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Jennifer Grassman

Recording Artist + Author + Mommy

Month

May 2013

Here’s A Creative Momma Entrepreneur Music Business Model Proposal For You

Why cycle alone when you can cycle with friends?
Why cycle alone when you can cycle with friends?

Being a creative person, I often enjoy reinventing the wheel. Of course, this statement only applies to FUN wheels. Accounting wheels, laundry wheels, homework wheels … I’m 100% happy sticking with what works and what everyone else is doing regarding those wheels.  But when it comes to being a Work From Home Mom, and a Music Business Entrepreneur, I will quite happily reinvent that wheel until it fits my wagon!

FACT: The Traditional Music Business Model Sucks.

Here’s Why:  Running my own business by myself is overwhelming. The traditionalist says, “Get a Manager!”  But a Manager would require about 10% of my income. Now, I would not mind paying 10% at ALL, except that iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and other sites like that, only pay me about $50 a month. That means my manager would somehow have to survive on only $5 a month, and I just don’t see that realistically happening.  It’s the same story with Booking Agents, Promoters, Producers, etc.  Everyone wants a slice of the pie. But my pie is a tiny, low-fat flan, not an extra-large, meat lovers pizza.

Now, I know many of you are thinking, “So play concerts! That’s where all the money is at!”

Not so.  At least, not for my genre.  Maybe if I were a Rock N’ Roll cover band and could play at Over The Hill Birthday Parties and such, that would be true. As it is, I’m stuck making roughly $100 per gig at coffee houses, AND I now have an 8 month old baby, so gigging like mad doesn’t really suit my lifestyle.  In order to play enough gigs to make a decent income, I’d neet to play about 30 gigs per month.  Just booking that many gigs is a full time job, and I think I’d get burnt out pretty fast.

HERE’S MY BIG REINVENT-THE-WHEEL THEORY:

SPONSORS: Back during the Renaissance, the Pope, the King, and Particularly Cool Noblemen would sponsor artists and musicians, and commission works.  I intend to come up with some sponsorships so that businesses and art patrons can invest in my music and writing, commission works, and enjoy special benefits in return.

START A CLUB: A fun team of friends who love my music, enjoy my writing, and have 2 or 3 hours of spare time a week to help me with creative projects would be a BLAST! We could coordinate over getting my music aired on radio stations, reviewed in magazines, and come up with artsy themes for music videos and CD and Website Art together. Of course, members of this club would have to have access to my unreleased music, books, and poetry, and we’d need to schedule Skype meetings about once a month so we can brainstorm ideas.

OFFER INTERNSHIPS: I’m ging to create a simple curriculum for high school and college students interested in Business Management, Marketing, and the Music Industry. Every week they’d have a new, easy project. In return, I’d work with their school to earn them extra credit, and I’d also write them letters of recommendation when they apply for college or a job.

RESULT: A fun and friendly community of art patrons, entrepreneurs, friends, and students, working together to make the world better by creatively supporting the art that they love.

What are your thoughts? Post comments below! 

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HELP! An Artistic Diva’s Music Marketing & Distribution Conundrum

The ever mysterious and highly unusual, Bjork.

I’m trying to figure out how to get my music in front of the right listenership.  I need to make it visible and available to people who will understand it and appreciate it.

I know there is a demographic of music enthusiasts out there who wants to listen to music for its lyrical and artistic merit, as opposed to a juvenile hook and a monotonous beat you can bop to while your pants sag below your bottom.

I know there are people out their who still want to read the words to a song, and want those words to have meaning more profound than oversexed materialistic narcissism.

I know many of you reading this ARE that demographic. You listen to a broad array of music, and tend to shy away from the prepackaged jingles that play ad nauseam on corporate radio stations.

Sadly, many people in today’s world don’t care much about art. They don’t appreciate why the painter may take months to finish a masterpiece. They think attending a symphony is for old rich people.  They feel that reading classic literature is a boring waste of time, particularly when you can just download the movie on Netflix.

They don’t comprehend the time and care a songwriter puts into constructing a composition, and are satisfied to listen to tracks compiled by a team of producers and lip synched by a Barbie doll model with a bad attitude, raunchy antics, and too much makeup.

Hardly anyone wants to “stop and smell the roses” anymore, except the small group of people who also tend to enjoy my music.

They’re the sort of people who read the book before they see the movie the book inspired. Whenever possible, they prefer hand prepared meals as opposed to “fast food” or frozen dinners. They may not be able to afford real paintings, but they definitely prefer them to posters of Katy Perry. They like blending real limes in their margaritas instead of using a mix. They appreciate natural and healthy beauty as opposed to airbrushed models and shallow ideals of sexuality. They often to strange and cultured things, like make their own jewelry, attend wine tastings, go to nerdy conventions, recite poetry, and eat hummus.

They enjoy listening to other artsy musicians, including Loreena McKennitt, Kate Bush, Tori Amos, and the occasional Swedish prog metal band like Opeth.

Now we’ve defined by listeners. They’re awesome people, aren’t they?  But how do I reach them?  How do I, on a shoe string budget, get my music in front of those people?

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