These links should help you as a promoter or artist explore and progress your understanding of running music projects and businesses. You don’t have to be a musician to be in the music business (see the different types of organisations that make up the music industry), but musicians should have a basic understanding of business principles and the music business. Not all the business links below are directly related to music but the principles are transferable.
Jim Mawdsley of Generator (the UK’s largest music development agency) said in a Youth Music blog, “The music industry has changed irrevocably over the last decade; despite what many skeptics say, digital hasn’t killed it off but it has largely forced a reinvention by introducing new creation, distribution and consumption models. That elusive first ‘deal’ no longer exists – record companies and publishers are no longer the risk aggregators they once were. They are looking for young artists who already have cross-platform visibility, a fan-base and performance experience – those that are ‘industry-ready.’ B Sharp believes there is a real need to support young artists, promoters and music entrepreneurs in understanding the importance and techniques of using digital technology to promote their music; tell their story; build and interact with fans/music press/radio/bloggers and influencers; increase exposure through gigs/tours and festivals and turn themselves into a small business with a business plan.
Many musicians have a variety of work in music. They may teach in the day and perform in the evening. Some of these jobs may involve being self employed. This brings new responsibilities and work for you – finding customers, keeping records of income and expenses and paying tax. Independent musicians need to think of themselves as small businesses and learn some basic business skills. The links on this blog should help you with this.
Youth Enterprise And Music Business Resources:
‘Ideas into Action’. A series of notes, written by B Sharp, to help young people plan events and projects.
The BBC breaks down the Business Studies GCSE into bite size pieces.
Brief notes covering the principles of business, to A Level standard.
University guide 2013: league table for business and management studies. Covers business studies, management studies, finance, accounting, marketing, human resource management and business and administrative studies. The links to the Universities in the league table give a summary about fees, accommodation, bursaries and the University’s history.
Open University free business resources Numerous topics on business management, project planning, managing people etc.
How to Plan a Creative Business is a useful blog for beginners, by Ideas Tap.
Everything You Need To Know About Band Management Part 4: Revenue Part of an insightful series of articles explaining the music industry and how to survive in the digital age. Worth a read. It has numerous useful links to more information such as tools for working out how you can create a music business using the Business Model Canvas and lists 42 different ways to make money from music.
Bemuso gives detailed advice to the self-employed independent musician. A brilliant resource.
Songhack helps artists “hack the music industry”. It’s a consumer guide to over 100 digital products and services targeted at musicians. Songhack features news, resources and coaching content to help musicians make money.
Berklee Music College have various free video lessons on music business, promotion and careers.
The Unsigned Guide An online music industry directory with more than 8,800 UK music business contacts spanning 50 areas of the industry. A subscription website with some free documents. Worth checking out.
Artists House Music educates the musician and entrepreneur to build sustainable music careers. It is an online, non-profit musicians’ Website where all musicians can receive informational support, guidance, and expert resources to help them navigate the challenges and maximize the opportunities available to them within the music industry. Twitter: @artistshouse
Youth Enterprise’s mission statement is “to inspire and equip young people to learn and succeed through enterprise.” Its guiding principle is to do this through “learning by doing”.
Young-Enterprise. Business and enterprise education charity made up of 12 regional organisations and operating through support from the business community and Government.
The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme supports unemployed young people aged 18-30 to work out if their business ideas are viable and whether self-employment is right for them.
The Young Enterprise QuickStart™ Music Programme will offer groups of up to 35 students aged 13 to 15 the experience of setting up and running their own real mini music enterprise in school. Working in company teams students take on the full spectrum of music industry functions and roles to put on a music event or produce and sell a music product.
The Academy of Contemporary Music delivers programmes for serious students looking to become music industry professionals. Our faculty includes lecturers that have performed and recorded alongside some of the biggest names in music and worked in every area of the industry.
Business and Finance Resources – grants, funding and business advice. Links compiled by the Vocalist.
Start Up Support and Funding – 10 resources for new businesses – funding, mentoring and advice, picked out by Ideas Tap.
Joining The Dots is a new initiative by The::Hub to provide artists, promoters and others working in independent music in England with ‘seed corn’ funding of up to £10,000 to test alternative models they think could help make live music more financially viable. The project focuses on 3 specific aspects of live music:
- Financing touring, commissioning and presenting live music
- Using digital technology to increase live attendance and income
- Developing young adult audiences for specialist independent music (eg. jazz, folk and electronica)
Guidance on contracts by the Incorporated Society of Musicians. What are they, why have one, what should be in it? See also the lowdown on freelance and employment contracts – a blog by Ideastap.
