Author: Leah McHenry

It's become my absolute obsession to find out what will make musicians successful today. In the face of many obstacles, and in the vast sea of the internet, we have an opportunity that has NEVER been available to us in the history of the music business.

Episode #007 – Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins

Some people think it’s “bad” to mix money and art, and those people are wrong. Why should artists need to suffer in order to create “real” art? We’re here to challenge the starving artist stereotype that has stunned our persistence and creativity as artists.

In this episode, Leah walks us through her favorite highlights from Jeff Goin’s book ‘Real Artists Don’t Starve’ and shows us that it is possible to make both art and money.  

Important Things To Remember:

  • Everyone deals with imposter syndrome. Successful artists ignore it.   
  • Art needs an audience. In order to be found, you must be findable.
  • Marketing contains a relevant platform, relevant message, relevant offer, relevant           audience. 
  • “The thriving artist understands that business is part of art and money is something an artist must master”
  • If you don’t value your work, no one will.
  • Digital sales are not limited to music.

Listen to the Highlights:

07:35 – Becoming an Artist

10:40 – Creative influence

12:10 – Be stubborn

17:52 – Practice in Public

22:08 – Promote Your Work

24:57 – Marketing

28:19 – Money

30:31 – Diversify Income Streams

Episode #006: Is This The Facebook Apocalypse for Musicians?

Some are saying the new Facebook algorithm is a blow to brands that they may not recover from. It sent companies and content creators into a frenzy. Are these reactions justified? In order to figure out exactly how we should react to the changes, we need to look closer at the reasons for the change, and how to use those changes to our benefit.  

Important things to remember.

  • Facebook is a business that wants it’s users to have a more enjoyable experience. When people have an enjoyable experience they are more likely to engage.
  • Facebook’s new values show you what to do and what not to do if you want your posts to be seen.
  • Make sure your feed is a mix of scheduled and spontaneous posts.
  • “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos
  • An email list is the most reliable way to make sales, and give you more control over how often you connect with your fans.
  • The fortune is in the follow up.

Catch the highlights.

3:23 – Facebook as a Business

5:45 – Navigating through facebook’s new values

13:16 – How the new algorithm has helped increase sales

16:57 – Things to stop doing

23:20 – Things to start doing

27:20 – Building a culture around your music

32:25 – Building a Facebook group around your culture

35:38 – Train your following to click the “See First” button

36:40 – Email lists

Episode #005: Find Your Niche – The Difference Between Failure & Success

Important things to remember:

  • The way to build an audience is to focus on a micro niche.
  • Your niche should be something that already exists.
  • The best way to go big is to start small. If you don’t get narrow, you will get lost.
  • The goal is to be accurate, not creative.

Revisit the Highlights:

01:19 – Why you need to find your niche

06:07 – What a niche is not

09:32 – How knowing your niche helps you target your audience

12:18 – How to know if you’ve found the right niche


Need more help finding your microniche?

Savvy Musician Academy, the online musician, Leah mchenry, facebook for musicians, music career marketing, music industry education

Episode #004: Top 10 Social Media Tools for 2018

There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of tools out there that you could be using to help you take control of your online music career. In order to control your music career, you need to organize it. Knowing which tools to use and how to use them is imperative. These tools can help save you time, money and a lot of grief.


Important Things To Remember:

  • Marketing is making what you are doing predictable, repeated and scalable.
  • Have some social media posts planned, but leave room for spontaneity.
  • Post more selfies. People want to know who you really are.
  • Let people into your process.
  • Your fans are expert marketers. They will tell you what they want.

Listen to the List:

07:47 – Canva – For graphics and design

09:47 – Adobe Spark – Create video graphics for social

10:44 – Post Planner – Find, Plan and Post social content

15:27 – Facebook Live – Let your fans into your life

17:57 – Facebook Pages App – Manage your page on the go

19:43 – Facebook Polls – Ask your fans what they want

22:51 – Evernote – Organize your notes

24:46 – Dropbox – Store and backup your work

29:00 – Mailchimp – Organize your email list

33:00 – – Get emojis that grab people’s attention


Episode #003: How I’m Planning a Multiple 6-Figure Music Year

Treat your music like a business and get business-like results.

