Archive for the ‘ internets ’ Category

my music business

So my friend Jessi asked me the other day if I could answer a few questions about the music biz and artist management to help her out with a college project she’s doing. There are certainly more qualified people out there to answer these questions, but I appreciate that she asked and so I’m happy to share my thoughts, not only with her, but you as well… enjoy:

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Jessi: What is your background (education and experience)?

Me: I went to college at Belmont University and graduated with a double-major in Music Business and Business Management. I did two internships while in college. The first was with a small artist management company called CommonRock Entertainment who was, at the time, working with The Normals, Bleach, and Sanctus Real. The second internship was with the EMI Christian Music Group, working in their mainstream radio promotions department. And finally, once I graduated, I did one more internship with Creative Trust Entertainment – a larger scale management company who was, again at the time, working with Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, and Warren Barfield.

Jessie: How did you get your start in the Music Business?
Me: I moved to Nashville under the pretenses that I was a good musician and could write good songs. Neither were true. As such, I dropped the idea of spending a life recording and performing and instead took up an interest in the various business aspects of music. Artist management immediately appealed to me, and over time marketing, brand development, and web marketing became of interest as well. Ultimately my internships led to a job at EMI Christian Music Group, and I have been there since working in digital sales & marketing.

Jessi: Which artists have you worked with in the past and who do you work with now?
Me: Artist management has always been more of a passion for me than it has been a job, and as a result I have always been a part-time manager on the side in addition to my work with EMI. I have primarily worked with Beau Bristow (, an independent Nashville based pop/rock artist, over the past four years.

Jessi: Describe a typical day’s activities
Me: The great and fascinating thing about working in the independent music scene is that every day is different, and it is this way because every day is a fight just to keep the artist moving forward. There are so many artists – both on major labels and independently – vying for the attention of an audience. The independent manager’s constant struggle is to help the artist connect with people continuously, on a limited budget, and help grow an audience base, whether this is through performances, online awareness, publicity, partnerships, or any other number of opportunities.

If the artist is currently recording, most activities focus on publicity, like overseeing the design of the artist’s website, creating press packages, and connecting with media outlets to prepare for the launch of the new record. If the artist is on tour, activities center around keeping the artist moving on the road – advancing shows, pitching to venues, drafting contracts. The independent artist generally does not have their own booking agent, so the manager usually fills this role, which includes a lot of email and phone correspondence, and attending conferences to connect with buyers and venue owners.

The manager is ultimately the whatever-needs-to-be-done guy – whether its as a travel agent, web manager, publicist, roadie, booking agent, graphic designer, producer, merch guy, and sometimes most importantly, counselor.

Jessi: How do you view the future (technology and business models) in this industry?
Me: Technology, for better or worse, is everything in the future of our industry, and unfortunately we’ve been ignoring that fact for far too long. There are a ton of people evangelizing about what the “new model” is going to be for the music industry, and frankly, I don’t believe there will be one “new model”.

We’re going to see a ton of different models emerge over the next several years, and a lot of it is going to be propelled by what is going on in the independent music scene, because these artists are in the best position to react to market changes and provide their customer with what is being demanded. We’re going to see a hybrid of customers – some will want their music immediately through a digital format, and others will want to hold that physical copy of the album in their hands. Labels will need to efficiently provide opportunities for both.

As time goes on there will be a lot of different experiments carried out – some will work, and some will fail miserably: There will be artists who offer their music for free, or at a price to be determined by the consumer. There will be artists who offer subscriptions to their content for a set annual fee, and over the course of a year the customer gets all sorts of things like new albums, artwork, and show tickets. Some artists will begin to offer their new music in a serial-type manner, releasing EPs every few months instead of a new album every couple years. Labels will experiment with so-called 360° deals where they will be the wholesale provider for not only albums, but books, T-shirts, posters, and other swag as well.

I think the bottom line is that the new model will be experimentation as labels and artists struggle to cope with a new consumer base that believes music should be ubiquitous and free. Some will embrace that mindset, and others will fight it… the most successful will likely land somewhere in the middle, and at the end of the day, I have always felt that the most critical component of selling music is that the artist must have a relationship with the consumer. Music at it’s core is an emotional experience, and when the quality is high enough and a bond exists between the artist and listener, people will pay for it.

twittle-dee, twittle-dum

I finally signed up for Twitter. If you care to hear my random thoughts as the day progresses you can find me at

accepting failure

After a little more than a year, last night I decided it was time to call it quits on my website. A business that was set up to make money and generate income just wasn’t doing that, and it was costing me too much to keep it going.

