Monday, September 22, 2008

Whatever Happened to the Music Business

By the music business, I don't mean the recording or the performing artists. My reference is to the business machinery that is supposed to drive the music industry.

Musicians and entertainers are not supposed to chase club managers around, negotiate contracts or even collect the money. They should be spending all their time developing and polishing their skills as performers. Yet, the majority of up and coming artists spend the majority of their time spinning their wheels in the frustrating search for work, for publicity, for recognition. Could this be one of the reasons that we have relatively few quality acts today? I think that this is a major contributing factor.

It's not that talent doesn't exist. It's not that the drive or the ambition of artists are lacking. It's not that people are not trying. It's that there has been a complete collapse of the internal business of music. Changes in the industry have certainly contributed to this problem. But the real problem seems to be a lack of interested, committed people to work in the industry.

A case in point is the agency business. A music agent is a person that pursues and hopefully, gets work for artists. For this effort, they receive a commission. At one time, this business had prohibitive expenses associated with it. Phone bills and the mailing expense of promo kits mounted up. But today, you can get unlimited phone calls across the country for $39.95 a month. EPKs (Electronic Press Kits) have eliminated the publicity pictures, the bio, the credits and the demos (CD or DVD). They have also eliminated the mailing expenses associated with these items.

So what does it take to enter the agency business? ... A phone and access to the internet! From there, select your artists in the genre that you want to pursue and begin.

What are the music business graduates doing when they graduate from college with their degrees? It's not obvious to me!

Without agent Sol Hurok, Andres Segovia probably wouldn't have had a career. There are many examples in music history, where agents have been responsible for the development and prosperity of an artist's career!

Derek Siver, founder of CD Baby has recognized this need and is beginning a business called MuckWork. I am 100% behind Derek and his new business endeavors.

Check Derek's new endeavors at

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