I have ‘hardcover’ news! Hardcover books for The Essence of the Music Business have arrived on Amazon’s selection. Hardcover is a big deal for the author – it is somehow more impressive. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with paperbacks, or e- and audio books. They have their own abilities. But still, the hardcover is the thing!
This novelty is a book worth reading. I like the definition it has received – Modern Basics for Artists and Other Music Business Professionals. It’s this long-term knocking on almost every writing in the field today. This book focuses on how this is worth taking into account in everyday activities.
This book is also available on Google Play Books and EBSCO for academic purposes.
‘ The fully revised 2nd Edition is here. New examples have been added to better reflect the present time. Also, as a main focus, strategic thinking, the ability to create long-term plans and how to prepare for this in everyday activities are present in this book.
Understanding the importance of strategy is the basis for rational advancement. In the music business – strategies are not always perceptible. They are multi-layered, long-lasting, but also instantaneously effective. The ultimate goal often transpires along the way.
In order to understand tactics, one has to read between the lines. The reason why different pre-conditions and industrial expectations must always be taken into account is due to conflicts between artistic and economic goals. An artist’s progress often depends on their interest groups’ comfort to these aspects and is about maintaining the balance between music business objectives and the artist’s story.
This book deals with factors affecting the strategy and how it relates to the artist and their management. Although viable passive income generation in the streaming era is what is sought most after, no other aspect, including social media capital, should be ignored, as it is often even more important. All this has an impact on how an artist succeeds in other music business areas. This book illustrates the current state of things in light of new opportunities.
‘Strategy’ is the final chapter of The Essence of the Music Business trilogy from Mika Karhumaa.’
Meaningful it has to be. Strategy has always been my favorite subject. Although all my books deal with strategic perspectives to some extent, this up-coming Second Edition at hand treats it with completely new dimensions. It is these meaningful and essential sections that have been better raised. And behind them, it is again added to the meaningful experience.
This book has already faced the readers with its First Edition. Since its publication I have used this book as a study book for my courses. That’s why it has been the subject of intensive debate, questioning and analyzing. Nothing else creates a better starting point for Second Edition than such an examination – especially as the speech is a strategy.
Different methods and different meaningful measures can achieve exactly the same end result. Strategy is not always a question of choice – sometimes it’s dictated by necessity. Although the strategy is often dependent on its user, it also affects how others adopt it or from other side – responds to it. A journey includes variables that force to think about choices from another corner. The strategy also involves dealing with morality, sustainable solutions and accountability in general. The strategy will not only affect in its immediate sphere of influence, but often even further.
Another meaningful factor is goals. Each release is always about facing the ideals of industry. The issues that are generally perceived as worthwhile. Each release also creates an opportunity to enrich the backstory of each involved. The release also involves a new metadata in the form of copyright. If your own goals differ from how to make the same thing in the field, it may require clarification. By taking note of this you will be understood properly.
This up-coming book deals with these topics. All of this and much more will be available in a soon to be published The Essence of the Music Business: Strategy 2nd Edition. The new edition has a polished presentation and included things that were left out of the First Edition. It’s much more consistent entity now.
I am privileged that I get to work with the professionals that are mentioned in my books. Every thanks in them is well deserved. Here we are on April 22th at Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, with Leonidas Chantzaras, talking about the significance of record companies in the 2020’s.
I have got a lot of inquiries about this next publication over the year. Please wait patiently – this novelty will be published in June!
If something has changed over the past few years, it’s how we understand of being independent, or more of the value of being independent. Being an independent artist is no longer combined with a second-class amateur business. No, today independence seems to be the main objective of artists. A state of being in which the artistic freedom and economic independence do well.
A few years ago, most of the contacts I had joined how to get a recording agreement, and to get along the groove. Nowadays independent artists can achieve seven or even eight digit numbers of streams – by DIY – do it yourself. They may not even need others to achieve that result. Managers are no longer sought for the needs of intercession know-how. No, it’s about strategic guidance how to tell your own story and plant it for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes. Or how to monetize things. It is also to establish the best possible organization of economic and copyright issues. Managers are more likely to approached for a field knowledge – to get access to knowledge that is out of reach for artists. In addition, especially at the beginning of the career, in its construction phase, the artist often avoid long-term attachments. Manager is acquired to handle some particular task and again can be moved forward. This happens to me more frequently – a new assignment takes place on an on demand basis.
