04 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Google Music Store
$0.04 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through iTunes Match – Americas
$0.04 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Spotify
$0.04 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Spotify
$0.03 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through iTunes Match – Americas
$0.03 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Google Music Store
$0.03 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Google Music Store
$0.02 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Spotify
$0.02 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Google Music Store
$0.02 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Spotify
$0.02 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Spotify
$0.02 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Google Music Store
$0.02 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Google Music Store
$0.02 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Spotify
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through iTunes Match – Americas
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Google Locker
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through iTunes Match – Americas
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through iTunes Match – Americas
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Rumblefish
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Google Music Store
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through iTunes Match – Americas
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Google Music Store
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through iTunes Match – Americas
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through iTunes Match – Americas
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Slacker Radio
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Rdio
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through iTunes Match – Americas
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through iTunes – Apple Music – US
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through iTunes Match – Americas
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through iTunes Match – Americas
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through iTunes – Apple Music – US
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Rhapsody
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through iTunes Match – Americas
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Rhapsody
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Google Music Store
$0.01 for DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SALES through Google Music Store

My Distributor: “$20.19 was transferred to your account.”
Me: “What?! But I scrolled down this list for so long! Aren’t there enough transactions here for at least $30? Excuse me, I need to go get a business degree.”

He’s Just Not That Into You

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comWhen you’re 5 years old and you’re busy singing into your hairbrush, you never stop to think what grown-up life will look like as a musician.I’ve learned that it doesn’t look like the 5 bedroom/3 bath house with a finished basement and a pool table that you grew up with. It looks more like living in a hallway with people constantly walking past your bed to get to their room, or spending 6 months in an old motel in a town that doesn’t even have a grocery store.

It looks like turning down good paying day-jobs for less paying day-jobs, because there’s more flexibility to work on your music. It looks like a lot of things that don’t make sense and the cost, literally and figuratively, is, at times, overwhelming.And that last sentence pretty much captures how I’ve felt while house-hunting with Billy, my fiancé. (for all the romantics, the proposal story can be found here).

It’s one thing to just take care of yourself as a musician- living in the hallway doesn’t sound as bad. But it’s another thing to be married and live in the hallway-that sounds terrible! Also, add the fact that your fiancé plays drums and you teach music lessons, so there’s no way you can have shared walls with other people, which cancels out anything possibly affordable (i.e. apartments, duplexes, and town homes). Then, add on location costs to being close to one of the fastest growing, and newly popular, cities (thank you, Nashville TV show). After you add it all up, you’re left with a mind-numbing puzzle: no money, but need a house that’s subsequently unaffordable. And yeah…we’re still scratching our heads on this one too.

It seems like there’s no winning. We could live super far away, but then all our money and time would go to commuting. We could live in the ghetto, but then the mothers of my music students probably wouldn’t want to drop their kids off…so finding the happy medium is the goal.

House hunting has made me do some thinking, and when I start thinking, you never know where the analogy will lead! For now, let’s turn our attention to cats: Music sometimes seems like the cat that doesn’t love you as much as you love him. You spend so much time cuddling him, feeding him, bathing him, but he seems like he’s just not that into you. Sometimes he purrs and looks like he’s gonna cuddle you- and then he’s really just sniffing you for food. But, you still have high hopes that one day he’ll see the light, and see how worth it you are.

My hopes are that music begins to love me more than my cat does, so that maybe one day I can have a place to live. But until that day happens, I’ll keep house hunting…and keep feeding my cat.

Erica Bryan, beaverdamusa.com

The cat who’s just not that into me.

Things Musicians Wish You Would Stop Saying

erica bryan, beaverdamusa.com, behind the micThere are things that come with the territory of being a musician/artist, such as: doing many performances for “exposure” (free), having to sing about your life problems in the form of prose, eating way healthier than you ever wanted to, and…dealing with the comments of people who simply don’t understand what you’re going through.musician probzToday’s blog will center around these comments. I’m sure these people don’t mean to sound judgmental or rude, but sometimes it comes across that way.I’ve asked my fellow musicians to help me come up with a comprehensive list of things people have said to us that, well, we wish they would stop saying.

