By Athena Butler
When it comes to recorded music, today’s consumers enjoy a free ride and seem to have all the answers. Song sharing is there for the taking and, in any case, the old music sales model is archaic. But if out with the old and in with the new is stylish in music, the same is not true of music recordings.
For the business, it seems, free is good. However, the decline of recorded music sales has been catastrophic since 2001, when piracy became rampant and the single song Apple economy banished the album. Now, hope for the sector requires a giant leap of faith. In the meantime, the tough job of finding new ways to compensate for this loss of profits falls to the record companies. It may appear that artists are gaining more exposure as music changes hands often and easily. But is the moneymaking of old within the reach of the business?
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Entries in music business (50)
By Athena Butler
Earlier this week I received a typical inquiry in my inbox. We’ve all received these copy and pasted emails - where some poor soul is blasting out to artists just hoping for anyone to reply! I get them a lot and I also delete them A LOT. I usually am not compelled to say a word. But this time I thought maybe I’ll just give my 2 cents… this poor girl has not replied so either she is a robot with very little email response capabilities OR she rolled her eyes and moved on. Probably the latter!
Hey guys. Today I want to look at one very important music business skill that will greatly benefit you in your quest for a ‘successful’ music career. We all have our own idea of what success is, but if to you it involves getting known on a wider scale then you already are, the below strategy will definitely help.
I’ve already looked at three other essential business skills for musicians, but this additional skill is just as important, if not more so. You should use it alongside the others for a more professional and faster moving music career.
So, let’s have a look at what the subject of today’s guide is:
Leveraging other people and platforms who currently command more influence than you.
With that in mind, let’s get into it!
Written by Tommy Darker.
This is the last part of the 3-part series about the Musicpreneur. A link to the complete essay with all the parts and extra resources can be found at the end of the article.
III For the future
Somebody could say that we’re done. That the list is full. Almost.
The present is not all that counts; unless it points to something bigger in the future.
The past years I was working for NATO as an international military policeman. Last summer I decided to quit my job after 7 years of solid and educational experiences. All that because of my love for music.
During my transitional window to a full-time music devotee (active musician and marketing experimenter), I had a lot of time to dedicate and strong appetite to devour books that contained information outside the scope of the Music Industry, but indirectly connected with it.
And then it hit me.
The music industry is about to change in a profound way as it turns to streaming as its primary distribution model.For labels, artists, songwriters and musicians alike, their financial lives may hang in the balance.
With a rise in social TV, multi-channel engagement, and recent reports suggesting that there are more mobile phones than people in 4/6 of the World’s regions, this year will no doubt be an interesting one for social media, but how will these trends impact the music industry?
When you hear, “It’s all who you know,” it sounds so intimidating - like you need to be a former roommate of Mark Zuckerburg, cousins with Richard Branson, and dating Taylor Swift.
But simply contacting a stranger can lead to a worldwide network of connections.
Whether they ever choose to regain some of their former financial stature and growth, record companies, majors and indies alike, along with unsigned and unknown independent artists, too, must cultivate and create, as quickly as possible, a SINGLE new digital marketplace. Here competition will flourish and some semblance of reasonable choice and control over the discovery of new artists with original new music will be exercised by whatever is left of the music listening mainstream audience. In this brave new world, record companies will need to collaborate and combine forces with each other and with independent artists at large. They will need to move quickly to consolidate into one place a dynamic customer base made up of the depleting record companies’ sales bases along with the ever increasing independent artist fan bases. The passionate members of the music listening public will ultimately choose to gather in this one place and make quick decisions about new music and new artists.
Well, of course you do, but aim to have a boatload of material so you don’t have just your resume to show prospective employers. And then, during your first job, find time to do your own thing, by any means necessary, so that you don’t really need that resume after that. I landed the second job of my career with the film production house, Second Story Television without any resume at all. That was because I started that company with a few friends after gleaning enough experience and connections from working at a small film production company/ad agency based on the famed Madison Avenue in NYC. And jobs after SST were mostly pulled in from my network of friends. That’s the key and the underlying thought behind this bloggette: building your career, yourself, again, by any means necessary.
We’ve all heard the complaints about the current Music 3.0 music industry model: physical product doesn’t sell anymore, download sales don’t make up for the shortfall, and streaming music cannibalizes sales and pays a pittance in royalties. Then let’s heap on the accusation that music today is so formula and soul-less and generally a shadow of what it once was. But how does that explain the recent success of Mumford & Sons and Adele? Here are two principles that hold true in any age.
Last week I asked a question on my Facebook page which was:- “QUESTION! For anyone looking to get a job in the music business. I’m looking for 7 questions that you would like answered as to how to get a job in the music industry. What would you like to know?” I got a couple of questions back which I thought I would answer in blog form as the answers would be too long for Facebook comments so here there are – incidentally if anyone else has a question that they need help with please post it on my Facebook page and I will answer it for you.
“This is my last chance, my last kick at the can.”
i heard those words today… and it stung.
don’t say that.
The Last Chance Saloon,
a funeral parlor
for ambitions not achieved.
saying these fateful words means:
…you’ve already created a conscious limitation for yourself.
…you’ve already thrown up a barricade you won’t maneuver past.
…you’ve already signed a death warrant on your future potential.
I created the conceptual model to understand the independent variables that help predict music consumption, along with predicting how much change in those independent variables can impact one’s consumption of music in a way that leads to revenue for an artist, an artists’ label et al.
When I was in college, I held several part time jobs to make ends meet. One of those part time jobs was playing guitar at a few restaurants every month. Nothing glamorous, but I was happy to be playing guitar. I started keeping track of how much money I made on those gigs to see if I could justify quitting one of the other part time jobs.
It turns out keeping a detailed list of my music income has served me well over the last 10 years. I was eventually able to justify quitting all of my day jobs and become a full time musician, and since being a full time musician, I’m able to keep a finger on the pulse of my various streams of musician income. Just as a shop owner keeps track of her inventory and carries whatever products are in demand, I’ve been able to assess and adjust my inventory of music jobs that keep me in business.
Over the last 10 years the way I make a living has changed dramatically. I’ve never made a lot of money, but I’ve been able to make more each year despite the changes in the music industry and economy in general. Here’s my method and what I’ve learned along the way.
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(Updated Feb 25, 2014)