The modern artist knows their value and knows more often what needs to do next. The purpose is to go as far as you can with your own resources and only when your own resources are not enough, in accordance with the goal – approaching future industrial partners. I like the current trend that artists retain the copyrights themselves and organize their releases through distributors and administrations in a way that requires no transfer of any rights. Of course, this is not so black and white. The record companies are still an important institution in the music business.
In the past, the record companies were the gateway to the market. Today it’s more about at which stage the record companies become topical – if they ever will. In addition, the artist’s own management is often able to organize the releases so that around them is possible to build a meaningful business. All this is dependent on the objectives of the artist. The larger the international distribution is to be achieved, the greater the probability that the record companies will be needed. Instead, if the artist wants to advance organically, depending on how popularity so permits, it should probably be done on an independent basis.
Anyway, this picture tells you a lot about where things are going. Here’s Chronoform. We go through their copyright issues and how to arrange their SEO so that it best supports their story. The management task will take as long as the job is completed – on an on demand basis and for the independent artist.
Timelessness and memorable laws – the topics that have always fascinated me. I have always tried to find regularities and don’t even realize why. However, I pay attention to them in every transaction. It’s probably an occupational habit as an artist manager and a non-fiction writer.
This theme of timelessness is present everywhere in my production. Timelessness is the frame against which all the development is reflected. Timelessness is also a fixture on which I build the structure of my books. Timeless also determines the order in which my lecture series on the topic are presented. Or the content of the artist mentoring and guidance I provide. There’s quite a rational reason for this.
Books are easier to update, renew, and edit to match the prevailing terms. Taking timelessness into account also makes it possible to eliminate momentary trends when they cease – there is no need to re-edit the entire book. Such a content feature also makes it easier for reader to perceive the purpose of updates. Under the theme of timelessness one is also able to reach to the present moment as well as find the things that need to be corrected, improved, changed or removed in the very moment.
To stay up to date, I visit several industry forums like MusicAlly, Music Business Worldwide, Future Music Forum or webinars arranged by Songtrust to name a few. All this, in addition to the daily practice. Every time something new comes up in those situations, I wonder if it should be taken into account in my books, lectures, or giving mentoring to the artists. One part of my information acquisition relates to such one-one-one conversations that I have on a weekly basis around the world. Here’s one such with MusicAlly’s Commercial Director, Anthony Churchman.
All this has become a cycle that affects everything in my daily life. It also brings rhythm and routines to the day.
I saw an interesting chain of conversation on Michelle Galas’s MUSIC BUSINESS GROOVS. There was talk about electronic press kit and its meaning. The electronic press kit is often abbreviated as EPK. This article is not so much about an electronic press kit is built and what a good EPK is like. No, now we are talking about its operating environment and what all needs to be considered when approaching the media and other infrastructures in the industry. Basically, these are two things.
First, the media is busy – they get a lot of these press kits everyday. If the artist you represent or artist him- or herself is new to the market, this thing is important to note. On a scale of values when you are already on the feet of the most famous. Many things go unpublished because the electronic press kit is delivered in a format where its text cannot be edited. Not all the media wants to publish EPK as it is, but make their own comments on it. It requires an extra effort from the journalist to rewrite the whole text sent by artist or artist’s management. In the midst of all that workload, it is easier to publish bulletins of new artists who have taken this need into account. If a certain text version is submitted alongside with EPK, the probability that the bulletin will be published will increase.
Secondly, when approaching radios or other forums where the recording can be aired, copyright implications must be taken into account. Regional differences must now be taken into account. In all countries, music cannot be played on the radio without a label copy. Label copy is an instrument that a record company makes for each release. It shows all the rights-holders of the recording. This way the radio is able to report every play correctly to the relevant copyright organisation. If you do not have a record company for this need, such a label copy can be built by your distributor. Once again, it requires an extra effort from the radios to go looking for the necessary permission. Almost without exception, this goes unnoticed, no matter how good the song.
With these things, artist management works every day. Here’s an image from an online session with our promotion executive, Michela Prescott, for the upcoming release of Delta Enigma. The content and the form of an electronic press kit is usually the spot where to start. It is then created an occasional division of labor, what the artist do, what management and what the label.
