Music entrepreneurship simply put, is a combination of music and entrepreneurship; this means converting your passion as a musician into a profession – doing what you love and know how to do, and sustaining yourself financially with it. In other words, it has to do with creating a sustainable career in music. Music entrepreneurship is taught as a course in many colleges and universities and can also be learned and developed by oneself. A person who engages in music entrepreneurship is called a music entrepreneur or ‘musicpreneur’ for short. Before you can confidently and productively benefit from music as a business or as a medium of earning a living, you must have a vast knowledge of both worlds – the music world and the business world.
It is true that musicians are entrepreneurs by default because they are involved in the creative process of making music and earning some money from it either by stage performances, busking, YouTube channels, online tutorials, content creation, beat production or some other ways. But it is important to deliberately learn and understand how the business side of the music industry is run so that you can fully reap its benefits. The business side of music is an untapped resource that many musicians do not bother leaning towards; music entrepreneurship can become your major source of income and sustain you substantially if you engage in it and put in your best shot. Learning music entrepreneurship gives you an advantage of tapping into your deep well of potential, talents and other skills that you didn’t even know existed.
Musicpreneurs are self-motivated, they pick up obstacles along the way and turn them into possibilities and windows for growth and change. As a music entrepreneur, your personal development shouldn’t just start and stop at music alone, you must develop sustainable set skills to enhance your influence and enlarge your territory in the music business industry. Skills like leadership, communication, problem-solving, time management, financial planning, marketing, interpersonal skills etc should be fused into your music talent to open or widen the doors of opportunities for you in your career.
Being a music entrepreneur is so broad and for a beginner, you might be able to handle all the minor complexities that come with it. As time progresses, you may need to build a formidable and reliable team that would follow the pace you have set and help you continue your journey in the business. This is where division of labor comes in – you may need a videographer, an editor, a graphic designer, a producer, a marketer/promotion manager and so on. Let’s look at a quick real-life example: one one hand, we have Mr. A: a busker (someone who entertains on the streets for money, we see this especially with guitarists and singers), on the other hand, we have Mr. B: a full-time guitarist who performs on stage, takes online music tutorials, creates content, has a YouTube channel, has a website, sells musical instruments and accessories and produces his own songs and albums. Now, looking at these 2 people as examples, both of them are musicpreneurs quite all right, afterall they make money from doing music; but they are on 2 different levels in 2 different worlds. Mr. A hasn’t learned to transform his passion into his money-making profession but Mr. B has seized every opportunity the music business world has to offer and took advantage of it. It would take a lot of time, dedication and some of the skills mentioned above to transform Mr. A to Mr. B. It would also sometimes take a team of seasoned, like-minded and vision-driven people to make this possibility a reality.
Music entrepreneurship is a big deal these days. If you have embraced the business side of music, big ups to you, and if you have not, do so – take a course, develop yourself, read books, ask questions, make research! Those bills won’t pay themselves! Even if you have other sources of income, this is another source. In fact, I personally think that every musician should embrace this aspect of music – the business aspect. Don’t just sit back with the title of “good musician”; that title alone is no longer solid nowadays. Does being a “good musician” pay your bills? If it doesn’t, then you need to up your game.
When starting out as a musicpreneur or an already existing one, it’s worth noting that things may not play out sweet and smooth immediately, you may encounter some failures, but that’s okay, that’s where you get to learn even more; that’s your grooming ground. What you can do in low moments like these is to seek encouragement from loved ones and those you trust, you have to learn to stay motivated too, see how I stay motivated here. Remember, a great deal of patience earns a great deal of rewards. Learn from your mistakes. Continue on the path no matter how much discouragement and negativity sets in. Don’t stop! Just keep going!
So, are you a musicpreneur? Do you think of yourself as one? Are you into the business full-time? What are some challenges that you encounter? How do you pull through? Please leave a comment below.