The image of the starving musician practicing in a coldwater flat while waiting to be discovered went out with the 45-rpm record. Music is an art, not a product or service, but making it in music today requires more than talent. It requires business savvy. Does this mean selling out or handing yourself over to a high-priced manager or publicist? No, says Peter Spellman, Director of the Career Development Center at Berklee College of Music, in The Self-Promoting Musician (ISBN 0-634-00644-4) just released from Berklee Press. By understanding the forces behind the industry, adopting solid business practices, and doing serious self-promotion, musicians can help themselves be seen, heard and successful.
The Self-Promoting Musician fills a gaping void on the how-to shelf and can save years of frustration, even entire careers. Beginning with an overview of the current, increasingly diversified marketplace, Spellman presents clear advice on finding a niche and how to avoid being a victim of short-term corporate profit. He then lays out a logical system of do-it-yourself strategies that musicians can use to take control of their own careers. Included are chapters on goal setting, developing a marketing plan, time management, networking, contracts, getting bookings and radio play, using the Internet to promote your music, and customizing a demo for maximum exposure, as well as how to put together a press kit. Spellman also provides a comprehensive resource list, with continual on-line updates. He says he cannot emphasize the importance of the Internet enough. "Today and in the future, the web could be the musicians most important tool in becoming known." The digital revolution, he adds, is providing a low cost, high-impact way to the top. Says Spellman, "Setting up strategic web alliances, aligning you, your band or your music with complimentary services or products is key. Great "web of mouth" can make it all happen."
Combining his love for the art with a thorough understanding of the industry's marketing practices, Spellman offers sensible advice that can help both the novice and established pro to prosper. "The tradition of musicianship has been anti-business. The days of talent alone making a career are over," says Spellman. "The tricks of the trade-overcoming the bureaucracy-- therefore usually aren't being employed by musicians." Spellman's easy-to-follow writing style makes The Self-Promoting Musician especially useful. In his work at Berklee, the author has helped thousands of up-and-coming musicians develop their business "chops"-- and he knows how to communicate with his audience. "Artists in general tend to prefer a more casual approach to everything, including business," notes Spellman in Chapter One. "But like it or not, if you don't have your personal and business act together today, you'll find yourself with a lot of open weekends."
The Self-Promoting Musician is an ideal text for music career development and music business entrepreneurship courses. It addresses the current state of the music business, trends that are shaping its future, tools for professional development, and goal setting and planning. Also offered are promotional strategies to help professional musicians realize their dreams. The Self- Promoting Musician includes a "Musicians Resource Directory" containing unique sections organized for music performers, recording artists, technologists, writers and composers, teachers, therapists and industry careerists. This directory of the best reference books, magazines, organizations and web sites for the up and coming musician, is continually updated online for free.
The Self-Promoting Musician ($24.95) is available to consumers on the Berklee Press website, by calling Berklee directly at (617) 747-2146, or from the Hal Leonard Corporation at (800) 637-2852.
For more information, visit their web site at www.berkleepress.com