Monday, March 14, 2011

Successful Musicians are Really Entrepreneurs

I wrote, in a recent blog post , about how the current music industry is wrestling with massive change due to outside forces   Free digital downloading and the rise of online and mobile applications have driven the traditional industry (recording, publishing, distributing, retailing of cd’s) to be an unattractive industry in which to enter or compete.  This change, however, is leading artists to become more creative in finding new avenues for developing a fan base.  Musicians are becoming the entrepreneurs of our age.

I like to read the thoughts of David Kusek – David is Vice President at Berklee College of Music and CEO of Berkleemusic, the world's largest online music school.  I don’t know David, but he has a lot of very progressive thoughts as to where the highly volatile world of music recording and publishing is going. David recently posted on his blog “the Future of Music” some thoughts on Strategies for Success for musicians.  If you read these strategies, they are dead on for any startup or entrepreneur.  Here is his list:

  1. Living a life in music is a privilege. Earn it.
  2. No one is in charge of your muse but you. Be happy and positive.
  3. Practice, practice, practice – then go for it. Over prepare.
  4. If you suck, you will never make it. Find a way to be great.
  5. Learn how to breathe and keep your focus. Stay calm.
  6. Don’t take yourself too seriously, no one else does. Have fun.
  7. No matter how difficult things get, move forward. Don’t give up.
  8. Find a way to make money. Start small and grow. Avoid being in debt.
  9. Be unique and true to your vision. Say something.
  10. Work and play with people yourself like every day. Collaborate Often.

Being a musician, now more than ever, is much like a startup venture.  The artists who are making it  are developing the skills of how to differentiate, create, and successfully market that brand.  Record companies that once had the clout to “pluck stars out of thin air”, now find the power of the market turning toward the most creative musicians   Successful artists are entrepreneurs, and the record labels have less clout in the digital download world, so musicians are making their own way and finding their own audiences.  Their example is the example for any startup.

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