How do you make money in music? To understand how musicians make money, I turn to successful business models. My paternal grandfather made a living teaching English. Teaching music is one of several ways to earn a living in music.
The third thing we weren’t taught in a classical music education is contact with our listeners. At conservatory, we were not taught to promote ourselves or our music. Least of all, we were not taught to get to know our listeners, let alone build a fan club. If we don’t know our fans, how can we contact them?
The previous blog got too long. The third thing we weren’t taught in a classical music education is contact with our listeners.
Futurists advise that the business model for musicians in the future is contact with your fans.
I mentioned in another blog that classical musicians don’t know their fans. At conservatory, we were taught to interpret, analyse, perform, teach, and compose music at conservatory. We were not taught to promote ourselves or our music. Least of all, we were not taught to get to know our listeners, let alone build a fan club. If we don’t know our fans, how can we contact them?
The blog simplifies the formula as follows:
Connect with Fans (CwF) + Reason to Buy (RtB) = The Business Model
Classical musicians want to spend as much time as possible practising and perfecting their music. This explains why agents and impresarios are necessary to deal with everything else. In a big concert hall, it’s impossible to look into the black void to see who your fans are. Only with a small audience can you see them.
Getting to know your fans requires time to network with them. The best time is after a concert. There are no free drinks or snacks after a concert at the conservatory.
I was at a final exam concert recently, packed with supporters of the singer whose teacher applauded her as her first master’s student at the conservatory. She said,”Now let’s pop the champagne.” (or something to that effect.) The student replied,”Thank you. I have given you my music. That’s all I have.” (or something to that effect).
Indeed, after every concert at the conservatory the opportunity to stay and network is squashed by lack of drinks and food to lure people to stay. If musicians are conditioned to leave right after a concert, where is the opportunity to get to know who your fans are? If you don’t know who they are, how can you contact them?