Nobody feels like waking up before the sun to go to the gym but when you make a decision and then follow through, eventually you see the results. The same can be said about your music career. If you wait on inspiration to plan the business side of your music career, you’ll be waiting a long time and you’ll be broke even longer. That’s why Leah walks you through WHY you should plan, and also HOW you should plan while using her own music career as the example.


  • Get help!  You can’t (and shouldn’t) do it all on your own. Get help with graphics and web design. Get help with your merch.
  • Your revenue goals should make you uncomfortable.
  • Set your goals and reverse engineer them to give you your daily action steps.
  • Writing your plan down gives you vision and motivation.
  • Big goals create actions, actions create progress, progress makes your business happen.


Why take time to plan?

3:25 – Get direction and a clear path

4:33 – Every Action must have clear purpose (even experimenting)

5:00 – Keeps you motivated

6:00 – We need a target

6:34 – We need a big goal

How should we plan?

7:55 – Set annual goals

9:12 – Setting revenue goals – The goal should make you uncomfortable

14:05 – Set project goals

18:00 – Set release goals

18:45- Setting quarterly goals – Turn quarterly goals into a to-do list

Helpful tools to help you get organized:

Evernote, for notes on the go

Asana, for team management

Google sheets and Google Docs for planning and budgeting

Episode #002: The 6-Figure Music Map: Pt. 2

Once you’ve nurtured your culture and mastered your free traffic, it’s time to start building your Fan Generation and Engagement Machine. The beautiful thing about this machine is that it works while you hang out with your kids and it works while you sleep. You still have work to do, but now you have help. Just like any other machine, all the parts are important and they go together in a specific order.


  • Fan Generation and Engagement Machine functions best once you’ve mastered your Artist Identity Infrastructure.
  • Focus on the superfans. They will keep your music sustainable by putting their money where their mouth is.
  • An email list is an asset and is worth money!
  • Retargeting helps target people who have already shown interest in you but may have been distracted or busy the first time they came across you.


Download the Music Map >> Here <<



3:50-  Fan Generation And Engagement Machine

9:15 – Paid Traffic -Don’t pay for traffic if you haven’t mastered free traffic.

9:50 – Facebook Ads

13:00 – Retargeting – Most people need to see things multiple times before they take action.

16:45 – Email Marketing –Think of email marketing as relationship marketing.

18:41 – Copywriting – Using written words to motivate people to act! This includes headlines, email titles, and social media posts. How do you use our words to motivate people into action?

22:35- Artist Identity Infrastructure recap

Episode #001: The 6-Figure Music Map: Pt. 1

Making a record and putting it on the internet doesn’t guarantee that anyone will discover it. By finding your micro niche and nurturing your culture, you can help stack the odds in your favor. By building a culture and nurturing your fanbase, you can use social media to find a group of super fans that are enthusiastic and loyal. All of these things can create a music career that is scalable and sustainable. But how does that actually work? Feeling lost? That’s why we made you a map …


  • All of the steps mentioned work together and have a specific order. Try not to get impatient. Take one step at a time, and do each step well before moving to the next step.
  • A handful of passionate fans is more impactful (and profitable) than lots of lukewarm fans.
  • Social Media is meant to build your culture and your community. Remember that people come for the product, but they stay for the community.  
  • Branding is more than a logo. It is a consistent culture across all social platforms.

Download the Music Map >> Here <<


Revisit the highlights

0:00 – Introduction.

4:00 – Why the Sustainable Music Map?

4:40 – First things first. Quality music.

  • It seems obvious, but it needs to be said.

6:35 – Finding your  micro niche.

  • It’s better to be a big fish in a small pound.

15:10 – Utilizing free traffic.

  • Don’t pay for traffic until you master free traffic

22:58 – Importance of building culture.

  • The difference between success and failure lies in how you develop your culture.

24:00 – Branding

  • It’s who you are and what your music represents. Consistency matters.

26:25 – Launching Online.

  • Who are you launching to? Does anyone know you exist?

30:30 – Artist Identity Infrastructure.

All of these points are imperative for building you artist identity. This is the foundation you build your house on.

Are the New Facebook Updates the Apocalypse for Musicians?


