Whether it’s working as an artist making music and performing, scouting fresh talent as an A&R, running iconic brands or managing global artists, the music industry is one of the most exciting in the world. However, success in this creative space can be tough at times. That’s why we’ve gathered a number of essential tips from those who’ve done it all before, our Music Industry Management Degree course developers and lecturers. If you’re interested in learning more about how the industry works, our new degree programme focuses on just this. Find out more about our BA (Hons) Music Industry Management Degree (Online) here.
In this instalment of industry tips, Jen Anderson, a music marketing specialist, sheds light on how to grow your fanbase as an artist or manager as well as the importance of building a solid network of relationships. Andy Reynolds, an international tour manager and live audio engineer, focuses on the goals one should set themselves as a producer/DJ and Lindsay Wesker, the man behind MTV Base and MTV Dance, explains just how important building your website can be.
If you’re looking to learn how to make a noise in the music industry, our school in London and online can help. Our courses are run by industry professionals with timeless experience and skills in the world of music production. Plus, we’re currently offering 25% off our selected London, online and Los Angeles courses until 31st August using the codes LONDON25, ONLINE25 and LA25.
Jen Anderson – Waving Bear / Universal Music Group / Live Nation (Music Industry Management Degree Lead Course Developer)
Jen Anderson, the Lead Course Developer of the Music Industry Management Degree, specialises in marketing, management, live and A&R. During her career in the industry she’s scouted new, boundary-pushing talent for Fiction Records, toured with the likes of Izzy Bizu, Nero, Iggy Azalea and Eliza Doolittle, managed acts signed to Ministry of Sound, Ultra Records and Ninja Tune and booked award-winning venue King Tuts. Jen is also a Music Business Lecturer, Course Developer, Module Leader and Internal Verifier at Point Blank since 2012.
1. Don’t focus on getting the industry’s attention, focus on the fans
If you are a recording/performing artist, or the manager of one, the only thing you need to have a music career is a fanbase. In 2014 the IFPI stated that from their research they found that 70% of unsigned artists wanted a record deal. I think that so many musicians still think that getting a record deal will be their golden ticket to a long and fulfilling career, but there are no guarantees. Rather than spending hours emailing demos to record labels, artists should instead focus on emailing radio stations, blogs, press, playlist curators, music supervisors and communicating with fans on social media, email and in person.
2. Don’t spend all your time on music
Linking into what I was talking about above, artists and their managers should spend just as much time marketing their music as they do making it. Great music is essential but there is no point in making it if nobody is going to hear it!
3. Split your income sources
Whether you are a songwriter, recording artist, A&R, manager or the head of a major record company, it’s wise for you to have multiple income sources. The music industry is not the most stable industry where a reliable income source can vanish quite quickly. If you want to remain in the industry, then you want to have some form of backup. It doesn’t have to be a second full-time job, just something that can tide you over until you are back on your feet.
4. Build a network
This is something that will likely be on everyone’s top tips list but it is exceptionally important. I recently wrote a piece into the Music Industry Management course notes about relevance and power. I was looking at the importance of staying relevant and also the sources of power. The main sources of power are friendships, money, access, latest successes and staying power – but friendships are probably the most important. The friendships that you build during your time of relevance will be the most important thing you can have when your relevance is fading as they will be the ones to step up and help you out to get back on track. The power of the people you have as friends and in your contact book can provide you with opportunities to keep your career going.
Andy Reynolds – George Fitzgerald / Maribou State / Squarepusher (Music Industry Management Course Developer & Lecturer)
Andy Reynolds has worked as an international concert tour manager and live audio engineer for over 25 years. He’s toured continuously throughout this time, working on an average of 200 shows per year. Andy has worked with the likes of George Fitzgerald, Maribou State, Maverick Sabre, All-American Rejects, House of Pain, Machine Head, Nightmares on Wax, Pavement, Roots Manuva, Squarepusher and more as well as touring with U2, Whitney Houston, Manic Street Preachers, and Foo Fighters. He has written three books about the live music business and is currently working on his fourth.
“It’s important to have goals for your live shows/ DJ work and have a strategy based on them. Goals give you a way to measure your continuing success and the strategy helps you achieve those goals.
Your goals should be: 1) impress the audience 2) gain new fans and 3) sell merchandise and/or get another show.
Booking as many shows as possible is not a viable strategy – it does not align itself with any of your goals. For instance, accepting a 7-1 am slot in a city bar on a Thursday night won’t achieve any of the three goals above, unless you can persuade the organiser to make this a regular weekly gig (this weekly pay assures you of a regular, secure income).
So, consider any show offer or booking in context, beyond the initial excitement of actually having a show. Examine each show you get offered and ask yourself these questions: How will this affect my studies at Point Blank (or wherever you’re studying/working for that matter)? What potential is there to build my audience? How much money will I have to spend on transport, rehearsing, flyers, and equipment, for the show? Which taste-makers may there be at the show? How much am I going to enjoy the show?
Work out your strategy and stick to it. You will eliminate guesswork and indecision which will make you productive and happier with your progress.”
Lindsay Wesker – MTV / Kiss FM / WEA Records (Music Industry Management Course Developer & Music Industry Lecturer)
Before joining the music industry, Lindsay Wesker had a history of writing professionally for TV and radio play. He worked at Black Echoes newspaper as a journalist, rising to Deputy Editor, before moving on to become an A&R man at WEA Records and then A&M Records. He began broadcasting on Kiss FM in 1986 becoming Head Of Music before returning to A&R, working at Avex Records, Mushroom Records, and ZTT. Lindsay was employed by MTV to create the iconic MTV Base which led him on to launch MTV Hits and MTV Dance. He now graces the airwaves every Saturday at 1pm presenting ‘The A-Z Of Mi-Soul Music’ on www.mi-soul.com.
“My top tip is to focus on your website and not on your favoured social networking site. At one point, MySpace was the be-all and end-all of everybody’s life, and now no one even uses it! So, l advise all students to put their energy into their website and use it to feed their social networking sites.”
If you’re interested in learning about the industry in more depth, we’re currently enrolling for our BA (Hons) Music Industry Management Degree (Online) cohort. This new comprehensive and innovative programme is proving to be very popular following our fully booked initial start. Head here to secure your place and If you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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