Tommy Darker: Rise of the Musicpreneur (Midem 2014)
Musician, music coach, writer and thinker Tommy Darker gave a fantastic presentation on the “rise of the musicpreneur” at the Midem 2014 music conference. Check it out:
He starts by making an important point: The discussion around the digital music business is often framed around the companies offering services to artists, and not the artists themselves. YouTube, subscriptions, streaming, brands… these are the buzzwords of the music biz, and they revolve around companies, not musicians.
Taking a cue from the tech world, Darker suggests bands develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and continue to prototype. Labels and musicians often go through great time and expense to develop the perfect debut studio album and marketing campaign. By taking the MVP approach, the artist can progressively improve their product and service, getting maximum exposure with a steady stream of audio and video releases.
We appreciated his mention of the Business Model Canvas, a really cool tool for entrepreneurs for developing and defining a business model. Bands can use this simple and free template as a way to organize what can be a sometimes overwhelming complexity of factors to consider when running a band like a business.
Creating and testing hypotheses is another important part of startup strategy, and goes hand in hand with a band’s business model. Musicians must test assumptions about their market, and adapt goals to gain fans, exposure and money.
As a musician, Darker respects the artist’s need to be creative for creativity’s sake, and keeping money a separate issue. Nonetheless, to accomplish something truly great with your music — and a sustainable career from music is pretty damn great if you ask any musician — one must understand where the value is and how to grow it.
Persistence is another key asset Darker highlights as necessary for the successful musicpreneur. “Nobody owes you a living,” he says, noting how critical a tenacious and unrelenting attitude is to establishing and keeping a music career.
Darker wraps up his talk by interviewing two musicians who are following the musicpreneur model. They share some interesting artistic/business philosophy behind their approach, and offer a glimpse into the encouraging future of a music business under artist control.
Follow Tommy Darker at his official website and definitely check out the Midem video if you have a moment.
I think what Tommy is saying is right. He is speaking about having a good method. And which is conflicted with audience comment ” we are singers we will sing, and that is most important.. But there are so many of them. But this is time to take musicpreneurship seriously. Having a joint business, or complimentary activities where you can earn money from ,will always support once music career, Best example for this would be have a Internet Business module, like blogging site, or service site, or social network etc, which you can scale to any limit, and provided a stable income, and freedom to do what you do, without worrying about trends, platforms etc. What not have control on the Promotion process, this way You could be helpful to other musicians and most to yourself too.
I agree. The attitude “I am a musician so I only have to focus on music, I don’t have to think about or understand business” is preposterous and unique to music. It’s as if a florist said, “I am a florist so I only have to make flower arrangements, I don’t have to think about or understand business.” I mean, you can always make minimum wage arranging flowers for some other florist who understands business, but there aren’t many of those jobs available because the overhead is such that it makes sense to go into business for yourself. For a long time, there was huge overhead in producing records and developing artists, it made a certain kind of sense for an artist to risk their entire career and risk being exploited in exchange for a loan to cover that overhead — not anymore. When you open a flowershop, you’re still a florist first and foremost, but you’re also a businessperson, you understand business and engage it in when it protects your ability to continue doing what you love — arranging flowers — for the rest of your life. This argument really boils down to the romantic notion of artist as pure creativity, and the tough reality that we live in a world ruled by money and if you don’t make it doing what you love, you’ll get to do less of what you love.
Things are very simple: there needs to be a switch which directs your mind from business to art. Once the switch can happen with ease, you can then see the beauty of it – and the creative and rewarding results. If you never believe that art can be married with entrepreneurship, you will never achieve it.
There’s nothing wrong with artists today, they’re more creative than ever before. It’s the ongoing hostility and negative mindset towards Musicpreneurship that’s wrong and unjustified, as Zac emphasizes as well.
Thanks for your comment, really appreciate it. If you have any further questions, get in touch with me @ pehlivanrocks at gmail.com
Positive energy and love,