How to Get Paid What You’re Worth as a Musician

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Here’s a great lesson if you want to generate the kind of music revenue you know you deserve.

I first came across this idea in a blog post titled “How to Get Paid What You’re Worth” by Peter Shankman.

Here’s the golden nugget:

You can always come down in price. You can NEVER go up.

There’s a lot of power in those 12 simple words.

For example, imagine the following dialogue:

“Hi. I’d like to hire your band for a business meeting. How much do you charge?”

“Well, we could probably do it for 500 bucks.”

“Great. Let’s book it.”

“Wait! On second thought, it’ll actually cost you $900. Is that OK?”


However, imagine this dialogue instead:

“Hi. I’d like to hire your band for a business meeting. How much do you charge?”

“Thanks for asking. First, I need to know where and when it is, how long the event is, etc.”

“Sure. It’ll be May 17, from Noon to 2 PM. And it’s right here in town on the south side. It’s a spring party for our sales managers.”

“Sounds great. And we are available that day. Our rate for corporate shows like this is $1,000.”

“Oh … I was given a budget of no more than $700 for entertainment.”

“Hmm … well, since it’s in town, I’ll extend a $300 discount. We can do it for $700.”

See how this works?

You can always come down in price. You can NEVER go up.”

So … put a reasonably high value on the musical products and services you offer.

You can always negotiate or lower your “normal” fee when it feels right. But if you don’t start from a position of value, you short-change yourself and your income.

This pricing philosophy also extends to your albums and merchandise sales.

If you think keeping your prices low will endear you to fans and increase sales to the masses, more often than not you will be disappointed.

When you start with prices that are cut to the bone, you leave yourself no room to offer discounts or do special promotions.

There’s a better way!

Let’s say you would be happy to sell your full-length albums for $10 each. Instead of promoting that price to start with, put a price of $15 on them.

That gives you room to create incentives. Perhaps you could promote “Buy one album for $15, two for $25, or three for $30.”

That type of offer makes the $30 price seem awful tempting. By doing this, you would increase the amount of the average sale — and still get the $10 per album you want!

So remember …

“You can always come down in price. You can NEVER go up.”


P.S. For a big dose of money-making ideas, check out 19 Cash Flow Strategies for Musicians and Bands.

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I’d love your thoughts on this!

What has your experience been quoting a price for your gigs, albums, and merch? What will you do different in the future?

Please leave a comment, give this article a clap or five :) and share it with someone who would benefit from reading it.

This is Day 19 of my 30-Day Blog Writing Challenge.

Listen to an extended audio podcast version of this article here:

Bob Baker helps musicians, authors, artists, and creative entrepreneurs use their talents and know-how to make a living and make a difference in the world!

Listen to his Creative Entrepreneur or Music Marketing podcasts.

Check out Bob’s books on Amazon and follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

He also creates affirmation and guided meditation recordings on his YouTube channel, Spotify, iTunes, and other platforms.

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My mission in life is to inspire & empower people through audio affirmations, guided meditations, books, podcasts, music, art, coaching, and improv comedy.

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