If you’re a musician, artist, or content creator and you pay attention to what’s happening on Facebook and your page, you’ve likely seen your engagement and reach drop dramatically over the past several months. It’s no secret that Facebook has been reprioritizing the newsfeed to encourage more interaction from friends and family rather than pages for businesses, brands, and media.


Mark Zuckerberg recently posted his mission to “fix Facebook” as part of his New Year’s resolutions. We all wondered what that meant.  On January 11th he posted[1] specifically what those changes will be.


He stated that Facebook’s top priority is the user’s experience and well-being. Translation? Less passive scrolling and more meaningful conversations. In order to make Facebook feel like it’s time well spent, posts from pages will be demoted while posts from family and friends they feel users are likely to interact with will be promoted.


“The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups,” says Zuckerberg. “As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”


Read his whole post here.

Facebook News elaborated on Mark’s statement:


“The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it. Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.[2]


Whoa, hold on.  Does this signal the beginning of the end for artists, bands, and content creators who rely on organic traffic and engagement to spread the word about their craft?  Already, people are alarmed and running to their Facebook bunkers with their marketing tinfoil hats.


As a fellow independent recording artist, I want to help calm the storm, demystify what this means, and share exactly what I’ll be doing to make this work for my music brand.


It also should be pointed out that if you have anything to sell — music, merchandise, art, etc. ––– it is still vital that you still use a professional business page to stay compliant with Facebook’s terms of service. Additionally, you need a business page in order to advertise, as well as get the benefit of Google’s SEO bots, which spider public pages, and in turn allow your page to be ranked in searches (unlike personal profiles which do not get spidered). So don’t think that you need to switch to using your personal profile to continue building your brand (which could get you banned).


Make no mistake: this change will certainly affect organic traffic on our Facebook pages and the type of content we promote.


Here are my “pay-attention” bullet points of what Zuckerberg is saying is important to Facebook:

  • Meaningful relationships
  • Friends and family
  • Well-being and happiness
  • Sharing personal moments
  • Connection and intimacy
  • Feeling less lonely
  • Physical and mental health
  • Conversation and discussion
  • Community


These are words and principles I pulled right out of Mark’s post. These are Facebook’s “new values,” which tell us everything we need to know about the type of content and interactions we need to aim for and strive to create as artists and content creators.


What we want to focus on is how to make these changes work for us rather than fight against us. Instead of crying in our coffee over algorithms and reprioritized news feeds, let’s choose to say, “Ok, these are the changes. How can I adapt and pivot to make these changes enhance what I’m already doing?”


According to Facebook Newsroom, in order to have your page shown in the News Feed the page’s posts must “prompt conversations between friends.” That means between people and people they know — not people and the page. Posts that people don’t react to — even video — will see the biggest decline.


Facebook can afford to do this because the newsfeed is overcrowded and they can pick and choose what goes into the feed. So in other words, the cream will rise to the top. As I’ve been learning and experiencing and teaching fellow musicians — regardless of what the algorithms are doing –– the key to success on Facebook is to post better content that make people want to engage. This has never been more important than now.


What we should do


I’m going to share what you should stop doing and start doing –– effective immediately.


STOP scheduling every single post.

In the past it was well known that posting more times a day allowed more people to see and interact with our pages, since people are on and off Facebook at different hours. The standard social media recommendation was to post up to ten times per day, or every few hours. This became rather daunting for musicians and artists, so many of us turned to scheduling apps like Hootsuite, Edgar, Buffer, PostPlanner, and others. While it may still be useful to schedule certain posts, Facebook is hinting that spontaneous posts which elicit meaningful discussion will be shown in the feed. Take the hint.


START being more spontaneous.

I will schedule 1-2 posts per day (if that), and make sure that each post is more meaningful, entertaining, inquisitive, or somehow conversation-stimulating to my fans. Beyond that, I will post spontaneous “mini blog-type” posts, personal thoughts, more text, and photos that I think will resonate with the culture I’m creating around my music. I also pay attention to the pages I’ve liked in my own news feed, and whenever I find something amusing, thought-provoking, or entertaining, I often will spontaneously post that to my page on the spur of the moment. I believe this will really work well if you’re posting often, at least every day. If you’re only posting once per month, I don’t think anything is going to work for you. You must be present, and more importantly — you must be relevant.


STOP posting links to your website and music shop.

