Death of the CD: Making a living in the music business even if you’re not Drake.
“Talk like an artist, but think like a businessman.”
It’s no secret that the music industry has shifted to digital, with record deals of the past becoming scarce, traditional music sales declining, and the emergence of streaming media.
Although Canadian record companies are reporting increased revenue; these increases are primarily in the Hip-Hop/R&B genre led my musicians like Ed Sheeran, Drake, and Alessia Cara – but these folks are still working with traditional music label deals and they get a ton of public exposure.
Back in the 70’s, musicians would make the trip to Sunset Boulevard to “be discovered” by the bigwigs running the music labels. In the 80’s it was the east coast and in the 90’s it was Seattle.
In today’s music world physical locality is almost irrelevant for artists and bands trying to gain access to their audiences. Enter the great opportunity of world-wide streaming.
World-wide streaming services opened up endless possibilities for Canadian musicians in this new digital era; and, sure . . . leaps and bounds have been made by some; but we all know how this fairy-tale has ended up. Canadian musicians are still finding it difficult to find equitable pay in the streaming world. Spotify and YouTube are the largest streaming services, yet, they pay the least with an average stream rate of $0.0038 and $0.0006 per play.
Sounds wonderful, right? All of the hard work, creativity, and endless hours putting a few songs online and musicians might earn enough to buy a loaf of bread and some crappy meat-like substance to make a sandwich or two.
But, it’s not all bad. You don’t have to be “an antisocial pessimist.” (Alessia Cara) – This is certainly not the time to get down on all that is wrong with today’s music industry. In fact, this is the time to re-group and re-think about how to approach making music given what there is to work with.
First, what have we learned from the digital disruption in today’s music business?
Well, we have learned that making money in today’s digital world can suck big time.
But maybe . . . just maybe . . . it’s also because there is a seemingly overwhelming amount of digital possibilities that many musicians simply don’t know where to place their focus so they just go out guns-a-blazing and end up crap-shooting on apps like Spotify, Apple iTunes, and YouTube and hope that the outcomes will be different for them.
But, we know this crap-shoot simply isn’t’ working for most musicians.
So how do Canadian Musicians approach the new revenue and marketing realities of practicing musicianship and making a living at it?
We believe there is a better way. We believe that musicians need to take a step back and re-evaluate what they do. We believe that musicians need to readjust their thinking and think like an entrepreneur: To plan their work and work their plan.
This is where BandLaunch for Canadian Musicians comes in. Funded by a generous grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, BandLaunch is the first of its kind to offer Canadian Musicians a fully comprehensive course in The Business of Music.
Out with the old financial models of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and in with a new way of thinking; BandLaunch arms Canadians musicians with a new way of thinking about themselves as entrepreneurs in today’s digital age.
The BandLaunch course addresses all things in the modern music industry; From production (e.g., recording technologies), to delivery (e.g., marketing and streaming), to Canadian business law (e.g., copyright, licensing and policing in the digital age).
BandLaunch shows Canadian musicians how to methodically tap revenue streams that put their music and their band front and center; capturing new audiences while also complimenting the iTunes and Spotifys of this world.
Starting in October 2019 an on-line window at
will open up to all Canadian musicians to sign up for this first ever FREE online music business course designed specifically for Canadian musicians to learn the ins and outs of today’s changing music industry.
Applications are first come first serve with an availability of 50 spots where 20% of spots will be dedicated for musicians with disabilities. Notices will go out in October, 2019 informing the successful applicants and the 12-week course will begin in November. We have plenty of surprises, give-aways, awards, certificates, and a big charity concert at the end of the course!
BandLaunch is founded by Mark Church (MC Church); entrepreneur, music producer, and MBA professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, and Roland Hofer AKA ‘The Doctor’; long-time Canadian musician and artist.
“We can’t give away all of the secrets of how to succeed in today’s music world – mostly because it is a little more complicated than a few bullet points in a blog post,” says Canadian musician and founder, Roland Hofer. “While research can be very helpful, we believe that musicians need to be informed properly about how to create their very own music business.”
Says Church, “With the right information, Canadian musicians can make plans to jumpstart their success with revenue models that work in today’s digital reality. We hope to show musicians a number of better roads to more successful outcomes. We will start to hear more Canadian Music in our ears and in our hearts.”