Proofreading is an integral part of making a book. I am in a fortunate position because my proofreading is done by a distinguished scientist, Eloise Mikkonen. I remember well the time I was writing my first book. When I got to the point where proofreading became topical, it wasn’t easy to arrange at all. Every author and every book has its own style – and the ultimate message to convey. It’s not just the text itself, but also the style, rhythm and presentation order. If that connection ceases to exist, there is a danger that the same words could produce a completely different result from what was intended. It is important that the proofreader is able to evaluate the raw text correctly and is able to read the exact meaning behind it.
Eloise was the sixth proofreader to whom I presented my text. She said she would correct a few pages as an experiment and we could see what the finished text would look like. When I saw those pages, I knew immediately she was the right person for the job. She was able to follow the main themes of the book, creating a style for the text that fit my message. It is a great freedom for an author to feel safe already at the writing stage. There is no need to write connotations and explanations – the other can already understand it.
The Essence of the Music Business: Strategy 2nd Edition, which will be published this year is already our fourth joint operation. I have to admit that these books have became more complete each time. Our collaboration develops and finds new features. We now have many new methods in our ‘toolkit’ to make the text even more understandable. They have evolved along the way.
I find it nice when these behind the scenes stories are constantly asked about. This short story of mine is an ode to proofreading and its meaning. If you are in a similar situation yourself, you should invest in this task – even if it is difficult to find the right one at the beginning. Successful proofreading makes a book experience for the reader as well.
Telecommuting has become familiar to many of us over the past year. Telecommuting is its own form of art – each of us creates our own style to do it remotely. You can also develop your telecommuting skills and what better way to accomplish it than to do it together.
In my case however, telecommuting is not a new phenomenon. This is partly due to my location – I live in Finland and most of my associates are from abroad.
Why I now brought up this telecommuting is due to the recent meeting I took part in. I had an interesting talk with Nando Machado from ForMusic. We didn’t know each other before. Nevertheless, immediacy was present all the time. If something from 2020 remains, it is probably an easiness of various communication tools used. Now it all happened through Zoom.
When there are no possibilities for meeting each other in person, it must be done some other way. For me, this means a significant improvement in the international dimensions. Suddenly it is perfectly normal to have a conversation all over the world. Even with small things and as if that would always been the case. I admit I like this development.
Today I got an excellent overview of how things are handled in South America. With a person with decades of experience on the subject. It made me wonder if these discussions should take place more often. Music business is clearly a universal phenomenon that affects us all.
What makes telecommuting fruitful is practicality. All the necessary material is in front of you and yet you have an eye contact with those present. Okay, I admit I miss live contact where everyone else is. But still, I have noticed that some things are easier to manage through some remote channel, while others happen live more fluently.
I am pretty sure we could take advantage of this opportunity in the future – and meet more people globally. Who knows what can evolve with it.
Happy New Year to Everyone! I hope you are all doing fine. This is my tradition and fashion to welcome the new year.
The publication year 2021 looks interesting. Last autumn’s lecture series at Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences sparked a variety of ideas. From the very first lectures I noticed that we are dealing with a new way of understanding the music business. Therefore, as on a structural level. Due to the activity of the students, I feel obliged to make a book about it. Duty though is a wrong expression here – it’s really about joy.
There will be several releases from the artists I represent coming this year. At least Delta Enigma, Melba Culp, Annika Nord and IRENE are releasing new material this year. Nevertheless, it gives room for writing. We have been doing groundwork throughout last year to make this year easier. We have got to know each other better, and there’s no need to take a meeting on every issue :).
In addition, more lectures are coming. Hopefully at some point the world will be open up again and we can do them live as well.
However, I am pleased to announce that this family will receive an increase when The Essence of the Music Business 4 – Artist Management goes into production. I haven’t started writing it yet as The Essence of the Music Business:Strategy needs a little update. Once this taken out from below, it is time for a new publication.
I want to tell you about the gift I received. I got a box of chocolate like this from Songtrust. Such a lovely gesture from them. I will use this as a prize. Whenever I successfully add a section to a book, I take one piece. There are 14 pieces in the box. I’ll let you know afterwards whether the writing happened faster or slower than before.
This has been a great course – not just for its substance, but the people. Given that we have not been able to meet each other, but at a distance, we learned how to work as a team. A lot has happened during these eight weeks. One might think that the charge will weaken in the wake of four-hour remote lessons. Or that everything is a mere theory. No, it didn’t happen this time. We let the story and necessities be our course. We grew along the way according to what new material we received for our lessons. We let our guests bring extra boost at the moments when our imagination met their limits. This course could have continued no matter how long. It is about management and intercession know-how after all.
