Band as Business, Musician as Entrepreneur
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Band as Business, Musician as Entrepreneur

How to earn a career as a professional musician by composing, performing and recording the songs you love to share.
4.5 (96 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
6,101 students enrolled
Created by John Snyder
Last updated 5/2013
English
English [Auto-generated]
Price: Free
Includes:
  • 5.5 hours on-demand video
  • 12 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Understand why musicians and artists are small business entrepreneurs
  • Understand that writing songs, recording, and performing music makes provides you with economic and legal rights from which revenue flows
  • Understand possible business entities and the legalities of group issues
  • Understand the importance of developing a strategic approach to your businesses by setting goals and making and implementing plans
  • Understand the aesthetic and technical issues of composition, songwriting, recording, and performing
  • Understand the business and legal issues of composition, songwriting, recording, and performing
  • Understand marketing and promotion in terms of shared values, conversations, and permission marketing
  • Understand distribution platforms, how distribution follows marketing
  • Understand licensing and how to allow others to use your rights
  • Understand crowd sourcing
  • Understand the importance of getting and retaining customers and the importance of data, research, and networking to make it possible to improve in all areas.
  • Understand that music is a part of a larger, multi-faceted “Creative Life”
  • Understand the importance of follow through, continuity, making and implementing plans
  • Understand what it takes to create a sustainable career in the creative arts
View Curriculum
Requirements
  • A passion for music - writing it, recording it, performing it, or listening to it
  • An interest in the legal and business implications of music composition, recording, and performance
  • An interest in how the music business works and a curiosity about why some musicians make it and some don’t
Description

How do I earn money with music? Every musician asks themselves this question at some point. Few receive an answer in the form of a career in music.

This course gives you all the answers you need to succeed as a professional musician. 

Musician as Entrepreneur: Band as Business features over 5.5 hours of insightful video interviews with 70 of the top music business minds. We won't bore you with lectures. We offer only practical, specific, real-world advice from the likes of Jimmy Iovine, Glen Ballard, Irv Gotti, Jerry Moss, Martin Atkins, Ray Parker Jr., Randy Newman, Don Passman, Dave Stewart, Wayne Kramer and Lawrence Lessig, to name just a few.

Alongside the video, in-depth PDF lesson guides are provided to steer you through the course. Each section covers a critical component of the music career, and you'll find a book's worth of material to pore through. We also list additional online resources from Artists House so you can dive deeply into your area of interest.

The purpose of this course is to help musicians make money by understanding that the music they write, record and perform creates business and legal rights that will help them create sustainable careers.  It’s practical, it’s philosophical, and it’s determined to help you, the musician, and you the music entrepreneur, understand the legal foundations and business opportunities inherent in doing what you love.   

  • How to think: Understand musicians, bands, and performing artists as businesses and the best practices available for their sustainability.
  • How to know: Understand excellence in respect of the production processes and the specific legal and business consequences of a musician’s creative work.
  • How to share: Understand the process and consequences of publishing, sharing, giving, licensing, distributing, selling, and marketing opportunities in respect of the creative work of the musician and the performing artist.
  • The way forward: Understand the processes for sustainability and continuity, the availability and role of online resources and outsourcing, and the importance of personal development and business growth. 

Who is the target audience?
  • Beginners and young musicians who want to understand how the music business works and where they fit into it
  • Anyone interested in a career in music
  • Any musician, amateur or professional, looking for ways of making more money making music
  • Professional musicians and bands who want to move to the next level
  • Music teachers on all educational levels
  • Parents of children considering a career in music
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
Curriculum For This Course
28 Lectures
06:48:31
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Introduction
2 Lectures 02:24
Welcome
1 page

1.  INTRODUCTION

Welcome to our course on Band as Business and Musician as Entrepreneur.  In this brief video introduction I will explain what the course is about and some of the topics it encompasses.  

The course is a collection of video reels and documents organized into Sections by topic.  The videos are all on the Artists House website in their complete forms.

In addition to the materials in the course, there are many more resources available on Artists House that will elaborate on each topic and its related keywords, people, site pages, and editor’s guides.  We will provide you with links to those resources to further expand your knowledge and awareness of all of the topics discussed in the course.

