Say Goodbye to Starving Artists: Musicians Must Learn to Toot Their Own Horns

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Futurist to help musicians become brands at first US Conference on Music Entrepreneurship.

The biggest problem for musicians today is not that people are downloading their music for free. But that no one wants to download their music

With a career in music being second in competitiveness only to professional sports, music industry innovator and futurist Gerd Leonhard (http://www.MEDIAFUTURIST.Com) plans to send a wake up call to "couch potato" musicians to release them from their passivity and help them become brands at the first US conference on music entrepreneurship. The Brevard Conference on Music Entrepreneurship (BCOME) will be held July 14-16, 2006, at the Brevard Music Center in Western North Carolina, one of the nation's leading music training programs.

"The biggest problem for musicians today is not that people are downloading their music for free. But that no one wants to download their music," says Leonhard, author of The Future of Music (Berklee Pree, 2005) and an advisor music companies and organizations worldwide, http://www. http://www.mediafuturist.com.

"Clive Davis (the music producer) is not going to find the next Aretha Franklin today," says Leonhard. "The music business is becoming more do-it-yourself than ever since the big record companies no longer have the money they once had for promotion. Consequently, it's more imperative than ever for musicians to become self-promoters and build their own online audience."

Leonhard will share his insights, along with some of the country's major musicians, teachers, and entrepreneurs at the three-day conference established to help musicians explore career tracks beyond the traditional job pathways. Thought provoking and innovative, BCOME offers workshops, lectures and instruction on how to envision and establish one's own career as a music entrepreneur, with unique tracks specifically tailored for performers, college faculty and industry professionals.

"The conference will help performers learn how to earn a living doing what they love," says Michael Drapkin, BCOME Executive Director.

According to Leonhard, the Internet has leveled the playing field for artists and performers, providing musicians with access to all the tools they need to promote their own music with sites like:

  • SONICBIDS.com one of many online concert management systems
  • SONIFIC.com, a free service that provides music 'soundtracks' for blogs and personal webpages
  • Live365.com, for musicians to get their music played on online radio stations
  • CDBaby.com, virtual distribution of CDs into online stores
  • Pandora.com, an online radio station for musicians to have their music aired

Beyond getting their music played, Leonhard says musicians need to turn themselves into brands by doing more than just selling records. Some ways musicians can market themselves, says Leonhard, include: selling concert recordings and getting their music into ring tones, videogames and motion pictures.

"Musicians don't make money today selling CDs," says Leonhard. "They need to think about how to get their music onto cell phones and other ways to distribute their music and brand themselves.

"It's truly a new generation of the music business," he adds.

ABOUT BCOME

BCOME is open to anyone interested in learning how to forge their own career path in music, bring entrepreneurship to their organization, or to teach music entrepreneurship. Guest speakers include some of the country's finest musicians, teachers and entrepreneurs. Conference members will learn how to market themselves, and the conference will address such topics as the ins and outs of networking, market research, use of electronic media for self-promotion, business plan writing, funding partners, business legalities and models of entrepreneurship. In addition, the conference will help participants be more creative through self-discovery and shaped note singing exercises, round-table discussions and a traditional square dance. They will have access to the Brevard Music Center's picturesque 140-acre campus, as well as tickets to a variety of performances. The conference is funded by a grant from The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Registration is open to 75 participants, and the fee is $300. Scholarships are also available. For more information, including a complete schedule, visit online at bcome.org.

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Wendy Marx

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