So, if you’re a musician, maybe you can commiserate with me and know that we are all going through the same thing. And, if you’re not a musician, maybe this can give you some insight into some of the things we have to deal with on a daily basis:

  • “How long are you going to try and do this before you get a real job?” I know this is crazy, but I’m actually going to “try” it….FOREVER!
  • “So, do you have a real job?” I believe your definition of “real” is different than mine.
  • “What do you MEAN you can’t play that song?!” I know it’s crazy, but my music degree didn’t have a class called, “Every Song Ever Written.”
  • “What do you MEAN you’ve never heard of [insert really random, obscure musician]” Also, I don’t know every musician that has ever walked the planet. I’m sorry to disappoint.
  • “So you’re an aspiring artist.” At a certain point, you just wish people would stop saying you’re “aspiring” when you’re actually just “doing!”
  • “You sound like Justin Bieber” The reason this is not a compliment, besides the Justin Bieber part, is that artists and bands spend years crafting their unique sound and hope to bring something original to the music world. When you tell us we sound like someone else, you’re pretty much crushing all of our hopes and dreams.
  • “Is your wife cool with you being a musician?” I feel like this is getting into personal, inappropriate territory…and yes, I’m sure she’s OK with it. Musicians are awesome.
  • “Are you making a living off of only music?” or “How much do you really make?” Somehow talking about money is a faux-pas for every other career, unless you’re addressing a musician.
  • “So music is your hobby?” Trust me, I could choose a lot less stressful and less challenging “hobbies.”
  • “You should try out for American Idol, The Voice, X-Factor, America’s Got Talent!” I take it this is the only thing you know about the music business.
  • “Sing something for me right now!” Is there money in this for me?
  • “Are you good?” Yes.
  • “My second cousin once removed foot doctor’s grandson is a big artist and plays 1,000,000 shows per year.” ….Cool…
  • “[insert any unsolicited advice about the music business from someone not in the music business]”
    If you’ve ever said these things, we still love you. I mean, we want you to stop saying them, but we know you probably have a heart of gold and are just trying to help us out.

And let’s face it, musicians have been known to be a little insecure and can take things too personally, so we get it. We appreciate you wanting the best for us, and we couldn’t get through this crazy life without the people who support us through the thick and thin.

When on the Road: Expect the Unexpected

erica bryan, beaverdamusa.com, behind the micI’ve started expecting the unexpected when it comes to out-of-town shows. It’s a good habit to build, because you never know what you’re going to run into on the road. My last show was no exception.The day started at 8:30 a.m., when we met at one of my band member’s houses to load up the Delta Mama (our “tour” bus…see previous post). We headed to Chick-Fil-A, a band ritual for early morning drives, then headed down I-65 from Nashville to Birmingham.

The trip was fairly uneventful, just a lot of laughs at the comedian we were listening to, and some bathroom breaks. After 3 hours, we pulled up to the house we were staying at, got out of the car, and my guitarist/bassist said, “I just realized I didn’t bring my bass.” My initial response was, “Wait- is this a joke? Is this serious?” She confirmed that this was, indeed, not a joke. Luckily, the band member we knew the best, from the other band we were playing with that night, was the bass player. So, we asked him if we could play his bass. He kindly responded that we could. Phew! Disaster was averted…for now.

We then ate some lunch, had some rehearsal, and went on our way to the show. At 7:30 p.m., we got to the venue. When we walked in, it was a brisk 90 degrees inside, and we were aptly informed that the air conditioning was broken. My immediate thought was of my drummer’s Grandma, who was going to be in attendance, and thought that she would probably not enjoy watching the show from a sauna. They said they were going to bring in some fans, but never did. However, my band is awesome, and 2 of them took initiative to find the fans and assemble them in the room.

While the fan fun was happening, the other band was sound checking. However, that band had already been there about 2 hours trying to sound check, and there seemed to be some confusion with the sound guys that took a while to figure out. So, we just waited a while. After we waited what seemed like eternity, one of my members said, “Maybe the sound guys don’t know that we exist?” I thought, “there’s no way they don’t know we’re playing tonight…but maybe we should tell them just in case?” So, he went up to them, told them we existed, and their response was, “There’s another band?!”

At this point, it was 8:40 p.m., and our show start time was 9:00 p.m. We hadn’t even put our equipment on the stage yet. They were already letting people in the doors, so our audience ended up watching us put the instruments and cables on the stage. We then sound checked for our entire audience.

Finally, we got everything situated and started our actual show around 9:10 p.m. There were many loud drones of sound feedback throughout our set, but considering everything we had just gone through, it was the least of our worries.

When people ask how our show went, my response is simply, “What we could control went very well.”
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