The concise version is: is anyone out there selling to musicians & labels, and making much money at it? If yes, how... I'm looking for some more suggestions.
Background: I've been shooting for nearly 40 years, the last 16 professionally. Sports Action & Nature the first 12 for some News Papers, magazines, schools & parents... the last four for venues & musicians.
Over the last four years, I have built working relationships with a few venues here in the Knoxville area, which I regularly shoot at, a couple venues in Nashville & NC. I am on good terms with the security and management, which has enabled me to exclusively shot most of the Meet & Greets (a few hundred) with some 'top' Country Music Artists, and reality TV stars. A few of them I've shot multiple times, and most purposefully don't allow any other cameras or cell phones during the M&G's I shoot.
Generally either I am paid for shooting AND/OR get to keep 100% of what I sell (downloads or prints). My usual paying customer at this events are the fans coming through the line to meet the musician, other members of the band (from during the show), and often those in the opening act. Often a little from each category, more when my cameras are the only ones allowed. The venue usually gets about 20 to 40 'web ready' (small) images (which have MY WEBSITE listed in the watermark), and sometimes one large (1920pixels 96dpi) image for their web site & facebook pages. Often I'll send the artists 1 or 2 'small' web ready images for their personal facebook page, along with a link to the 'rest of the images.' The venue's only request for selling is that I have 'inexpensive' options... which I do.
There have been quite a few 'small' - up & coming artists - that have purchased images for 'commercial use' - and a few 'freelance' instrument fill-ins have bought images for their personal profiles & sponsored pages, because they aren't yet with a consistent band/artist. A few of the smaller bands have been interested in getting some video footage, or even a live video shoot... which is available for an additional cost (depending on time & expectations, often b-roll crowd or stage footage).
I've sold a bunch of images through PR Photo (though their pay rates suck, and frankly isn't worth the time and hassle of dealing with them, from my experience).
I've had some of the labels 'invite' me to shoot shows... a couple managers & big name artists have even sent 'full-access' and 'press' passes to shoot their shows. I've been thanked me for doing the shoot... but neither have licensed images, though they've requested to use some (some I've sent small 'web ready' (500x333, 72dpi) proofs with my watermark, to use on their personal pages. I've held out on the commercial use... and major use licensing.
I've had a few artists/manager's attempt to get me to sign a 'copyright release' (which I refuse 100% of the time, unless they step up with at least a four-figure check 'day rate'). A couple of those 'controlling' labels/artists have allowed me to shoot despite my refusal to sign away my rights (one was amazed that I asked them to sign the same agreement in reverse, allowing me to 'have' what sound I recorded without limitations).
My question is: Does anyone have any suggestions on what or how I might be able to actually do more, make more, and better interest the labels & management companies to actually step up and buy & license more images??
The merch person, front end manger, and all the artists, managers, labels, and fans end up getting a business card that tells them where the images will be after the shoot, and the basics of how to order... the concert people are sent to:
Each primary artist is listed by name, everything in the last few weeks before the STAGERESULTS.com logo, everything after is alphabetical. If I've shoot the artist more than once, it's broken down by date. Then each shoot is broken into AT LEAST three gallery's: TOP SHOTS, MEET & GREET (People There), and OTHER SHOTS. I seldom get asked 'where to find' any images... and leave the 'other shots' only because some of the artists & fans have requested that (and strangely, some purchase from that section).
Most of the 'web ready' (500x333, 72dpi) images have my website listed, the venue, and artists that share these web ready 'proofs' also usually link to either my facebook page or website to help with the promotion.