Thank you for joining us and please feel free to ask questions.  We will do our best to respond.  We hope you enjoy the course and that it will help you develop a sustainable career in the world of music and art and in the creative life.

Introduction
02:24
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What it Takes
2 Lectures 15:56
It Picks You
2 pages

2.  WHAT IT TAKES:  It Picks You

The advice from the gentlemen who you will see in this reel is that you should only consider a career in music if you can’t do anything else!  You have to believe that your music needs to be heard and you must have the determination to make that happen.  

You probably wouldn’t be taking this course if you were not already passionate about music and committed to the creative life.  What you do has the power to affect people’s lives in a positive or provocative way if not to change the world.  We don’t have to argue about the consequences of Beethoven or Bob Dylan.  

If you call yourself a musician, you are a musician.  You job is to get better at it and understand how your love for music can also sustain you financially.  Your work and your future are important to the cultural and economic development of your community and this country.  We will do everything possible to help you create a sustainable career in the creative life. 

What it Takes
15:56
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Musician as Entrepreneur
2 Lectures 20:49
Why You Are a Business
12 pages

3.  MUSICIAN AS ENTREPRENEUR:  Why You Are A Business

This collection of video clips is designed to wake you up to who you are. If you write, record or play music, you are a small business whether you know it or like it.  Copyright says so.  Copyright provides you the rights of publication automatically when you “fix your work in a tangible form” and it is those rights that make you a music publisher or recording company.  

It’s about the hardest job in the world but it’s also the most rewarding.  If you think there’s a gap between doing what you do and making money from it, you would be mistaken.  The same creativity and originality you bring to making your music applies to how you go about “publishing” and sharing it.  Music is communication and that implies that someone is on the other end of the conversation.  It’s a mutual exchange of value that may reach the level of friendship.

You are a business by virtue of the Constitution of the United States of America.  You’re lucky.  We’ll explain this more as the course goes on but know this:  you have legal advantages and business opportunities that will allow you to do what you love AND support your family AND enrich the cultural economy of this world.

Apply the art of business to the business of your art.

Musician as Entrepreneur
20:49
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Copyright
3 Lectures 48:45
Why Copyright Makes You a Business
10 pages

4.  COPYRIGHT:  Why It Makes You A Business

Everything you create that is original, tangible, and falls within the eight categories of copyright protected “work” provides you with six “exclusive” rights that you can monetize and from which you can derive income.  

In this section you will learn about those six rights and the eight categories of protected creative “work”.  The ability to make wealth out of your imagination is an amazing advantage.  Feed it, comb it, squeeze it, brush it, take care of it, and most of all USE it!

Songs may be expressions of the heart but they are also powerful economic drivers.  A successful song will make money for you in your sleep.  And more than that, it has the potential of affecting people’s lives in a positive way long after you’ve left the planet.  Wouldn’t it be nice to make a living doing that while you’re ON the planet?  

All of the other categories of protected work have this same potential.  A musician who is active in the production and sharing of her work will be engaging in most of the eight categories of protected creative work, and that is what the creative life is all about.

Copyright - Part 1
28:07

4.  COPYRIGHT:  Why It Makes You A Business

Everything you create that is original, tangible, and falls within the eight categories of copyright protected “work” provides you with six “exclusive” rights that you can monetize and from which you can derive income.  

In this section you will learn about those six rights and the eight categories of protected creative “work”.  The ability to make wealth out of your imagination is an amazing advantage.  Feed it, comb it, squeeze it, brush it, take care of it, and most of all USE it!

Songs may be expressions of the heart but they are also powerful economic drivers.  A successful song will make money for you in your sleep.  And more than that, it has the potential of affecting people’s lives in a positive way long after you’ve left the planet.  Wouldn’t it be nice to make a living doing that while you’re ON the planet?  

All of the other categories of protected work have this same potential.  A musician who is active in the production and sharing of her work will be engaging in most of the eight categories of protected creative work, and that is what the creative life is all about.

Copyright - Part 2
20:38
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Songwriting
2 Lectures 30:51
Songs: The Center of the Universe
7 pages

5.  SONGWRITING/COMPOSITION:  The Center of the Universe

This reel will introduce you to a variety of songwriters as well as several experts in the field talking about the art of songwriting.  These people have one thing in common: they each have their own unique view of what it takes to be a songwriter and how it’s done.  

