Behind the times

12 03 2010

I had another interesting conversation with a friend yesterday about music and business.

He’s one of those guys who’s pretty hip as to business things.  We’re both in the same music business class, he’s been in the media music degree and I’ve been working on a general music degree, but we both have similar things to say about the educational programs of today.

Some music programs are starting to realize that entrepreneurship and business skills are necessary to musicians today.  Berklee has instituted an Entrepreneurship in music class, other universities have music production degrees, but only really the very expensive, top tier schools are cutting edge and have these types of programs.

This skills are becoming necessary in our world today.  Musicians need to know how the music industry works today, not how it used to work.  Most of the music business class that me and my friend are in focuses on how the music industry was, and how it used to work.  It doesn’t bring to light many of the changes that are happening right now.  Now independent musicians have more power, more capabilities, more options, and professors and teachers need to keep up with what’s going on.

I understand that performance and education majors don’t need this type of knowledge as much because they need to study a great deal of classical music, jazz, older styles of music to understand it all from the beginning, but if musicians aren’t being taught how things are changing and aren’t presented proven methods to market their music and make a living, then the education isn’t really preparing anyone for a real life career in the music industry.

I honestly think that every music school and program should create some kind of music business or music production degree.  Something that will open musicians eyes to the possibilities and empower them to have prosperous careers with the tools available and the tools that they are capable of creating.

Thoughts and comments?

See also: Daily Dose – 21st Century Skills For A 21st Century Economy.


The New Music Entrepreneur | Small Business Trends

5 03 2010

The New Music Entrepreneur | Small Business Trends.

This article states some very pertinent trends in the music industry.  I’ve been thinking for quite a while after studying P2P services and how they are affecting the industry that the recording industry would change dramatically or simply keel over and die.

Music entrepreneurship and people with innovative ideas are what the music industry needs now.  No more are the days where the musician feels that in order to “make it big” he needs to sign a 30 page contract to some record label, there are completely independent bands that have sold 300,000 albums in the course of three years with no distributors and no record label.  (See: for more on that.)

Everything is moving online, and moving to the individual people.  Home based businesses, small businesses, start-ups seem to be more and more common and the music industry is going the same way as the rest of the corporate world.  Independent artists are becoming independent entrepreneurs as well.

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.