Anytime you post a link to your website, music shop, even iTunes — the reach is abysmal. Facebook definitely punishes posts that try to take people off of Facebook and try to get people to do something like buy a song. Even posts that are just a photo (which worked really amazing for a while) are being demoted. My best guess is Facebook sees it as self-serving and one-way. It’s almost the equivalent of walking up to strangers in a mall and shouting “Buy my stuff! Buy my stuff!” It just doesn’t go over well. Facebook wants their virtual community to be more like a real-life community. We would never normally walk up to someone and just say, “Here’s my website.” That would be weird and inappropriate. Instead, in real life, we get to know people. We find out what we have in common and develop rapport. Then later on, we talk about what we do for work and perhaps tell them about our website if they are interested or ask. That’s what Facebook is going for.


START doing more live videos.

Those of us who have already been experimenting with live video already know the power it brings along with the increased engagement and reach. Last summer I did a seemingly boring Facebook Live video from my home office/studio that lasted just over forty minutes. When I ended the video, I was shocked to see the reach was just over a quarter of a million people. This happened due to the simple and sheer fact that I titled my video as a specific question. By doing this, it elicited responses from my fans, and because my page is public, when my fans commented on my video, their activity showed up in the newsfeed of their networks. I hope that makes sense. You’ve probably seen this: you’re scrolling in your feed and see that your friend commented on another page. That’s all it is. But it only happens when the page is public, as opposed to when users comment on someone’s private personal page, which does not show up in your newsfeed or in the feed of their friends. So get people interacting with your live videos! Live videos get 6x the engagement of normal videos. You’re going see how much this helps. And when it comes to promoting our music and merchandise? Plug it in your live video. While there are several other ways that have helped me generate an annual six-figure income from music sales, this is one way I’ve found to be very effective.


STOP being a spectator on Facebook.

I get it: many of us creatives are introverts and not big risk-takers. We prefer to read and observe and carefully weigh what’s going on behind the scenes rather than be in the spotlight. It’s well known that artists struggle with the introvert/extrovert thing. Many of us have to force ourselves to get into character in order to pull off being the center of attention (and probably why many of the greats of yesteryear turned to alcohol and drugs to pull off things they did for years on stage). Fast forward to 2018: you cannot remain a social media recluse if you want to cultivate a fanbase and culture that results in a sustainable living.  If you’re not willing to come into the spotlight just a bit — even behind a computer or mobile screen — and show who you are, what you stand for, and the kind of culture your music represents — then you’re finished. End of story. Good-bye.


START building a culture around your music.

This is something I’ve been working hard at for the past year with my own music brand. It’s a huge topic that many have not really tapped into yet. Whenever someone says the word “brand,” musicians tend to think of their logo. Not so. Your brand is what people think and say about your music when you’re not around. Your brand is essentially people’s perception, which often comes down to a gut feeling. That makes it sound kind of esoteric or mystical compared to what we’re used to, but think of it in terms of first impressions, and it starts to make more sense. Once on my Facebook page, I asked my fans what word first popped into their heads when they thought of me and my music. I posted it along with a photo I wanted them to associate me with. The feedback was the most valuable data I could’ve ever asked for. I was able to go out and build a music brand around their perceptions, which was based off of single words! When you have a culture, you have a community and this is exactly what Facebook wants. What’s a music culture? In short, it’s a common theme or idea that brings people together. Culture and community are synonymous. I like to think of social media platforms as my own personal magazine that you’d buy from Barnes and Nobles. Only my music is the soundtrack. So, picture the images, the articles, the opinions, the politics, the worldview that your personal magazine would have… and you’ll attract more people just like you. Your music becomes the soundtrack of their life.


A few other things to consider with these changes:


Start a Facebook group around your music culture.

Both Zuckerberg and the Facebook Newsroom mentioned groups several times, and that meaningful conversations happening within groups will be promoted to the top of the news feed. Make it a community-centric focus. I’ve already started a group for my page where people can post things related to my music and the culture that surrounds it. The nice thing is that when you do have something to promote (say, 10% of the time), your members will actually see it.


Train your following to click on the “See First” button on your page.

Create some screenshots or a 30-second video on where that button is on your page, and let your following know about the changes and that if they don’t want to miss important details from you, to make sure they click that “See First” button.


Building your email list is more important than ever.