Songs usually bloom from the heart.  It’s possible to engage the discipline of songwriting on a daily basis but if you don’t feel what you’re writing it’s probably going to sound like it and we won’t feel anything either.  

You can feel something but your powers of expression may be limited, so how do you expand and improve those powers?  I would write out the lyrics of your favorite song or songwriter and see if you can get a feeling for his or her use of metaphor and language.  Try to use their rhythm to write your own lyric; try to write another verse to their song.  This is just an exercise because you certainly cannot add your verse to someone else’s song without the songwriter or publisher’s permission.

The point is, learn from your heroes and develop your own voice, your own style and perspective from there.  Songwriting, like science and literature, painting and inventions, is built on the shoulders of giants.

The rights of publication attach to your song whether it’s a good song or not.  One way to improve your abilities is to “publish” your songs and see what people think of them.  Get some feedback; begin a conversation.  If no one wants to talk to you, you might want to talk about something else!

A songwriter is someone who writes songs!  

Songwriting
30:51
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Music Publishing
3 Lectures 38:30
Publishing: Show Me the Money
4 pages

6.  MUSIC PUBLISHING:  Show Me the Money

Generally speaking, “music publishing” concerns the exploitation of the song.  The “publication” of sound recordings is provided by “record companies” and accomplished by way of “recording contracts”.  This reel and this section are concerned with the publication of the song and the “songwriter’s contract”.  

The rights granted to the songwriter by action of copyright are the rights of publication.  They exist to meet the Constitutional mandate of “securing Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Rights to their respective Writings and Discoveries”.  That means that only the creator or the “Author” of the work can determine how the work is used during the “term” of the copyright.

The “term” of copyright is the period of time that the author/writer has her exclusive rights in the work.  Currently, the term of copyright is 70 years after the death of the author, or the last surviving author if the work is a “joint work”.  Once the term is over, the song goes into the “public domain” and anyone can use it.  If the work is a “work for hire”, the term is 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation.  In the first copyright statutes the term was 14 years with a possible 14-year renewal.  

As Congress passed laws to define and explicate these “exclusive Rights”, the six rights of “publication” were formulated.  In essence, it is these rights of publication that make the songwriter a “music publisher”.  The creator or “author” may “authorize” others to use their rights of publication thereby creating the business of music publishing.

Music Publishing - Part 1
19:00

6.  MUSIC PUBLISHING:  Show Me the Money

Generally speaking, “music publishing” concerns the exploitation of the song.  The “publication” of sound recordings is provided by “record companies” and accomplished by way of “recording contracts”.  This reel and this section are concerned with the publication of the song and the “songwriter’s contract”.  

The rights granted to the songwriter by action of copyright are the rights of publication.  They exist to meet the Constitutional mandate of “securing Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Rights to their respective Writings and Discoveries”.  That means that only the creator or the “Author” of the work can determine how the work is used during the “term” of the copyright.

The “term” of copyright is the period of time that the author/writer has her exclusive rights in the work.  Currently, the term of copyright is 70 years after the death of the author, or the last surviving author if the work is a “joint work”.  Once the term is over, the song goes into the “public domain” and anyone can use it.  If the work is a “work for hire”, the term is 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation.  In the first copyright statutes the term was 14 years with a possible 14-year renewal.  

As Congress passed laws to define and explicate these “exclusive Rights”, the six rights of “publication” were formulated.  In essence, it is these rights of publication that make the songwriter a “music publisher”.  The creator or “author” may “authorize” others to use their rights of publication thereby creating the business of music publishing.

Music Publishing - Part 2
19:30
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Music Production
3 Lectures 43:38
Production: The Process and the People
9 pages

7.  MUSIC PRODUCTION:  The Process and the People

Unlike songwriting, which doesn’t usually require the services of anyone other than the songwriter or writers themselves, the sound recording requires a producer, an engineer, equipment technicians, musicians, arrangers, and a mastering engineer.  Both processes create copyrights but the sound recording copyright is generally the result of a group of people each with specialized  skills and abilities. You may be able to do all of these things yourself but each of them could be a lifetime’s pursuit. 

