Intentional Networking Plan

Intentional Networking Plan

Networking is a low-cost, high-time marketing strategy. There are very few shortcuts here – relationships grow encounter after encounter, and it’s inevitably counterproductive to rush them. Whether you are new to networking or a connector-maven, you can benefit from taking time to grow your own relationship network. Taking time means putting intention and imagination into your relationships....

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Musical Skills = Entrepreneurial Skills

Musical Skills = Entrepreneurial Skills

In interviews conducted for my book Indie Business Power, I asked some questions designed to pull deeper thinking out of my interviewees, all of whom were trained musicians and, subsequently, entrepreneurs. I asked them to take a look at the business settings they’ve found themselves in throughout their careers and to identify the skills, attributes, and lessons from their music experience...

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Incubating Creativity

Incubating Creativity

I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to tire of words like “creativity” and “innovation”. They are dying the death of a million mentions. But, I suppose, until we come up with new and better language, we’re probably stuck with them. For the purposes of this post, “creativity” involves putting your imagination to work. In a more active sense, creativity is applied...

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A Simple Way to Stand Out Professionally

A Simple Way to Stand Out Professionally

To succeed in any professional endeavor, you must make your unique value memorable. No one should need to ask you what you bring to your position that’s different or special. Your work, behavior, and demeanor should make this crystal clear to everyone around you. Sometimes your job title can also communicate your distinction. When you’re in business for yourself, you can call yourself just...

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No “Work Experience”? – Substitute

No “Work Experience”? – Substitute

If you don’t have a job requirement, offer something similar. It shows that you can learn the desired skill quickly. For example, Cara wants a job with a music publishing company because she is fascinated by the process of how songs go from a songwriter’s mind to the music marketplace. She has no prior experience and was not a music business major at college. However, she does have some...

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Rethinking Scarecrow

Rethinking Scarecrow

You know the story of Oz. Scarecrow needed a brain and the Wizard complies by giving him a “diploma”. The message was clear: having a college diploma (or degree) means having a brain – a message that persisted throughout the 20th century and well into the 21st. Now the Great Recession, a “jobless recovery” (how’s that for politispeak?), massive outsourcing, and mounting student debt...

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Career Mash Up 7

Career Mash Up 7

Some more food to feed your career thinking and doing. Enjoy. The Essential Conflict Between “Art” & “Business”. “Here’s how I define a successful business meeting. All participants learn the goals that each wants to accomplish. We agree upon those goals, and we lay out a path to achieve them. I leave with clear expectations of steps and parameters including tasks, deadlines,...

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Music Career Mash Up 6

Music Career Mash Up 6

Another collection of curated career content to rock your world. Enjoy! Mainstreaming. Streaming is forcing a creative but undisciplined industry to pay more attention to data,” reports The Economist (3/22/14). Spotify recently purchased “Echo Nest, which analyzes data for music services and helps shape playlist algorithms. Beats soon followed by purchasing TopSpin Media, which...

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Career Mash Up 5

Career Mash Up 5

Such an Innocent Question… For as long as most people can remember, building a career has been equated with the notion of settling down, the way you’d think about marriage after playing the field. It’s been about answering the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question adoringly asked when we are small, but dogging us for a committed answer as we become adults. What the...

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Career Mash Up 4

Career Mash Up 4

Another collection of interesting content to help inform music career development (and career growth in general). A Call for ‘Synthesizing Minds’ “In the old-style repetitive economy, most people’s work could only be done with other people’s capital resources. Most people were employees dependent on land-owners, patrons, financial capital or large bureaucracies. In the creative economy,...

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Career Mash Up 3

Career Mash Up 3

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about change. My every day world (the northeast United States) has been blessed with a relative calm over the past 150+ years; a calm that has lulled me to sleep. But change is afoot. Between the economic downturn, climate change and ever-expanding populations I can feel the sand shifting beneath my feet. Can you? For me, big change calls for a new...

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Self-Promotion 101

Self-Promotion 101

I was recently interviewed by another blogger on the subject of “self-promotion” to mark the publication of the third edition of my book, The Self-Promoting Musician: Strategies for Independent Music Success (2013, Berklee Press). Hope you enjoy it. Please add your comments. 1. Is there a mindset for self-promotion that you think leads musicians to more viable careers? Self promotion...

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Career Mash Up 1

Career Mash Up 1

I read a lot. I also take notes on just about everything I read. Some of this finds its way into my own writings, but most does not. Since I have this store of notes but little time, I’m going to start dishing it out periodically in this blog. So, here is an ensemble of awesome thinking, provocative questions and bits of trivia from across the disciplinary spectrum.   • Bye IQ. According...

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Planning With the Big Picture in Mind

Planning With the Big Picture in Mind

There is a quote by Alvin Toffler I’ve always liked: “You’ve got to think about ‘big things’ while you’re doing small things so that all the small things go in the right direction.” What are the “big things” he’s referring to? Well, if you’re familiar at all with his work (Future Shock, Where the Wasteland Ends, Third Wave, etc.), you’ll know that Toffler’s focus is on...

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Courting the Muse: A Simple Guide to Invoke the Creative in You

Courting the Muse: A Simple Guide to Invoke the Creative in You

You sit by your “thinking chair” and across the room lays your electric guitar—unplugged and staring back at you as if it waits to be held. Your musical sheet is still empty and your pen is running out of ink. Right now all you can hear is a mix of chaotic noise struggling to find peace in a blank score sheet. What are you going to do? For musicians and band artists, it’s pretty much...