If you thought email was dead, think again. It’s for reasons exactly like this that I continue to build my list year-round. Anytime I release a new single or have anything share-worthy — I make sure I milk it. I use videos, advertising, and my social platforms to get as many new email addresses as possible. That way, no matter what happens on Facebook or any platform — I can still communicate and promote to my own unique audience — and no one can take that away. I will still continue to build my Facebook page and other platforms as long as they are effective, but I will also be very aggressive in the coming year with building my list.


Learning how to advertise on Facebook will become essential.

Aside from learning to build a tight-knit culture and community around your music, advertising is the next, and maybe even more important, task to learn.  You do need to know what you’re doing so you don’t waste your money. I always tell people though, that before you start spending money on paid traffic, master free traffic. If what you’re doing isn’t getting you any results with organic traffic, throwing money at it won’t help.



Thank you for reading this post, I hope it helps you navigate these sometimes scary changes. If you felt this was helpful or informative, please leave a comment and share this with your friends!


For more strategies on creating a sustainable living from your music, follow me on Facebook (and click the “See First” button!) where I do regular Facebook Live videos and share my journey with you.

Musicians, don’t fret: get savvy and let’s crush 2018.






Top 10 Social Tools for Musicians That Helped Me Build a 6-Figure Music Business

 There’s a million-zillion tools and apps out there, and 99.9% of the time, they don’t actually move the needle for us musicians.

This is a list of my top go-to tools that I constantly use that DO SOMETHING to help grow my music business. Some of them are big, some of them are small – but they get me where I want to go, time and time again.



A free social graphics maker. This toolis amazing!! Even if you are terrible at graphics (and really, I do believe you should hire a professional!), but you need a new Facebook banner or Instagram photo in a pinch and make it look like a pro did it…. This is your tool. They even have tutorials to help you get better at doing graphics. I use this multiple times per week, depending on what I’m doing in social media.



Really awesome video clip maker you can use for social media. You can do a slide show, images, or video with your own music, and upload to Facebook and other social platforms. It’s one of those tools you can definitely lose several hours playing around and having fun with!



One of the cheapest and easiest-to-use social media schedulers. It also helps you find new content to post, including popular articles, quotes, and images. It’s around $10 at the basic level. Pretty great!



NOTHING – and I mean NOTHING – will get you more reach and engagement like posting a live streaming video on Facebook. Don’t have a following yet? Don’t have fans? USE THIS free tool and sing or play live!! Make sure you go live on a professional page, and not your personal profile — then ask people if they liked what they heard to share or tag a friend…. Incredibly powerful.



This is really an essential free app I use multiple times per day to manage my Facebook page. You probably know I preach against using your personal profile for you music as it doesn’t benefit you whatsoever. This pages app helps you manage, post, and go live right on your page, as well as answer any incoming messages from fans. A must-have!



A really fun tool I use from time to time to ask my fans questions or get feedback on something, especially if I have decisions to make. I recently polled my fans on what kinds of items they’d like to see in my merch shop! I had hundreds and hundreds of responses. And it made my life so much easier when it came time to decide what to add next!



What would I do without this app in my life?? The number of notes I have is astonishing. I write everything this thing. From to-do lists, vacation details, to jumbled song lyrics, planning out my next album launch, and image clips from around the web I want to come back to. I use both the full version on all my computers, and of course I have it synced with the mobile app on my phone. I also use this daily!



What musician can live without Drop- box? I keep ALL my important files in my Dropbox! I also try to stay extreme- ly organized by having a master folder for one thing, and then sub-folders, and then numbered sub-folders, so they appear in order.

For example:

So you can see, it’s good to have a system when you’re trying to find things! I have many folders that look like this, including for Photos, Social Media images, Videos, and more.



Email is an asset, and Mailchimp is by far the easiest Customer Relations Management tool to use on earth. If you don’t have an email list, you’re missing out on SO MUCH as a musician or artist. This is how I maintain relationships with my fans and make a large portion of my music sales.



My go-to resource for emojis when I’m writing fan emails, campaigns, or writing high-converting Facebook ads. I can copy/paste any emoji I want that makes sense and enhances my message.

XOX, Leah


For in-depth strategies on how to launch and market an album online, please see this introductory workshop to Leah’s full Online Musician program: