HOW TO: Invest Tax Return Into Your Music Career
Those who watched the State of the Union may have caught wind of the President's plan to help small businesses with certain tax breaks. To clarify, it allows businesses to write off the full amount of qualifying equipment or software for the years 2010 and 2011. Normally these capital expenditures would be deducted gradually year by year, but this time you can write it all off in one go.
If there was ever a time to invest in a solution for creating your own music, videos, photos and websites it's now, if you're set to receive a nice tax return then it's even better.
Here's how in 3 easy steps.
1. Buy yourself a Mac. These come loaded with free software which allows you to do each one of these things. Garageband, iMovie, iPhoto and iWeb are all intelligently programmed and very user friendly. They are also surprisingly powerful and furthermore a great introduction to understanding how their big brother and sister software work. If you get to grips with these (which I am sure you will with alarming ease) the transition to editing in Final Cut, making music with Logic Audio (Apples Pro Tools equivalent) and air brushing pimples on Photoshop will actually be a pleasurable and creative next step.
You do not need to pay inordinate tuition fees for the privilege of getting schooled in this software. If you have a vision for creating music, then you can easily use these tools as an extension of that creativity. You will have to invest time into this, but the beauty is that - because you are using it to expand your artistic vision, immersing you brain into the birth of a new track, or conceptualizing a gig poster makes the hours you put in fly by. If you get stuck, just Google your problem or look on YouTube, there is always a tutorial or message board somewhere with the solution.
2. Buy an Audio Interface (such as an M-Box). Although you can use the onboard microphone on a Mac laptop for recording direct to Garageband (which can actually sound pretty cool) you will ideally need a simple audio interface to get you started. This connects via USB or firewire and allows you to route an instrument or microphone direct into your computer. You can then use Garageband's internal effects to get guitar tones and vocals sounds.
Again they are pretty good, but the key to making the most of this is thinking creatively in the recording process. Remember The Beatles recorded Sgt. Pepper on a 4 track. Embrace this newfound medium. Don't think that you need the big studio and $10,000 valve mic. If you have great songs, with dedication and a little out of the box thinking, they will naturally translate into great recordings.
3. Buy yourself a stills camera with video capabilities. The price range for this can be quite wide, but again it's what you do with it that matters.
The Canon 7D starts at under $1,500 and is a full HD Video SLR. It takes great pictures, but notch it to video mode and even in low light the footage looks amazing. At the other end for a couple hundred bucks you can get a Sony Cyber-shot, it's a point and shoot style camera which also does 720p HD movie recording and has a nice looking lens on it. The flip camera and even your smart phone are actually becoming viable options for video content too. Making engaging videos will take a little bit of trial and error, but when you hit on a something good the possibilities are endless. Just look at Pomplamoose securing a Hyundai commercial as a perfect example.
Self sufficiency and low overheads are key.
Self sufficiency and low overheads are the key to building a solid foundation for your project. With a little investment you will have everything at your disposal to fulfill your unique vision. Take this opportunity to expand your music career.