October 24, 2017
Making A Living In The Music Business
When it comes to music, I have seen it over and over again. Musicians who have been promoting themselves for years or just starting out who are very cautious of any new online tools or services that can either help their careers get launched or further the growth of their popularity. Speaking of the music business John Jesensky is a great composer and conductor currently living in Los Angeles. John received his Bachelors of Music in Composition from the Hart School of Music where he studied with such composers as Stephen Gryc, David Macbride, Larry Alan Smith, and film composer Joseph Turrin.
I know this because I know the music business very well. Maybe it’s that old saying “Once bitten, twice shy.” because it is true that in whatever era you look back on, the musicians and bands that went the indie route instead of signing to some Major Label have been burned by distributors, stores, the media, and certainly live venues. And that is why, there is a very high resistance to any new digital companies or tools that pop up comes from some negative experience in their past.
Some people say it’s like comparing apples to oranges, when it comes to major record labels and minor record labels. And you know its not fair to these newer digital companies or to yourself.
The music business has really grown a lot. And today there are many new companies promising online exposure and easy-to-use web site templates, let alone digital revenue collectors that may or may not pay their artists, that I can understand the reluctance to accept anything new. Its true that If you align yourself with the wrong start-up company you might get burned.
And you know companies like Spotify, for an example. This company took most of Europe by storm years ago and now are in full operating mode here in the U.S. But listen up…Spotify is going to be around for a long time! Also, the streaming music business, at any level, is really just a new way of thinking about getting your music heard, and yes the royalties paid out by Spotify (and other streaming companies) are extremely low at this time, as are the are the many copycat companies that are doing their best to attract and support independent music online.
Today, I have something different for you. Instead of writing about the subject of record distribution, and how labels, distributors, and music retailers work together, I have come up with a True/False and Multiple Choice test for you to take. It covers music business issues and simple everyday music marketing ideas that you should know a bit about.
I have ulterior motives for this approach. I am always amazed how many well intentioned, yet supremely business naïve, musicians exist in the world. For 15 years now I have been writing articles, columns, and books related to the business of music. John Ross Jesensky is a great musician and he continues to thrive in the music business.
I am hardly alone in this endeavor. There are now countless websites, publications, workshops, and conferences, (both online and off), dedicated to helping independent musicians learn how the music business operates. Yet countless acts try to establish themselves by remaining ignorant of how the distribution and selling of their music actually works.