Berklee today

JUN 2013

Berklee today is the official alumni publication of Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a forum for contemporary music and musicians.

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about how to approach business. I think of giving a presentation, or selling, and working investors, prospective customers, employees, and vendors. There is something about being a musician that gives you the tools. The role of a CEO is the same as that of an orchestra conductor. You don't know how to play all the instruments, but your job as the person who sees the entire score is to make the whole sound better than the individual parts. It is the same in business. It is great if you have a brilliant engineer or salesperson, but your whole operation has to work properly. I've always felt that my music education prepared me for a lifetime in business. Without it I don't think I would have been successful." Natural Entrepreneurs "After touring on the road with a band, it very easy to be in a startup," Nimbits' Antoniades says. "It's the same mentality. There are some amazing business people who can't improvise to save their lives. But as a musician, you look at the world in a completely different way. You want me to get in front of 100 people and talk about this business? No problem. You want me to start talking about something I know nothing about? No problem. Improvising! That's what it is." "Everything you're learning by being a full-time musician is teaching you everything you need to know to run a company—if you want to," Sivers says. "Musicians learn to fnd good players that they get along with, manage delicate egos, and keep the team focused and moving forward. This is no different than hiring. Musicians learn to put together a good show that's entertaining, draws a crowd, and grows by word-of-mouth. That's basically product develop- ment. Musicians have to hustle, network, look everywhere for opportunities, and say yes frst and fgure it out afterward. That's business development. Musicians know how to describe their music in an enticing way, present an intriguing image, and win fans wherever they go. That's marketing. "Read business books and apply them to your music career," Sivers continues. "They may use examples about carpet cleaners or shipping companies, but with a little metaphorical thinking and imagination, you can apply the principles to your situation in music. By doing that, you've just put yourself ahead of the 99 percent who don't. Then if you want to make a company, you'll fnd you've already learned what you need." Staying the Course . . . "When artists say these things are too hard or sound complicated," PledgeMusic's Rogers says, "I can tell them that I've done what they're trying to do. I'm the guy who gets on stage with a guitar and asks people to sign an e-mail list, and I e-mail them that night. If I can do it, so can you. My voice professor at Berklee, Charlie Sorrento, was such an inspiration. He always told me that even if you think you're not going to hit the note, just tell yourself that you will. Know that you'll do it, and you'll pull it off. When we were starting PledgeMusic, people were telling me, 'You can't do this, it doesn't work that way.' I had Charlie's words ringing in my ears: 'You'll do it, you'll fnd a way.'" Eric Jensen is a guitarist, composer, and business consultant living in Los Angeles. Tell a friend... Virtual subscriptions to Berklee today are now available for free to Berklee alumni and all other interested parties. Visit and sign up to receive an e-mail when each new issue is published. Read back issues at Summer2013 21

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