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Musicians Are the Business at Music Biz 2019

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Gone are the days when every musician's path to success was nearly identical and based on the time tested record, release, tour and repeat model. The journey of a music entrepreneur is much different in 2019 than it was even twenty years ago before smart phones and high-speed Internet began to level the playing field while dismantling the long established structure of the music industry. We learned all this and more at the annual Music Biz Conference held May 5 through 8 at the sparkling new JW Marriott in downtown Nashville, Tennessee.

Musicians Are the Business at Music Biz 2019

Music Biz 2019, powered by the Music Business Association, was packed with informative panels and numerous opportunities to network. The multi-day conference "united leaders in the commerce, content and creative communities across the globe to discuss the future of the music business and to build relationships that will steer the industry for years to come." Today's artists not only have to make quality music but they must have a good understanding of the business side and Music Biz 2019 armed attendees with the tools that they will need.

"The Journey of the Music Entrepreneur" examined and explored the steps of starting a business. This panel featured Elizabeth Chan, J Anthony Allen co-founder/CEO of Slam Academy and Brian Penick a former musician turned venture capitalist who has launched several startups in the music, tech, and education sectors, including The Counter Rhythm Group, Musicians Desk Reference, and Soundstr (acquired by VNUE, Inc.), among others.

Elizabeth for example was passionate about Christmas music but could not find a label to release her material so she founded Merry Bright Music. With hard work and investors Chan now has multiple top 10 Billboard charting singles and is a regular on holiday playlists. Elizabeth along with her fellow panelists emphasized giving your investors value - look at what they do and ask how you would be a fit for them. Search for collaborative relationships where you can barter or give a benefit to the other person in other words win-win agreements. Other tidbits from the three were - make something that exists better, know your worth, network, be flexible, be grateful, be honest, put it out to the universe and do not let fear stop you.

Musicians Are the Business at Music Biz 2019
"A Fireside Chat with RaeLynn" was instructive and informative.

While traditional outlets like the CD and retail stores have mostly gone the way of the dodo the industry has been reborn through streaming and other options. "The Future Is Now Music Experiences" showcased modern concepts, products and services. Attendees saw firsthand the exciting developments in VR, Hi-Res Audio, Interactive Music and Immersive Audio presented by Astell&Kern, Bluesound, MQA, dCS, Qobuz, Sony, Jammer, Oiid, Song.AI, and Streemliner.

Clearly, artists now more than ever can take their art straight to their fans via many D2C (direct to consumer) options. Outlets such as Facebook and Instagram let musicians reach their adherents at instantaneous speed but that innovation comes with its own challenges. At the "Fireside Chat" with rising star RaeLynn the Voice alumni cautioned fellow musicians to keep their interaction with fans at a courteous and professional level and to be wary of revealing too much information lest they attract cyber stalkers now known as trolls in the modern era.

"Artists in Control: The Changing Landscape of Artists and Their Partners" featured speakers Ben Patterson, Brittany Hodak, Jon Bahr and Jessi Tichenor. All four shared their expertise as they discussed important concepts such as marketing, matrixes, publishing and team building. They advised artists to be creative and flexible in planning and releasing albums, singles and streams by engaging fans with stories. E-mails and social media are other methods that musicians can use to connect with people. Memberships along with VIP packages also encourage relationships.

Musicians Are the Business at Music Biz 2019

In regards to publishing, they said to hold on to your rights unless you need the money to finance a goal. Make sure you understand the terms or consider using a publishing administrator as you may be able to monetize your back catalogue in the future. Lastly, be honest, don't fake matrixes but confirm that you have real listeners. Other panels touched on these important concepts adding that artists need to ensure that their teams are on the same page and data along with funds must be used wisely.

The workshop entitled "Music 2020: The Next Era of Innovation in the Music Industry" explored the art and process of ideation and profiled a number of developing innovations within the music industry including augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), blockchain and crypotcurrency. The panel noted that technology has and will change how consumers listen to music and a savvy artist can work these trends to their advantage.

And on that note, now is a great time to think outside the box or even inside the car. "Music And The Ride-Sharing Economy" explored the idea of integrating music with ridesharing. Some of the concepts being considered are customized radio stations, streaming apps, analyzing engagement based on region and time of day with the goal of both the driver and rider having a great musical experience.

In conclusion, the music industry will continue to change. Music Biz 2019 and future conferences hosted by the Music Business Association will assist artists in navigating current and future trends. For 61 years, the MBA has sought out best practices in an evolving environment. Today, technology has put much of the power in the hands of musicians and those that understand the business/marketing sides have a better chance of success in this competitive field.

Musicians Are the Business at Music Biz 2019
Elizabeth Chan took us on "The Journey of the Music Entrepreneur".

Related Links: For more information on the MUSIC BUSINESS ASSOCIATION and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Music Biz


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