Thursday, 18 September 2014 00:00

Above The Noise with Musicpreneur Author Aaron Bethune

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Canadian-born global music entrepreneur Aaron Bethune has just released his new text, entitled Musicpreneur. The book serves as an invaluable music-industry resource that “relates to left and right brain thinkers alike, hopefully connecting the two.”

The book encourages the use of all of today’s emerging and new technology and includes over 300 links to “web info, examples, videos, documents, and websites.” Musicpreneur is also accompanied by an online resource that acts as a “two-way interaction between the readers and author.”

Of the text, Eric Alper, Director of Media Relations for eOne Music Canada, says: “It’s tempting, when you go into the music business, to think that all you have to do is write a great song. That certainly helps. It’s also a necessity to know all aspects of the industry, so you're able to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face. This book might just be all you’ll ever need to read.”

Additionally, our own David Weiss says: “When you run into people with a true passion for innovation and music, you take notice. Aaron Bethune is constantly applying the former to the latter, and he does it with integrity — this is a person you want on your team.” Being obvious fans ourselves, we spoke with Bethune about what Musicpreneur has to offer, and about his advice for emerging artists, his thoughts on changing facets of the industry, and more. See his responses below.

1. I wrote Musicpreneur because…

I wrote Musicpreneur as a creative handbook for serious musicians wanting to actively develop their talent into a successful career. It has always been a fascination as to why there are so many talented musicians pursuing a career in music and so few achieving it. The obsession to find the answer and then pass it along is what led me to write the book. Research shows that only 1 percent of musicians make a full-time living from original music, but the good news is that there are ways to put yourself in that minority. This book shows you how.

2. Musicpreneur is different from any other text on the market because…

An underlying theme in the book is to be confidently yourself, finding your difference and embracing it. Becoming a leader instead of a follower.

Research into the fans of bands on social platforms has shown that the vast majority of the fans are other bands — bands that are also trying to build their own career. But are other starving musicians really the fans you are trying to target? Musicians need to shift their focus onto how they can earn money from their music and add value to it outside of the music industry. Musicpreneur covers the musical landscape, tools available, and traditional and non-traditional streams of revenue, but more importantly shows you how to monetize your talents without containing and limiting yourself to the music industry. It shows you how to take an entrepreneurial approach to your career, and that is something unique to this book.

3. If I had to advise a new act, my first or most crucial piece of advice would be…

Nothing substitutes great music. It is always about the music first and foremost. To create great music you need to be authentically invested and committed to the music you create. It should make your heart sing and not be contingent on what others do or say you should do. There is already a Taylor Swift or Bruce Springsteen. Being yourself is easy and you can do it for the rest of your life.

When you stand for something, you'll find that people want to be part of your movement. That clarity on what motivates you and what you represent will help build a team and bring sponsorship and investment.

Once you have established your personal brand and music, it is equally important to know who your audience is and cater to them in unique and meaningful ways. If you are doing things differently from other musicians then you are probably doing them right. Be confidently yourself!

4. The thing about the music industry that will never change is…

The value of music is the experience and that will never change, no matter what the packaging or technology that delivers it.

5. The thing about the music industry that’s changing fastest is…

Is the perception as to how we monetize the experience of music.

Musicians have the ability to reach a large audience independently using the available tools at almost no cost. However the expectancy is to make little to no money in return for the product. The generation that is growing up with the concept of free or cheap music is not hard-wired to give a high economic value to the product.

This shift in perception of the value of music as a product emphasizes the importance of the experience. How musicians monetize the experience of music and even the process of making music with their fans is constantly morphing and being repackaged. Thanks to the internet and technology, that process of repackaging is happening faster than ever before.

Keep in mind, there are three music generations:

1. The generation that have spent the majority of their lives paying for music.

2. The generation that have spent part of their lives paying for music and part of their lives getting it for free or cheap.

3. The generation that have spent their life getting music for free.

Additionally, each of these generations have different expectations for the audio quality of music. This is based on the format that the music has been delivered (vinyl to MP3) during the influential years of their lives (four to seventeen).

Catering to all of three groups of music fans should influence the products and services that are created. Because the three groups of music fans co-exist, it is hard to find an industry model that works for all. There is always a need for a new product or service and the internet has allowed for anyone to be the creator of the next big thing. So there are a lot of players joining the game and speeding up the process of change.

6. I’m currently listening to and watching…

I love to hear the unique sounds and trends that develop out of different geographical areas of the country. It’s hard to get that from commercial radio, so I enjoy listening to a lot of the more alternative music sources, including campus radio, community radio and public radio, as well as checking out blogs, listening to recommendations from friends, music influencers, trendsetters and so on. That said, I of course keep up with what is charting commercially so as to get the big picture.

I am a big fan of researching bands on YouTube (it's pretty much the first thing I do when I hear about a new band or when somebody tells me about their band) as well as using it to discover new music.

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