I’ve been doing a bit of consultancy with independent labels and new online music startups recently. Very few of them can pay me – and actually, that’s fine.

Generally speaking, I’ve done my consultancy on a day rate, on a half day rate, and (in exceptional circumstances) for a bite of lunch and the train fare to London / Oxford / Manchester or wherever.

There are, of course, friends I give advice to back in Birmingham and also here in New Zealand (where I’ve just arrived for a few weeks of meetings, conferences and relaxation) for the price of a cup of coffee or a pint of something cold.

I do consultations in person and via Skype video hookup, though I vastly prefer the former.

But the cashflow thing is a real issue. There are people who have told me they read the blog, but won’t ask for me to come and spend the day with them sounding out ideas, even though they believe this would help focus, strategise and improve the eventual profitability of their online music business – simply because there is no budget whatsoever.

So I’ll put my (lack of) money where my mouth is: if you’re an independent artist, label or online startup, and would like my focused attention over an extended period of time with on-call advice, pointed questions and a sounding board thrown into the mix – and you don’t have any money to pay me, then I’ll cut you a deal.

On a case-by-case basis, if I think I can be of real help to you, over and above the very simple basics, then I’ll be happy to negotiate an equity share with you on what you build. It will be a small percentage, but with a reasonable shot of covering (or exceeding) my usual fee within a year or two.

If you think about it, what this means is I will only do this deal with you if I think I can help you make substantially more money than you otherwise would from your music business or potential online music service. In return, I’d get a slice of that substantial revenue increase instead of an upfront fee.

In other words, I’d make money by helping you make significantly more money.

My conditions are these:

1) You try what I suggest.
I’m of no help to you if you spend the day working through a bunch of online strategies that you don’t then deploy. Action is a pre-requisite of my speculative involvement.

2) You let me blog the strategies we try.
I won’t give out sensitive commercial information, of course, but I think if we come up with any good ideas between ourselves, they’ll be in the public domain by the very nature of how they work. Blogging about those instances of best practice

3) You aren’t able to pay.
This is not an offer that’s extended to established companies with actual cashflow. It’s nice to have equity in things I believe will eventually do well, but it’s nicer to have food on the table.

Of course, I won’t be able to cover transport costs, so you might have to spring for a train ticket – or put up with the videoconferencing solution. I’ve just been presented with a £95 mobile phone bill, so I might have to lay off on the supportive phone calls and texts while I’m abroad – but essentially, if you think I can be helpful and you’d like a bit of input, advice and strategic thinking about your music business and new technologies, then drop me a line.

Naturally, I will also work for money, expensive gifts and reciprocal favours.

I’m pretty well jammed up solid until late January, but there may be an opening late December, if you really need it sooner.


In other ‘you give me money’ news, there’s advertising space coming available in the righthand sidebar soon, the RSS feed tag is up for grabs, and I’m taking more bookings for the sponsored blog posts.

Rates on the advertise page.