Musicians Are Natural Entrepreneurs
“After touring on the road with a band, it very easy to be in a startup,” Nimbits’ Antoniades says. “It’s the same mentality. There are some amazing business people who can’t improvise to save their lives. But as a musician, you look at the world in a completely different way. You want me to get in front of 100 people and talk about this business? No problem. You want me to start talking about something I know nothing about? No problem. Improvising! That’s what it is.”
“Everything you’re learning by being a full-time musician is teaching you everything you need to know to run a company—if you want to,” Sivers says. “Musicians learn to find good players that they get along with, manage delicate egos, and keep the team focused and moving forward. This is no different than hiring. Musicians learn to put together a good show that’s entertaining, draws a crowd, and grows by word-of-mouth. That’s basically product development. Musicians have to hustle, network, look everywhere for opportunities, and say yes first and figure it out afterward. That’s business development. Musicians know how to describe their music in an enticing way, present an intriguing image, and win fans wherever they go. That’s marketing.
“Read business books and apply them to your music career,” Sivers continues. “They may use examples about carpet cleaners or shipping companies, but with a little metaphorical thinking and imagination, you can apply the principles to your situation in music. By doing that, you’ve just put yourself ahead of the 99 percent who don’t. Then if you want to make a company, you’ll find you’ve already learned what you need.”
Staying the Course . . .
“When artists say these things are too hard or sound complicated,” PledgeMusic’s Rogers says, “I can tell them that I’ve done what they’re trying to do. I’m the guy who gets on stage with a guitar and asks people to sign an e-mail list, and I e-mail them that night. If I can do it, so can you. My voice professor at Berklee, Charlie Sorrento, was such an inspiration. He always told me that even if you think you’re not going to hit the note, just tell yourself that you will. Know that you’ll do it, and you’ll pull it off. When we were starting PledgeMusic, people were telling me, ‘You can’t do this, it doesn’t work that way.’ I had Charlie’s words ringing in my ears: ‘You’ll do it, you’ll find a way.’”