Producers are responsible for getting great performances from artists and the engineer is responsible for getting those performances on tape or into a digital file.  The producer’s job is to finish, to close, to operate within the constraints of time and money and achieve a result that is both economic and creative and is an accurate representation of the best work of the artist.  

The easy access to the tools of music making and production make it possible for anyone to produce music, just as the mobile phone makes it possible for anyone to be a photographer, or the Internet makes it possible for anyone to be a writer.  But those tools and platforms do not necessarily make you a “good” producer or photographer or writer.  That is entirely dependent on the abilities, skills, talent, and creative sensibilities of those who undertake them.  

The art of recorded music production is a high art and is the only way we have to share our music with more people than those sitting in front of us when we perform it.  It can be an expensive and time consuming process and it can also be a free and spontaneous process.  

In this video reel you will hear from well-known and successful producers and engineers discussing what they do and how they do it.

Music Production - Part 1
22:33

7.  MUSIC PRODUCTION:  The Process and the People

Unlike songwriting, which doesn’t usually require the services of anyone other than the songwriter or writers themselves, the sound recording requires a producer, an engineer, equipment technicians, musicians, arrangers, and a mastering engineer.  Both processes create copyrights but the sound recording copyright is generally the result of a group of people each with specialized  skills and abilities. You may be able to do all of these things yourself but each of them could be a lifetime’s pursuit. 

Producers are responsible for getting great performances from artists and the engineer is responsible for getting those performances on tape or into a digital file.  The producer’s job is to finish, to close, to operate within the constraints of time and money and achieve a result that is both economic and creative and is an accurate representation of the best work of the artist.  

The easy access to the tools of music making and production make it possible for anyone to produce music, just as the mobile phone makes it possible for anyone to be a photographer, or the Internet makes it possible for anyone to be a writer.  But those tools and platforms do not necessarily make you a “good” producer or photographer or writer.  That is entirely dependent on the abilities, skills, talent, and creative sensibilities of those who undertake them.  

The art of recorded music production is a high art and is the only way we have to share our music with more people than those sitting in front of us when we perform it.  It can be an expensive and time consuming process and it can also be a free and spontaneous process.  

In this video reel you will hear from well-known and successful producers and engineers discussing what they do and how they do it.

Music Production - Part 2
21:05
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Recording Contracts
3 Lectures 37:44
Transferring Your Sound Recording Rights
15 pages

8.  RECORDING CONTRACTS:  Transferring Your Sound Recording Rights 

Sound recordings, like songs, receive copyright protection as soon as they are fixed in a tangible means of expression, and by definition, a recording is a tangible means of expression, whether it be in your iPhone or on 24 track analog tape or a Pro-Tools file.

When you sign a recording contract you are transferring these rights to a third party in exchange for the promise of a percentage of the profits.  Don’t hold your breath.  You’d have to sell a zillion records to “recoup” or pay back all of the deductions and reductions the company with apply against your royalties.  In most recording contracts, certainly all of those perpetrated by the “legacy” companies, it is impossible to determine the penny/dollar amount of your royalty by reading the contract.

The old-world recording contract was one of the most one-sided agreements ever written.  They were and are a hundred pages long and always prepared by the company even though it was the artist’s rights that were being transferred.  

So, remember:  the rights under copyright law are yours and if you want to transfer them to someone else, that transfer should be on your terms and in writing.  If the recording company pays you a lot of money for your rights, you will probably have to agree to their terms, but just be sure you understand what that will cost you, because once you do you will probably reconsider your decision to sign a contract that contains such onerous terms and promises very little in return.

Recording Contracts - Part 1
20:25

8.  RECORDING CONTRACTS:  Transferring Your Sound Recording Rights 

Sound recordings, like songs, receive copyright protection as soon as they are fixed in a tangible means of expression, and by definition, a recording is a tangible means of expression, whether it be in your iPhone or on 24 track analog tape or a Pro-Tools file.

When you sign a recording contract you are transferring these rights to a third party in exchange for the promise of a percentage of the profits.  Don’t hold your breath.  You’d have to sell a zillion records to “recoup” or pay back all of the deductions and reductions the company with apply against your royalties.  In most recording contracts, certainly all of those perpetrated by the “legacy” companies, it is impossible to determine the penny/dollar amount of your royalty by reading the contract.