Business Link Information for new businesses and start-up companies.
The Creative Capital Fund Seed investment and business support.
Creative Industry Finance Arts Council England initiative offering busines development support and access to finance for creative industry enterprises in England (London, Yorkshire and Humber).
Creative Industry Finance useful links Useful links to other sources of support for creative businesses.
Cultural Industries Development Agency (CIDA) Support agency for the grassroots creative and cultural industries in London.
MeWe360 Funding, mentoring and development for creative businesses.
AIM Startup Loans Delivering loans, mentoring and support for entrepeneurs and startup businesses.
Creative Industry Finance Delivering loans, mentoring and support for entrepeneurs and startup businesses. Relaunching later in 2014.
Ecomodo is an award winning website that simply enables people to confidently lend and borrow their goods, skills and spaces with others locally. Instead of wasting money purchasing items, Ecomodo can help you to source the things you need directly from your local community at a low or no cost.
Musicians Against Playing for Free is a Facebook page with lots of examples of promoters trying to get professional musicians to play at their events for free with the lure that the performers will get future offers of paid work – getting your name about etc. Strong arguments supporting resistance against this. Why is the musician expected to be the first to not get paid at an event? A great email by Whitey to a London TV company wanting free music sums it up. Related is an article ‘If Other Professions Were Paid Like Artists‘.
How much should I charge? Musicians can offer a number of services – performance, teaching, composing and commissions etc. The ISM (Incorporated Society of Musicians) have surveyed members to see the range of fees people charge to help you be competitive, realistic and sustainable.
Event/festival support: Festival elves, pixies and the odd gnome ( trolls need not apply) This friendly Facebook page with over 2,000 members is primarily about joining up people for work at festivals – carpenters, transporters, stewards, bar work, promotion writers – anything that makes an event happen. Positions can be paid or voluntary. If you are putting on an event, it’s a good site to ask questions and find resources. The site has a Files Page that has UK contacts with CVs for everything you may need to make an event/festival happen.
Showcase, the international directory of the music industry, with over 10,000 professional contacts to choose from e.g. backline rental in Berlin through to a New York recording studio. Scroll down the categories on the left of the listings page. See the bottom of the page for common search listings – everything from tour buses, catering, legal services, stage crew and much more. A bit of a resource gem!
Here is a good Festival Directory of Suppliers for those thinking of putting on large scale events, compiled by the Association of Independent Festivals – a non-profit trade association created to represent UK independent music festivals. 11 pages in alphabetical order.
The Business and Artist Development Centre (BDC) bridges the gap between education and the music industry.
The Lowde Music Trust is dedicated to supporting, motivating and funding young creative and entrepreneurial talent in the music and creative performance industries.
The Lowde Music Enterprise Awards. In the current economic climate it is becoming increasingly difficult for young creative entrepreneurs to secure investment. Such investment is key to the future development of the music industry, in terms of music creation, recording and performance. The Trust has established a series of Awards targeted at supporting young adults who are interested in setting up business in the music industry.
AIM loans: a new Government-backed scheme offering access to finance for independent music companies and entrepreneurs. The AIM Start Up Loans initiative will see the trade body be responsible for assessing applications and approving personal loans ranging from £1,000 up to £25,000 for business purposes. The loans can be paid back in 1-5 years, with interest fixed at 6%. The average loan amount is £5,700.
Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) use social enterprise to create new opportunities for young people and adults, making real change happen.
Social Enterprise Qualification and ideas relating to the qualification and framework RIO have established, to allow young people to establish real socially enterprising activity.
Live UnLtd is another support organisation for young social entrepreneurs. It backs people aged 11-21 who want to change their world for the better. Live UnLtd do this by providing cash Awards and support to launch projects. If you can see a challenge that you want to take on and turn into a project then Live UnLtd can help you make it happen. They have an interesting document 2020 Vision for Social Entrepreneurship.
Sound Rights is a free online learning resource produced by UK Music, written by professionals in the music industry and music education expert Leonora Davies to answer the national curriculum’s new requirement regarding the music industry and copyright.
Watch the video here (under 5 minutes) at the bottom of the link (in task 3), of Harvey Goldsmith, one of the UK’s iconic event promoters, giving great advice on the most important parts of event promotion. Excellent music business advice!
Tips on Sharing Your Success – a Youth Music blog with a download of 20 questions to ask yourself about what you are doing, and tips on how to present what you say so that you can share your successes and tell your story well. The blog is aimed at professionals sharing best practice but is transferable to building any business brand.
