Entries in Business (10)
In order to set up and run a successful music teaching business you should definitely have a business plan. It’s a great way to organise all your thoughts and make sure you have everything in place before you start your business
Money. Many artists struggle with it: either we’re poor at managing income or we lack creativity in getting it. It’s clear that with the shape of the music industry, most artists aren’t making a living from record sales. So how are they getting the support that they need?
You might argue that some bands make their money from performing: they command large guarantees when playing a show. Another popular idea is that most bands survive because of merch sales (few promoters provide a decent guarantee, if one at all). Others see crowdsourcing as the new golden calf.
I don’t think there is a one-size fits-all model for all artists. What artists need is something that is personal, transparent, and appropriate for their career. In 5 Non-traditional Ways to Promote Your Music, I called upon artists to use their creativity when it comes to music promotion. I think the same could be said of your sources of income as well.
How do you tell a businessperson that success in the music business…has nothing to do with business?
On Music Think Tank, where I have posted over eighty articles, you’ll find an overwhelming amount of advice on social media practices, fan engagement and conversion strategies, business planning, artist management, music marketing, music technology and enough similar sounding posts to make your head spin. One might even be misled into believing that the equation: decent artist + solid business support = success. However this formula is about as a sound as building a one legged table.
If you are ever thinking about financially backing or supporting an artist, you should know that there are two other legs of the table that are of equal or greater importance. In fact, if these first two legs are solid, the third leg, the business leg, almost organically grows itself.
By now everyone has read a string of thoughtful predictions by many great music industry minds regarding the future of the music business, and most of them certainly have merit. Let me propose the 4 steps that I think would help thrust the music business truly into Music 3.0. Some of these you’ve no doubt heard before, but some you may have not.
1) New Blood For The Industry - The music industry was creatively at its best when the pioneers of the business (Berry Gordy, Ahmet Ertegen, Mo Ostin, Jac Holzman, etc.) were actively running their companies. They were fans first, businessmen second, and they intimately knew their audience well because they were part of it.
Viinyl is a fairly new service that popped up in late 2010 that allows you to create “song-based websites.” They ended up being one of my top picks for 2010’s most interesting and innovative music start-ups, and I’d like to dive a bit deeper into the free service with this post.
If you ever find yourself wanting to promote a single, using Viinyl is an excellent way to provide your fans with a rich media experience surrounding a single song. In this post, I want to show you how you create a one-song web page with Viinyl, and how you can link to it via a subdomain on your official website (e.g. “singleimpromoting.mywebsite.com”).
1. Sign up for a beta account
Q: What happens when you put a lawyer, an economist, a business executive, a government bureaucrat and an artist into a locked room? A: The business executive assaults the economists, the lawyer sues the executive, the bureaucrat falls asleep, and the artist writes a song about it. This is the copyright debate.
Over the last couple of years, and as a background task, I have tried to make sense of the copyright / copy restriction debate. Is more or less copy restriction better or worse for rightsholders?
Since I started my career in this business. I’ve always been working within the 1,000 True Fans model.
Here’s my story: In 1996, I was living in Boulder, CO and I had just started Ariel Publicity, my boutique PR firm.
Acoustic Junction and Zuba two local bands became my first clients. Both had been staples in Boulder for a couple of years, and both made fantastic livings touring and selling their independent releases from coast to coast. They did this with no label, no distribution, and no major marketing budgets: just a manager, a tour manager, and me.
I also represented The Toasters, Bim Skala Bim, The Slackers, and Skinnerbox, (and practically everyone touring during the third wave of Ska).
These artists and dozens like them all made full time livings from playing and touring. They had a core group of fans that supported them by seeing several shows a year, buying merch and buying albums.
Today, it feels revolutionary when we hear about bands that make a living based on their music.
What happened? What changed?
I thought I would never sell my company. I started it as a hobby in 1997. When NPR did a story about me in 2004, I said I’d stick it out until the end, and I meant it.
In 2007 I did a ground-up rewrite of the the website from scratch. And man, it was beautiful code. My proudest achievement of my life so far is that backend software. Wonderfully organized, extensible, and efficient: the culmination of everything I’d learned about programming in 10 years.
It takes a lot of patience, professionalism and effort to put together a good plan of action, whether it’s a business plan or an attack plan when it comes to your career. It takes tens times as much when it comes to following through with that plan. All too often artists, and even business people, will set up a great plan, but then slack on it, cut corners, change it without a solid reason or just go in an entirely different direction. Much of the time, this results in failure because a hodge podge of unorganized and erratic work leads to problems.
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(Updated January 13, 2016)