The business side of Music ……

February 8, 2017

I recently wrote a three part on music and business on LinkedIn and thought I’d share them here for easy access ….. if you think someone might benefit from them...

I recently wrote a three part on music and business on LinkedIn and thought I’d share them here for easy access …..

if you think someone might benefit from them – please share 🙂


Being an Artist

One of the biggest issues that I see artists struggle with is that they don’t understand that being an artist is also owning a business. You are a business owner – much like owning a restaurant or retail store. Perhaps your business is very small but it is still a business nevertheless.

But artists will often answer but I’m an artist ….. if I think like a business person then I won’t be able to create. You have to learn how to separate the two ….. part of Pardalis Studio is our education department where we teach music to mostly elementary and highschool students. To be an educator, one has to focus on what is best for that student! So we have to separate things — so when we’re dealing with parents about financial matters — it is a client/proprietorial relationship. When it is about the education of the child – it becomes a parent/teacher relationship. We have to separate these relationships to run a successful studio.

It is the same thing for artists — when you are creating, be the artist! Focus on what is best for the art, for your craft. But when it comes to marketing the complete project — then become the business person. What is the best way to promote the project, how to find financial gain and, how to protect yourself as an artist. It isn’t always the easiest but with a business mind set, it becomes easier.

Wondering how to get your artistic business running — our marketing department at Pardalis Studio for Music and Performance can help you …. book your consulting meeting today @


Has the internet ruined artists’ careers?

Recently, I got into a debate with artists on FB about my favourite subject – art and business. In fact my last article was inspired by it — one point I didn’t discuss in the article was a comment one artist stated that the internet i.e. itunes has ruined artists’ careers.

I would disagree – why would you ask? My early post on “the message is the same but the medium has changed” is exactly the answer. The issue is that people don’t remember that times have changed and what worked in the past isn’t working but if we use new ways — we can find success. Often I talk to artists and they have this belief that a record label or promo company will somehow make them famous without the work without any work for them. Times have changed …. people aren’t into big companies – they’re want mom and pop companies and it’s no different with musicians. They want an artist that they can be a part of …. watch their careers and be a part of that career. Yes, people don’t buy recordings anymore but you can use recordings to make money as an artist.

How? Gary Vaynerchuk talks about how the music industry is like a dragon — in the past the head of the dragon was huge but now the tail (indi artists) has become huge and the head keeps trying to make fire but it doesn’t really work. So how does an independent artist take that and make money as an artist? It’s about growing your online fan base that can communicate into people’s butts in seats at your shows where you can make money. Gary also says that he gives all his material for free so when he does workshop they show up. Artists need to use that same mentality — hook people in, get them to fall in love with you and your music online through all sort of different ways and then when you have show — your fans will show up and you’ll have that financial gain. It’s about the bigger picture.

How do you build that online fan base that equals people attending your shows? Drop me a line 🙂 or 604-783-4091m

Next blog will be another comment from that discussion — how to make sure you are getting the pay you deserve at shows.

Getting the pay you deserve!

Another issue that artists complain about is equal pay as artists or just getting paid period ….. so how do artists guarantee that can get paid (and well) at gigs then?

One of best words of advice I ever received was from one of professors at Capilano University Gary crystal who encourage us to stop taking free gigs. He said the first little while will be hard but don’t cave into thinking that free gigs help your career.

Now what does a free gig mean in this case? This means a regular gig at a an establishment when you have to promote yourself,  spend money making sure that your fans attend etc yet you receive no return it …… This does not mean charity gigs or showcases where you are receiving some sort of return – exposure (but careful what is that exposure exactly) or giving back to the community etc.  There has to be always some sort of return!!

So how do you make sure that you get what you deserve – start thinking out of the box!

Most establishments, especially in Vancouver, sadly really don’t understand their role as a live music venue. They don’t understand how it works and they see almost as if they’re giving artists the opportunity of their lifetime …. Instead of thinking that the artist and establishment are a team – who working together to bring people together and in turn make some money naturally. (If you’re an establishment and would like to actually see live music to working, let’s chat.)

So stop wasting your time, if you’re negotiating your fee and they’re not willing to pay you want you deserve based off your experience, expertise and fan base – then don’t waste your time with them, you really don’t need them (they need people performing to bring customers). Instead focus on building your fan base that will want to attend your shows and then rent a location and do you own show. Maybe it means less shows (remember this means less risk of overexposure … a good thing) but more authentic and fuller audiences which in turn mean a large payout for you.

Artists that have taken this model and are touring full time and highly successful – Post Modern Jukebox, the Piano Guys,  Pentatonic, Lindsey Stirling. Check them out and see how they have build their fan bases and touring with huge success.

So how do you build that audience? How do you negotiate with establishments etc? Message me for more details or 604-783-4091

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