How depressing is the economy? For musicians and industry professionals who make a living off of musicians, times are as sad as a Cure ballad. Not a day goes by without a record label, distribution company, or music marketing company shutting its doors. Up front advances are a thing of the past. Traditional record deals are dead (which is not a bad thing) and it is getting harder and harder to find corporate sponsors to shell out five to six figure licensing fees.
What is a rocker to do? Go see a movie (naturally). Two industries tend to be recession proof in the US: Movies and Booze. People like to escape and what better way to do that then going to a movie or a bar and forgetting about the bonus that is not on its way or the third job you just took on to afford gas money for the band’s van. If you can find a brew n’ view in your town, no doubt it is packed with soused movie goers on a nightly basis.
Unless you have a distillery in your basement, the likely alternative may be to invest in movies. Granted the majority of my audience may not be at the stage in his/her life where they are even thinking of making an investment. However, for those lucky few readers out there, this is the time to invest in movies. State and federal tax incentives limit the potential risk by up to 70% in some cases.
Think I’m nutso? Think movies are riskier then investing in a hedge fund run by some dude named Ernie Nadoff? If so, then read this: SCENE STEALER: SUDDENLY, HOLLYWOOD SEEMS A CONSERVATIVE INVESTMENT. See, the New York Times agrees with me too.
Movies that cost between 1 and 7 million are constantly making money. Think of the different revenue streams: box office, product-tie-in/placement, dvd sales, merchandise sales, on-demand sales, on-line (itunes/amazon/netflix) sales, etc. So even those low-budget craptastic voyages about a third rate dance squad can turn a profit.
What about the musicians? Think licensing! While the low budget movies that are made today do not have huge budgets for music, they still need music. Enter the independent artist looking to get his band’s music out to a wider population. Most indi flix will give little to no money up front but will give a back end participation to the artist, meaning that the band will earn money based on the sale of the soundtrack. An added bonus is the distribution that the movie’s soundtrack gives to a musician without any distribution rights. Think of Juno or Garden State; staples of most hipster kids’ ipods. Several of the artists on those soundtracks did not have distribution but were able to rake in money when the movie and the soundtrack took off (via physical and digital sales).