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Dry Time: What To Do When Nothing’s Coming In

Dry Time: What To Do When Nothing’s Coming In

Whether it’s because your business is seasonal or just because economic uncertainties keep customers on the sidelines, dry times are great opportunities to move your company and your life forward. Here are some ideas for turning dry times into high times. Connect. One of the truly beautiful things about networking is that it’s a low-cost marketing strategy. All you need is time and the will...

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New Models: The Creative Collective

New Models: The Creative Collective

Artists today are on a continual hunt for business models that will provide structure for their creative work and stimulation to their careers. With an industry in creative disruption, there is little in the way of the  “tried and true” to latch onto. The ground is shifting and the “new music economy” hasn’t yet found a footing. But there are signs of solution as we begin to see...

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Landing a Job as a New Music Grad

Landing a Job as a New Music Grad

Music graduates often aspire to performance or composition careers, but they also know they’ll need a day job to help get them there. I’ve been speaking with a number of hiring managers in the music space lately and would like to share what I’m hearing.  Hopefully this will help those just embarking on the job search, a well as those who have been at it for a while. 1. Know what you want....

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The Future of Music Performance

The Future of Music Performance

In the 2001 film, Vanilla Sky, starring Tom Cruise, there’s a scene where he welcomes a guest at his apartment. There’s a party’s going on. With the camera behind him, he proceeds through the rooms until coming to one where you can see up ahead what looks like a grainy black and white image of a man playing the saxophone. Turns out it’s a life-size hologram of John Coltrane performing...

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Nature as Career Advisor

Nature as Career Advisor

Those who know me also know I can walk in the woods for hours on end, pausing every five minutes to closely observe the shape of tree or the way light filters through a pond. I have felt a deep and abiding connection with Nature since I was 16 when I met some Deadheads who guided my steps away from Greenwich Village to the woods of the Pocono Mountains. Those years coincided with a spiritual...

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Music Career Q&A, Pt. 2

Music Career Q&A, Pt. 2

Some more distilled knowledge drawn from recent interviews with yours truly. Everything from the best times to release a CD to where the opportunities lie in today’s music business; from the fate of the CD to finding your own unique niche in music. Drink deeply. Enjoy.   What are the biggest mistakes that artists typically make when they try to market their own CDs? Well, first off, just...

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Music Career Q & A

Music Career Q & A

I do a lot of interviews – often for small publications, classes and seminars, so the content doesn’t always get very far. Since interviews demand concision, I thought I’d cull the best from them and re-distribute the content on this blog. Some are more oriented towards the music business; others toward music careers. This one focuses on careers. Hope you’ll dig these “distilled”...

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The Band/Club Partnership

The Band/Club Partnership

The key to getting more and better gigs is positioning your act as a partnership with the venue, and then communicating the benefits your act will provide it. Your job is to convince the booker that it would be to the club’s advantage to have you play there. How do you do this? First, emphasize the crowd you will draw. Even if it’s just fifteen people, let them know. Second, stress...

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Great Musician / Working Musician

Great Musician / Working Musician

Each fall and spring I have the privilege of speaking to Berklee’s entering class about how to navigate a successful music career. Here’s how I usually begin my talk: Who here wants to be a great musician?  Who here wants to be a working musician? Does one necessarily follow the other? If only great musicianship guaranteed career success! The questions, of course, are designed to get these...

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Weaving Your Web of Relationships

Weaving Your Web of Relationships

Music is a who-you-know/who-knows-you kind of business. The quantity and quality of your relationships will be the primary engines of your career progress. This goes without saying in a business where “word of mouth” both amps notoriety and qualifies value. Nothing feeds creativity more than linking up with other creative people. Sharing challenges, sparking ideas, discovering unusual...

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The Polymath Musician

The Polymath Musician

Are there any Leonardos out there? How about Ben Franklins? Or Jay-Zs? You may not be able to paint the Mona Lisa, speak French or father a child with Beyonce, but you do have multiple interests, a truckload of skills and a breadth of experience. Sometimes your many interests feel like a bunch of beads with nothing to string them on. That’s normal for those with manifold passions and diverse...

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The Shape-Shifting Future

The Shape-Shifting Future

The pace of change can numb us and even make us give up trying to understand the meaning of our rapidly unfolding future. In a sense, we’re all strapped into a roller coaster that has taken off without our permission, blurring our surroundings at warp speed, and not quite clear on a destination. That’s why I appreciate ‘big-picture’ thinkers like Michael Malone. He helps lift us to that...

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Avoiding Junk Thought

Avoiding Junk Thought

If I were to ask you to concentrate real hard and imagine yourself growing an inoperable brain tumor, would you do it? Most of us would probably hesitate. Why? Perhaps because you believe deep down that your mind, or the way you think, can actually have an affect on your body. And you would be right. Modern brain research, as well as quantum physics, are discovering that the mind is a form of...

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The Freelancer Mindset, Pt. 3

The Freelancer Mindset, Pt. 3

Of all the challenges that freelancers face, nothing matches in difficulty the everydayness of business ownership. It exists from the moment you wake up until the moment you collapse in exhaustion at the end of the day. It’s exhilarating, terrifying…..and constant. What keeps this relentless routine from taking undue toll on you is the management systems you put in place. Good planning...

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The Freelancer Mindset, Pt. 2

The Freelancer Mindset, Pt. 2

If you’re going to be on your own, you won’t have a boss setting agendas and assigning projects. You will be the chart-setter. You will be the time organizer. You will be the gig-creator. This means planning, and planning means first setting goals. Some people absolutely love this part of freelancing. They’re planners at heart.  They enjoy describing themselves as...

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