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The bu$ine$$ of making ambient

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  • The bu$ine$$ of making ambient

    Hello all,

    At this point in my career I'd probably be best described as a semi-professional composer and performer. I've earned a fair amount of money through performing and selling albums, however I earn most of my money by teaching music in a high school. I would love to spend more time making music, though. I think the quality of my music is very high, but I lack the connections necessary to get paid work in the industry, something I'm working on to overcome.

    Are there any folks here making money from their music? Does anyone know of good stock music libraries, music supervisors, managers, record labels, etc who are in the business of distributing and promoting quality ambient music, and are serious about getting their artists paid?

    Additionally, if there are any overly busy artists here that ever want to refer work my way, I'd be happy to do so under favorable terms.


    Matt Starling in Salt Lake City

  • #2
    Hmm, interesting question. As you're aware, ambient music is a very niche genre. I asked Robert Rich a few years ago how he got so popular, and though he said a lot of things have changed since the 80s, one thing that hasn't changed is playing live. That can really get you exposure, as long as you select the right venue and audience. That's where the hard thought comes into play.

    Considering records, I'd recommend looking into the labels that Steve Roach uses, since he's about as commercialised as ambient music gets.

    I'm looking into getting my music further out there too, and though we seem to be in different countries, I can let you know of anything potentially useful I find.

    Hope my ideas help you.


    • #3
      Thanks for that, I'll do the same. Ambient is certainly a niche genre when it comes to selling albums, but I'm hearing it more and more in films, on TV, in art museums, really everywhere. That's been encouraging.


      • #4
        and don't forget, if you do get famous, I get to ride your coat tails.


        • #5
          Originally posted by aoVI View Post
          and don't forget, if you do get famous, I get to ride your coat tails.
          The Simon Cowell of ambient... ;)
          Latest release: never to be repeated

          Hearthis | Soundcloud


          • #6
            If there's a film community where you are, see if you can meet up with someone producing a short film. If you can score a few of those gig, that'll get your name out and give some real-world stuff to put in your portfolio.

            Had a friend in Austin pull this off, he's not famous but he's doing OK scoring indie films locally.
            Home Page:
            Authors Den:


            • #7
              I'm writing this from my solid gold helicopter.


              • #8
                Enjoying your music Matt! I really hope you find ways to make some more money from it. I don't have any good advice to give you unfortunately, though Spotify has worked reasonably good for me. Looking forward to hearing more of your music.
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                • #9
                  I earned some money by selling my music and playing live gigs but spent a lof more for new HW/SW (f***g GAS) or even good mastering service. And I find that this scheme fits good for me.