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The Artist as Entrepreneur

Posted by admin | November 16, 2009 7:05 pm | No Comments

It used to be that an aspiring musician would develop his act through live performances with the hope that someday he would land a gig in a high profile club where he would be among the privileged few that was discovered by the A&R guy from the big record company. Then, if all went well, he would go on to record a hit radio single that would launch his career.

But the digital age is turning out to be the great democratizer for artists. Digital music recording has evolved dramatically over the last decade and in place of precious studio time at great cost; musicians are using software programs, ranging from those with the basic features of Garage Band to the sophisticated capability of Pro Tools, to create high quality recordings. The artist, Moby, actually recorded his most well-known work in the bedroom of his New York apartment.

A less established artist than Moby, however, has to take the initiative to distribute a completed song or album. There are a number of music aggregators such as The Orchard, CD Baby and IODA that will manage an artist’s work including distribution, reporting and royalty payments. Another path is to set up an account with Tunecore for the digital distribution of MP3 tracks. MediaNet ingests content from these companies for inclusion in the many online music services it powers.

Another key ingredient, after recording and distribution, is marketing. Artists are creatively using all the online tools at their disposal including building fan lists, sending out email blasts to promote new releases, using MySpace and Facebook pages, and building their own web sites. Companies like WeMix, ReverbNation and TopSpin are specifically designed to give artists more exposure. Recently WeMix signed on with MediaNet to enable the sale of music content through their web site and others are following suit.

Many artists would still be thrilled to have a big label sign them, but they don’t have to wait for that to happen.  Like any successful entrepreneur, an artist can use the digital tools available to turn their work into their business.

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