Music and Business

4 03 2010

I just had two interesting conversations with several different people about these two subjects. What I discovered is that they are two subjects that have a lot in common but don’t coexist peacefully with one another.

I spoke with my brother about business.  I showed him some ideas of businesses within the music industry that I wanted to start.  My purpose in creating those plans was to create a business that would help the music industry change for the better and also create a profit for the company.  He essentially told me that the ideas I had, while they may be good don’t really solve the problem because in his mind there’s no demand for what I was trying to create and it wouldn’t make any money.  After discussing it I saw that his point of view was for the most part true.

I also had a conversation with two friends of mine, musicians.  The one holds to the opinion that music is his love and passion and that he has accepted the fact that he will most likely never have a lot of  money.  The other friend was adamantly opposed to anyone going into music with the intent of getting rich.  I think they both important ideas that are central to a musicians ideology.  One of the points that they made was that to a true musician money isn’t the primary goal, it’s something that they need to survive and they would like to make money playing music, but if given a choice between playing for free and not playing at all, they would most definitely choose playing for free.

Another thing that I took from these very opposite points of view is that; business focuses a lot on profits, and the success of the company hinges mainly on the profits that they make, which makes sense.  Musicians judge success in a completely different way.  It has nothing to do with money, for that doesn’t measure success, it has everything to do with personal fulfillment.  A love of music drives them, and I think that my friend who was so adamant in not having money as a driving motive knows that too many people in both music and business often lose track of righteous motives in search of money, and the beauty of the art is lost in the search for music that simply sells.

In the end I think that entrepreneurs and musicians have so much in common.  Both of them create, build, innovate, work hard and can have fulfilling careers.  Many of them sacrifice immediate monetary profits at the beginning of their career in order to increase fan base/customer base, many of them work long hours for very little money in the hopes that either it will be 1. fulfilling or 2. lucrative.  But at the same time I think that true musicians don’t want to focus on business, for music is a creative process, and business shouldn’t interfere with the artistic side of music, for their motives and purposes are very different.




2 responses

6 03 2010

I have been interested in this subject for quite some time now. I think you have a good point about true musicians being willing to do their art without making much money. However, why not make money doing what you love to do?

I think the recording industry is dying, personally. If not dying, they are going downhill. I am interested in what ideas you have to make it better. I think there are great opportunities for artists to self publish and self promote.

My husband Steve believe that music sharing should and will become an altruistic venture, while the money will come from merchandise and concerts. Is that enough to make a living? I have no idea.

6 03 2010

Thanks for your comment.
I couldn’t agree more that record industry is dying, more and more artists are saying “I can do that myself”. And they’re right. Recording equipment is easy to buy, you can have a basic recording studio for a small band for under $5,000 for starters. A good studio for maybe $10,000 (estimates). There is money in the music industry, and it is possible to make a perfectly fine living in the industry. It takes a little more brains and research if you want to go completely independent, but it’s possible.
From what I’ve been reading up on, and from my personal experience in the music industry the internet has changed a lot in the music industry but one thing remains the same; the trek to fame and money is still hard. The “get rich quick” fallacy doesn’t work.
I believe that there is something in P2P file sharing. I believe that “free” has a place in the industry and that it can act as a huge catalyst for marketing music. An independent band that puts their music up for free while they’re starting up to get a fan base has a better chance of making money off of their following than the band that refuses to give because he wants money up front.
I think that the market has changed so that consumers truly have the option of listening to music and coming to love it before they ever buy it. No longer are we forced to make buying decisions based on what’s on the radio or on a 30 second iTunes clip, we can listen to music for free and decide if we like that band. The people who are exposed to this type of free music are much more likely to go to gigs, buy CD’s there and support the band monetarily because they know the music and they like it, and they didn’t have to pay to know whether it was good or not.
I don’t think the industry knows where the internet and consumers are taking the industry but I think there is a great deal of excitement and individuals have more say than corporations.
Let me know your thoughts.

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