ADN#55: 7 Steps To Turn Your Art Into Income

Artist Development
2 min readDec 10, 2023

Hey Friends -

Welcome to the Artist Development Newsletter.

Every Sunday, I send an email providing actionable tips for artists and industry on one area of the music business.

Last week, we walked through 42 lessons I’ve learned in the last 52 weeks.

You can re-read last week’s newsletter here if you want to refresh.

Today, we will walk through the 7 phases to turn your art into income.

Let’s go — ->

So, let’s look at the 7 phases of turning your art into income.

Phase 1:

  • Idea Phase

What is this?

This is the loose idea drawn on a napkin at a bar at 2 AM.

The idea that you cannot help but jot down while you’re driving 80 miles an hour down the interstate.

Time: 1 minute

Phase 2:

  • The Mockup

This is where you sketch a rough draft.

You take your idea and workshop it into an overview you can poke holes in for phase 3.

Time: 1 day

Phase 3:

  • The Prototype

In this phase, you are getting the first version of your idea in a rough but completed form.

If this is a song, we’d call this the worktape.

If it’s album art, we’d call this version 1.0.

Time: 1 day or more

Phase 4:

  • The Demo

The demo is an example that is clear and ready to be shared with close friends and team members.

Time: 1 day — 2 weeks (depending on the product)

Phase 5:

  • The Product

This is your completed single, album, tour, merch line, fan club, etc.

The design, writing, pricing, and physical components are set.

Time: 3–12 months

Phase 6:

  • The Business

Website, online marketing strategy, product, promotion, and all other financial systems are up to date and ready to launch.

Time: 1 week — 3 months

Phase 7:

  • The Profits

Sell your product for more than it costs you to make it or to enough people that you make more than it costs you to create it.

Time: 1 day — 1 year (depending on how you handled steps 1–6.)

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Use these 7 phases to focus your attention as you work on your next project.

Track your progress with a document like this.

You can save this template by clicking “file” and then “make a copy.”

See you next Sunday!

Neil Mason

Artist Development

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