This is a guest blog post by Matt Urmy, CEO of Artist Growth. Artist Growth is a mobile platform that puts the business of artist development directly in the artist's hands. You can manage your gigs, finances, track daily tasks and coordinate team projects, all from the phone in your pocket. In this post, Matt discusses the importance of collecting data for today’s musicians, and how they can leverage that data to advance their careers. Enjoy!
Musicians, Got Data?
In Today’s Music Business, what’s most important?
In my humble opinion, it’s the same thing that’s always been important: Great Music. What’s the next most important thing? …how about getting it to the people?
But then what? How do you create a career…create a team that can help you spread your music and make a living? Well, in today’s world, to do that you have to have data: Touring history. Sales. Fan-Base Size. Social Media Impressions...the list can go on and on...
Anyone involved in business today bases the majority of their decisions upon data analytics, and if they don’t, they should. Just about every organization demands data to back up claims on performance...whether it’s the IRS, a promoter, or record company executive...it’s just today’s reality.
If you are a songwriter, a musician in a band, a manager of an artist(s)...if you are engaged in the process of developing a career in music (yours or somebody else’s), then you have be able to use data and analytics to move the needle of that career.
In the last several years, there have been several online services that have launched, and each of them offers artists and their teams a little bit of insight into how well their careers are progressing, how well their businesses are performing. Whether it is digital sales data, website analytics, or social media traction, the tools continue to be designed.
Despite this trend of emergent digital music services, there has not yet been a total paradigm shift in the consciousness of artists around the world. So many artists still suffer from the disease of:
“Someday somebody will hear my song and ‘get it’ so much that they’ll make me famous.”
The short and simple reality is this: If you want to build a team of professionals that will help you reach the height of your potential as a successful artist, after you show them that you make great music, you have to show them:
- That you understand the basic principles of business (Profit and Loss, Accounting, Marketing, etc.).
- That you have already begun to put those principles to work, on your own.
The fastest way to demonstrate both to a potential business partner = data.
Some managers and labels would rather receive a business plan from an artist than a demo. What does that tell you?
Today the tools that exist to help you record and market your music are great…however, with every new solution comes a new set of challenges.
Too many logins to manage, data is spread thin over a myriad of different online services. Not to mention the box full of old receipts (when you remembered to save them), the crumpled email sign up sheets in the trunk of your car...sound familiar? The list goes on and on.
One of the greatest challenges in any business is tracking each small piece of data. So much falls through the cracks. In music, we work in places where most everyone is drinking, and at all hours of the night…and are constantly moving from one place to another…it’s so challenging when your office is a car, van, or tour bus.
It’s also so competitive. How do you make yourself stand out from the rest of the crowd? While you are proving that you make great music, prove that you understand the value of data in business at the same time.
Run Your Business Like You Mix A Record
Noise, Noise, Noise. There is plenty of it in music these days.
You have to filter out the distracting frequencies. You have to balance the landscape.
Mixing a record is about putting every sound in its place, to create the truest and most accurate rendering of the performance of your songs…you have to do the same thing with the performance of your business.
Plain and simple, we built Artist Growth to be a mixing console for your music career…the business side of it. Instead of a master tape, you get quantified data. You get the proof that you are growing.
It’s designed so that the business to-do’s don’t take too much energy away from your creative life.
Yes, you eventually need a team around you. A manager, A booking agent...etc. BUT, in the meantime (if you don’t have that in place yet), you can build a portfolio of data that shows you are an artist that is worth making an investment in.
Two things you have to have to be able to build a great team today:
- Great Music. This is a must.
- Data that supports the claim that you are a good business investment.
The tools exist that allow you to make both of those happen completely on your own. You are in control if you want to be. It’s never been a more exciting time to be an artist, if you really believe in yourself, and are willing to do the work...
It’s your life. Your dream. Don’t fuck around with it…and certainly don’t let anyone else fuck around with it. It’s your music business now.