Recently, I was asked to be part of the Modern Musician Show with Colin Thomson. Colin is doing a fantastic job with this new podcast, which is devoted to musicians who are working to make music more of a profession than just a hobby that occasionally makes money.
Today’s environment for musicians is simultaneously tougher than ever and yet loaded with more opportunities than ever. It’s a crowded space, and record labels are becoming less and less a factor in the success of a particular artist. With so many digital distribution channels available, it’s easier than ever for a musician to directly reach the end-user of their “product” — the music. With all the digital production tools that are readily available, producing an amazing recording is also more within reach than ever — especially for those with a good ear and a willingness to spend the time on production.
The problem, however, is that music “buyers” have been trained — now more than ever — to expect that they should be able to listen to their favorite artists for free. Colin made a very poignant argument about this fact when we discussed (off-air) the transition from Napster-era free downloading via “music sharing” to today’s Spotify / Pandora / Google Play Music / Apple Music environment. As Taylor Swift has famously made everyone aware, the new version works well for big artists, and not so well for the lesser-known.
With all that in mind, Colin will have plenty to talk about for a long time to come. Since I’m not a “working” musician at the moment, I had less to contribute to the “music business” end of the discussion, but Colin wanted to tap my experience training business owners and entrepreneurs who have less knowledge of digital marketing to perhaps share with some less-experienced musicians in his audience about how to prioritize their efforts at getting the word out online. Thus, we talked about how to run your music like a business.
Although we certainly talked about musicians, I think the discussion would be useful for just about any “creative” who freelances or makes their art available to the public.
Thanks, Colin, for having me on! It was a fun show!