The old-world recording contract was one of the most one-sided agreements ever written.  They were and are a hundred pages long and always prepared by the company even though it was the artist’s rights that were being transferred.  

So, remember:  the rights under copyright law are yours and if you want to transfer them to someone else, that transfer should be on your terms and in writing.  If the recording company pays you a lot of money for your rights, you will probably have to agree to their terms, but just be sure you understand what that will cost you, because once you do you will probably reconsider your decision to sign a contract that contains such onerous terms and promises very little in return.

Recording Contracts - Part 2
17:19
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Performance and Touring
2 Lectures 24:46
Performance: Closing the Creative Loop
7 pages

9.  MUSIC PERFORMANCE:  Closing the Creative Loop

A great show wins.  The best way to do that is to do it as many times as you can in front of as many people as you can.  I’ve worked with many great artists and the one thing they all had in common was a complete dedication to creating a memorable experience for a live audience.  And they made the conscious effort to improve every time they performed.  And they got really mad when someone screwed up their show.  

It is not easy to be great every night.  But it is easy to try to be great every night.  Besides, it’s your job.  It’s a pretty cool job and you want to keep it.

Review each show after you do it.  What did you do well and what can you improve?  Define excellence for every aspect of your show and create a plan to achieve it.

Make your merch as good as your show and sell it as well as you sell your songs when you perform.  Give the venue a percentage before they ask for it, partner up.  Make them as much money as you can.  If you can’t sell your music to people sitting in front of you, to whom else are you going to sell it?  

Make friends, collect data, know the market.  Be remarkable.  Do something that people remark on.  

Performance and Touring
24:46
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Marketing
3 Lectures 29:22
Sharing is Caring
4 pages

MARKETING:  Sharing is Caring

This is an exciting group of video clips.  There are some original thinkers here.  I think you will find their ideas compelling and enlightening.

Sharing implies marketing just as much as selling does.  You have to identify who you are sharing with before you determine the method or identify the distribution channels for accomplishing that.  There are no more one-way messages in the new world of marketing.  Markets are conversations; marketing is about shared values and less about demographics than share interests.

Marketers often think in terms of the 4 P’s:  product, price, promotion and place.  If you think of these as interlocking circles you will find a place in the center where they all overlap.  That’s your target market.  

Once you clearly identify those aspects of marketing, you will develop your ideas regarding how to interact with your target market.  As Professor O’Connell points out, you will have to act with grace, kindness, authenticity, gratitude, and generosity and get people’s permission to market your music to them.  This is something you have to ask for and earn. 

The days of manipulation, inauthenticity, and one-way mass marketing proclamations are over.  Now it is about understanding and caring about your customers and their values and aligning them with your own.  

Marketing
29:22

This bonus guide is written by Zac Shaw, who produced the Musician as Entrepreneurship: Band as Business course with John Snyder. Shaw writes about issues of concern to musicians on his Mediapocalypse blog.
Digital Music Strategy (Bonus Guide)
11 pages
2 More Sections
About the Instructor
John Snyder
4.5 Average rating
96 Reviews
6,101 Students
1 Course
Make Music, Make Meaning, Make Money

John Snyder is the founder and president of the Artists House Foundation, a nonprofit music company dedicated to creating educational presentations in several areas, including instruction for instruments, master classes, careers in the arts, and legendary performers. In addition to his producing career, Snyder has held positions at the upper levels of many major recording companies. As the assistant to the president of CTI Records, Creed Taylor, Snyder oversaw legal and business affairs, publishing, manufacturing, distribution, and artists and repertoire operations. Under the tutelage of Herb Alpert, he served as director of Horizon Jazz Series for A&M Records.  Snyder later served as director of jazz production for Atlantic Records, reporting to Ahmet Ertegun, where his responsibilities included production and packaging, promotion, publicity, and marketing. Thirty-two of the over 300 recordings produced by Snyder received Grammy nominations and five of them received Grammy awards.  Snyder is currently a member of the New York Bar. As a former member of the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), he served on the Board of Governors, Education Committee, and Grammy in the Schools Committee. He has been with the Loyola University New Orleans College of Music faculty since 2004 and is currently Chair of the Department of Music Industry Studies and the Conrad N. Hilton Eminent Scholar at Loyola.