At SXSW during the “crossover” day (crossed over from interactive to music), I went to a panel about Alternative Funding. I *thought* the panelists were going to talk all about crowdsourcing; however, it ended up talking about how it is always more lucrative to “bet on yourself.” Meaning, as an artist, they suggested to work your butt off, don’t take money up front, and ask for more royalties.
Their reasoning is that you and your fans will promote your album far more effectively than the label will. Also, you will get more money in the end by assuming that you will successfully sell and promote your album. That is the key, though. You will need to work your butt off to sell and promote your album. It’s really an incentive.
This mindset also applies with patents and trademarks, though. If an inventor or business person wants to license or sell their patent or trademark, then it can pay to “bet on yourself.” It also, however, pays to truly evaluate your ability and willingness to do the work necessary to reap that reward. Is it more worthwhile to you to receive a smaller monetary value for your software, your invention, or your logo/branding package so that you can move on to the next thing, not deal with any administrative tasks, and not be responsible for any possible failures with the device or promotions? OR does your confidence and passion for what you created instill a willingness to wait, do the administrative tasks necessary, and make any sacrifices?
The panel had a lot of examples of artists who have made it big by betting on themselves. However, they also recognize that many artists, and I recognize that many business owners or innovators, have a very real need for cash to pay bills.
It’s a tough decision to make and your investors (family, friends) or attorney can definitely weigh in. However, in the end, it is YOUR decision because they will not necessarily be doing the work for you.
As proof that we put our money where our mouth is, we are going all in. We will be spending a LOT of time (read: most of our time) in Texas for the upcoming months because we are betting on ourselves in a new, monetizing-patent adventure.