It’s impressive that MANAFEST is a 4x Juno Award winning HipHop/Rock singer-songwriter who has sold over 300,000 albums worldwide. But, what’s more remarkable is the fact that he makes $4,000 per month selling music online at a time when many claim it can’t be done. Here’s how he does it.
Let’s start out by just telling people what it is that you do for a living with music.
Sure! Well, I’m a singer-songwriting doing hiphop and rock music mainly. I’ve been doing this since 2004 when I quit my (day job) and got signed to Tooth & Nail Records in Seattle. I thought I was going to be a rock-rap superstar but went broke in like 3 months almost (laughs). Went $30,000 in debt. But, I just kept on touring and trying to figure out how to make money (in music).
To be honest man, I almost quit, until we had some huge success in Japan selling like 10,000 records per week of one of my albums. That just breathed new life into my career in North America, and then finally we started to have some success in (the US and Canada).
I’m independent now and just released my first indie record in October 2015. We crowdfunded, and that was our second or third time crowdfunding I did, but this was the first time that we actually released the album. Because, I even crowdfunded when I was still doing a licensing deal with Tooth & Nail. But, now the music is all mine and there’s no turning back man! (laughs)
How many people actually leave a job that pays them $70k plus per year to do music fulltime, and go into debt like you and me? (laughs)
Seriously, right? It was scary you know? I’m so thankful for the (record) deal my lawyer negotiated. It was a licensing deal, which means you eventually get the rights to your songs back (from the label). That’s why I’m still in the game, because I got my records back and they’re still selling.
You know, a lot of artists don’t know about the monthly income. All they know is touring and maybe publishing. I’m just so blessed and thankful for my lawyer, because I would’ve signed the “other” deal. I totally would have. (laughs) Because, just like most artists, I just wanted someone to believe in me.
Now, you are doing some things outside of music that goes beyond the realm of the typical musician. You are now showing and teaching other artists how you’re making $4,000 a month selling music online and via streaming services. Can you talk about that?
Sure! I did a book called FIGHTER, just sharing my story about what I’ve been through in this industry. That sort of led me to offer these courses online about the music business, and I started a website called…[LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE]
Cover of Issue #1 of The Miews magazine