Creative Dorset is an independent not for profit company which is set up to develop and promote the creative sector in Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole. It has the support of the local authorities in the area and board members are drawn from these authorities and from creative businesses in Dorset. Their website aims to provide you with useful links, news and business funding sources as well as the opportunity to sign up to the creative industries business directory. Has a useful links page especially the gateway section at the bottom of the page.
Dorset Community Action support the development of the voluntary sector through information, networking, representation, building capacity, and filling gaps as well as supporting and enabling initiatives in rural communities. They can give advice on business planning for social enterprises and other third sector organisations.
Start Ups community group Blogs and advice for new businesses, on Linkedin
Tips on business plans and marketing strategies.
Project management, tools, process, plans and project planning tips.
Mind Tools is a good site for tips on business management. The full Mind Tools toolkit contains more than 700 management, career and thinking skills. Use the buttons to start exploring them. An example article is Team Management Skills
Open Colleges management courses. One of Australia’s leading on-line colleges, with courses on business management.
Linkedin is a network for professionals to interact, get advice and support and make connections and endorsements. Useful for musicians and the music industry.
The Dorset Business Mentoring Programme (Dormen) provides one-to-one mentoring support for small businesses across Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole.
Mentorsme connects companies with mentoring organisations that can support and guide their growth. If you are a business that needs support they can help you connect with a mentor.
Transmit Start-Ups specialises in business support within the creative industries (e.g. design, music, film, TV, radio, software, games, publishing, arts and crafts).
Brightside is a business mentoring charity.
Instutute of Enterprise and Entrepeneurs The IOEE is the UK’s first institute dedicated to ‘learning by doing’ for anyone thinking about, starting or running their own business and those who support them. The IOEE provides an online, member-to-member mentor introduction service, mentor directory and mentee bulletin.
Get Started – Start up loans, support and learning for young entrepreneurs.
Self employed e-course for HM Revenue & Customs, about tax, National Insurance, business records and expenses. The course is aimed at musicians.
Tax allowable expenses for musicians A guide by ISM on the most common things you can claim as expenses as a self employed musician to reduce your tax bill e.g. equipment and repairs, travel, working from home, insurance, administration etc.
Debt problems. If you find it difficult to manage your money, you may go into debt. This can be stressful and affect your mental health. StepChange is a debt charity to help you manage debt issues and negotiate solutions. They have a free phone number from landlines and mobiles: 0800 138 1111.
GRANTnet helps small businesses, charitable and community groups find suitable funding. It has more than 5,000 funding schemes that are available in the UK from European and national sources.
Funding Central is a free website for charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. It lists thousands of funding and finance opportunities, plus a wealth of tools and information supporting you to develop a sustainable income strategy. Run by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.
International Business Seed Accelerators Over 170 links to business investors/accelerators around the world. Q: What is an accelerator? A: A program that works with entrepreneurs to take their products to market – fast and furious. Some are for-profit, others not-for profit. Some provide equity investment, some provide onsite team building. All provide mentoring and most connect entrepreneurs to exceptional networks – market and medium related. Thanks to Alice Loy, PhD on LinkedIn for this list.
How to Crowdfund, where creative people sell perks and rewards to fans in order to fund their project. Advice with further links:
- 7 Crowdfunding Tips Proven to Raise Funding – definitely worth reading. The scale of investment they use as examples may be larger than you want, but the principle of paying attention to the incentive and what the donor gets out of funding you is universal.
- Crowdfunding Tips
- Pitfalls of Crowdfunding
- We Did This – a crowdfunding broker for the arts – part of Peoplefund.it
- Crowdfunding Guide – a list of more crowdfunding organisations.
- Songhack recommends 11 Crowdfunding organisations.
- Songbacker – for music video production. USA based.
- Crowdfunding ‘Term Sheets’ resources. Investment terms, company valuation, and the longer-term implications of investment terms are not “one size fits all.” In fact, these are some of the biggest areas of confusion for early stage founders. To help with that, here are. some great free term sheet resources available to startup and small business owners looking for guidance and sample term sheet agreements.
- Pitching for Investment. Tips by Crowdfunder on key elements of a pitch to potential investors. What should you talk about? A good download document.
How to set up a Paypal business account to support your business/crowdfunding project.
How to design a good buiness card – a blog by Ideastap.
Music facts and statistics for the UK Interesting data about music in the UK, covering UK market size and value, digital music, live music, export performance, research and publications. Compiled by The Creative Industries.
A complete B Sharp music resource menu can be found in Links to Progress your Music Interests and Journey.