This is the 7th episode of season 2 of our podcast 'When We Met' where we talk to Kshitija Sarda who is the Co-Founder and CEO of the Platform For Artists community. We talk about some available opportunities for artists during the COVID-19 crisis and also what are we doing as a community for Indian artists.
I saw a change.org petition that says, #FinanceMinister please announce immediate relief packages for musicians, there are some15,000 signatures for it. But even if this gets 15 million signatures, do you think the government of India is going to announce a relief fund for artists? If you think yes, you have your hopes on a losing horse, and it is better that we up-skill ourselves rather than waiting for the government to announce something for us.
COVID-19 has probably been the biggest spoiler of my life, and I am assuming it was for a majority of people who are reading this too. In this episode of our podcast When We Met, I am sharing 4 tips that can be new revenue streams for artists, and then I have Kshitija Sarda on the show to tell us how the Platform For Artists community is helping artists get some of these opportunities.
The very first revenue stream is doing online events, no matter if you are a musician or a doodler or a dancer or a designer you have free online video software available for hosting events. Unlike the offline world where you had to pay the venue and there were other logistical expenses, all of those don’t exist now. The decision barrier for the participants have also reduced, for example with respect to events in Pune, we had to make sure that we do the event in the center of the city like FC road or Shivajinagar so that is easier for people from all parts of the city to join in and now that all these issues are completely gone, you are the master of your own game.
We use Google Meet which is free to use software and can have 250 people at a time, for ticketing and other payment-related things we use our own website or we use Instamojo as payment partners. Some people also ask for payments directly on their Google Pay or PayTm which is fine but I think it is a little less professional.
So you have no expense and whatever tickets you sell for your gig or event comes directly to your bank, I think it’s a great way to make money for artists during COVID-19 pandemic.
The second way to generate revenue as an artist during the COVID-19 crisis is I think the long time proven method for artists to create merchandise around their art. This works excellent in terms of money as well as giving your fans something to keep them reminded about your work. So it is a two-fold benefit and it is so easy to create T-shirts or badges or phone covers or anything else. If you are a musician and you want to start merchandising, maybe you can collaborate with a designer too on this but the merchandise is a great way to generate passive income. I think sites like Vistaprint or Souled Store as well offer you print on demand services for a very nominal fee. Check them out!
The third way is to teach online, and you can teach online via Skillshare or Teachable or you can even conduct Whatsapp classes or even email classes. Email classes are like you ask people to sign up for your course and you will send them one email each day as a chapter. This can be about music/ dance/ doodle/ writing/ photography anything. This is also a great way to build your email list as an artist.
But there is a prerequisite for this, you have to be damn good at your skill, and by damn good I don’t mean that you should have 1 million followers on Instagram, it is the content game that I am talking about. Let’s say I am hosting a podcasting workshop, which I already do and it is not because I have a good listener base or because I am the Founder of Platform For Artists, it is because when I send a particular episode link as my profile they judge me based on the content that I create and the topics that I talk about and not just my designation.
Yes, the follower base brings in the credibility but if the content and the skill don’t have value, then it is too difficult to have this as a long term revenue stream. Based on the high number of followers you might get students in the first few classes but then later they might not recommend the course to other people. Plus there is a possibility that you can be a great artist but your teaching skill might not be that great. I think this was like a sentence that was very popular in my hostel rooms where somebody would say that this professor has great knowledge but can’t teach well. So pick and choose which way you want to go.
We also conduct workshops for artists and the recent workshop was 'Growth Hacks for Artists', this was a great session for the community in the month of June and now for the month of July, we are conducting workshops about website creation and Email Marketing for Artists. You can know more about these workshops through our Instagram page Platform For Artists directly
The fourth way is to monetize your influence/ audience/ followers and is sort of similar to what influencer marketing is today, it doesn't matter if you have less following there are also sites which do micro influencing advertisements. So people with 500 followers or 2000 followers can also post by putting advertisements about a particular brand so that is a good way. What also sort of falls under the monetize your audience is making money through these content platforms like YouTube, you have a big number of audience then create YouTube videos or wait for a few months Instagram will roll out the IGTV monetization for creators. So if you have an audience already I think it is a great way to make money by directly selling your product or service to them or by advertising some other brand’s product or services.
Now you can listen to how we as a community are helping artists give opportunities in conducting workshops or courses and we are also doing an online flea market in the month of August 2020.
You can listen to what Kshitija Sarda has to say about these above opportunities and how you can grab these opportunities on any of the podcast app like Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Hubhopper, Gaana, Anchor or any other podcast app from around the world.
You can also listen to the 6th episode of the podcast When We Met which is titled 'How to grow as an artist? This is a great conversation with Sindhu Biswal who is a Senior Growth Marketer at Filter Copy, Dice Media and Gobble.