It’s frustrating when you have in your hands what you know is a brilliant idea, but are unable to convince the rest of the world of the same.

So last night I disconnected all of the inner workings… the credit card processing, the storefront, the shopping cart. Felt like I was killing my child.

One thing I’ve learned over the past year or so – the service industry is extremely difficult, and draining. It’s incredibly hard to automate, and even if it did slowly begin to turn a profit, I wonder if I simply would have burned out sooner or later.

So on to the next thing I guess….

cloudy day

I finally upgraded my blog to Blogger version 2.whatever, mainly because I went through my entire history and created ‘labels’ for all my previous posts and I wanted a Label Cloud to show off my organizational skills. So now I’m set with a Label Cloud (see bottom right) and hopefully a more navigable blog.

Say “navigable blog” three times real fast.

the google mapping

Two posts regarding Google in two days… I’m sorry. But this is amazingly fascinating.

Of course everyone knows that Google Maps is the preferred way to view streets and avenues in the online world. A while back Google rolled out a “My Maps” function, a capability allowing users to overlay makers, lines and polygons on top of the existing Google map in order to create their own custom maps. Each element comes with an editable HTML tag and the ability to use the Google “Directions” tool to map directions to and from the element. “My Maps” are stored (publicly or privately) in the users Google profile. It’s a really neat tool, but one I didn’t fully appreciate until yesterday.

We have some friends coming over for a little Christmas dinner tonight. Since they haven’t been to our house before, they asked me to email them directions. We live in a townhome community, and with 300 houses that all looks the same, it can sometimes be confusing to direct people there… so I create a Google “My Map” to help get them there, complete with a little blue line showing where our driveway is, and a marker indicating where our house is. I edited the marker to show our address, some directions on navigating the subdivision, as well as a photo of our house… NEAT!!!

Of course, since I’ve made this map publicly available on my Google profile, that probably means creepy stalkers from across the country will be staking out my house. Fantastic……

View Larger Map

blogger hack

A while back I did an internet-practice overhaul… I switched to Firefox as the browser of choice, and drank the Google cool kool-aid, which has had a profound impact on my life and productivity. Got myself a gmail address – burnsie512 {at} – and I’m off and running…

Well, when I started blogging back in the day, I signed up for a Blogger account under my old Yahoo email address, so when I started using my Google account as my webernet profile of choice, I found myself in this peculiar position of doing everything EXCEPT blogging under my Google identity. I would spend my days browsing around on Firefox, loving my iGoogle page, but when I needed to blog, I would open up crappy old Internet Explorer and do my blogging… all this so I wouldn’t have to go through the process of logging out of Google, and then typing usernames and passwords to log into Blogger with my Yahoo address – this had to be done because Google bought Blogger and they were talking to each other, and Blogger isn’t able to automatically switch profiles for me. So I was left with quite the conundrum, and it was extremely annoying.

Well, just today, I figured out a hack which proved to be the answer to all my problems, and just in case there’s another suffering the weight of two Blogger accounts out there, here is the method of relief:

  1. Log into your existing blogs and send a Contributor invitation to your Gmail account for each of your blogs
  2. Log into Gmail and accept the invitations to contribute
  3. Log back into Blogger using your old account name and switch the permissions of your Google accounts to ADMINISTRATOR
  4. Staying in your old account, remove your old account name from the Contributors list of each of your blogs
  5. And finally, log into Blogger using your Google account, and your set to go – you’ve effectively made an account swap of your blogs

I’m happy to say that from now on I will be posting from the comfort of Firefox, under the pretext of my Google account.

the problem with wikipedia

If you’re a reader of this blog you know I have a fascination with Wikipedia. Perhaps a little off color, but I thought this was remarkably insightful (not to mention hilarious)… thanks for the find Jon:


I’ve officially crossed the line. I’m an internet nerd. Not only do I casually observe the happenings on the marvelous interwebs, I am now one who actually contributes to this massive chaotic giant of tubes, webs, and bits and bats.

I’m speaking of Wikipedia, my favorite website. I love it for it’s random wealth of information on anything from tube socks to the spiritual culture of the Siberian Yupiks. I’ll spend hours just cruising away, jumping from one topic to the next, in this random and trivial form of pseudo-education. So fascinating.

I’ve been obsessed with Wikipedia for a couple years now, but as I said, I’ve now officially crossed the line. I’m now a Wikipedia Editor, complete with personal profile (boring) and more importantly, my first article contribution. My first edit is kind of boring, but was the only thing I could think of off the top of my head that I had specific knowledge about that no one else had already written on.

So there ya go. A new hobby to fit into my already busy life… and why the heck not.