In reality – all this gave rise to a completely revamped The Essence of the Music Business:Strategy, as well as an adapted frame for the same course next semester. The first three times we went on our own, got to know each other and our ways of working. We worked between lectures in our social media group and analyzed the delivery of the lectures. After this introduction ran its course, it was time to welcome our awesome guests Annika Nord, Delta Enigma, and Melba Culp. They brought practicality to the course – presenting their current situation.
As we set out to consider their next moves – we found ourselves thinking about momentary co-management. The artists taught the students their own tricks and the students, enlightened by it, presented their own development suggestions. Quite a many of these proposals were workable. Some of them decided to be implemented immediately. Even in management – it is important to be able to think outside the box – to get an external view. Now the students of this course offered it.
Today we met for the last session of the fall – to evaluate the course. It was great that everyone wanted to be involved. That’s not all. It’s best to save the best for the last. The day began with a lecture by Mandy Aubry from Songtrust on music publishing. This, in some places, difficult subject becomes an easy-to-understand whole when presented by a professional this level.
Every now and then you get to participate in something great. The picture below is from our recent lecture – the third of total seven we do. The subject is, of course, music business – this time the story of the artist and the online presence associated with it. Given that the case in hand is a multi-faceted entity and at times a difficult subject to grasp, we received a well-analyzed set of related information.
However, this is not the reason why I’m writing this story. No – this is about the atmosphere that students at their most receptive can create. Despite these unprecedented times and the limitations it may create, energy released flowed here. And yes – it is all reciprocal. Every lecturer knows how it feels to be in it.
One picture is worth a thousand words. I hope the picture conveys the mood from the ‘classroom’ we had through Teams. I, too, thought that a four hour lecture with 40 students might be hard to keep interesting. How wrong I was. Of course it would great to have a live audience, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with these remote connections. In the same way, these are real encounters.
We still have four sets left. We are excited as we are with the whole Delta Enigma in the next lecture. With them, we go through the things how the artist and the manager are running their every day business. Against this background we get closer to the point. We are not doing anything artificial, but this meeting in the form of a ‘lecture’ will deal with the release of the artist’s upcoming single, Venom, and related preparations. At the same time, we lead ourselves to the inherent continuum of the matter. This lecture will be followed by the contribution of Jack McConnell. Melba Culp’s leader will talk about the division of labor between the artist and the manager in modern days. In order to see the big picture, management must be approached from several alternative perspectives. The presence of artists reinforces the message well.
Libraries have played a huge role in the promotion of my books. A relationship with libraries is something I want to cherish through life. I thought I could dedicate part of this Sunday to this appreciation. At the same time, I get to prepare mentally for the course on Management and Interlocutor Skills. Why do I bring up in this context? First of all, without libraries my production would never had such a wide circulation. Consequently, the amount of lectures I give have increased considerably.
A series of lectures starting next week will make the issue topical in another way. Students have had time and opportunity to familiarize themselves with the course material in advance. Such an opportunity gives the lecturer more room. The body and content of the lectures can be colored from completely different starting points.
My main distributor for university libraries is EBSCO. Their e-book collection is impressive. The best thing about all this is that even a larger number of students can borrow a book. My upcoming course has 4o students. I use all three books as a course material. If only physical books were available, there would be a disproportionate number of physical books in the library to make enough for everyone. Regardless of the space they would take up.
This writing is not intended to discriminate against physical books. No, they are indeed just as important. Now it’s a question of purpose and the role of libraries in it. I am happy for every inclusion where the libraries take my books in their selections – whether it is physical, e-book or an audio book.
So on this Sunday again, I remember this appreciation. Thank you for creating the necessary pre-conditions for a successful lecture series. It is becoming a full 32 hours of teaching through Teams – plus assignments and the exam itself. When all this is timed within two months, consistency is the key. Easy access to books is something that facilitates not only navigation but also internalization of the matter. All the essential is immediately accessible and is not behind many gates. When the subject is management and mediator skills in the music business, it involves a lot of information.
There are many things happening this fall. The Essence of the Music Business books have spread across the globe. It is four years since the first one was published. A Second Edition of the first two parts has already been made and update of the third is coming next fall. As a result, this all brought with it various follow-ups. The most popular of there are by far the lectures and mentoring I provide to artists, managers and other music business operatives.
One of the biggest challenges for this year was getting the remote workspace ready by the fall. In my case, 100 percent of the work happens remotely. That’s what it seems to be now – a new normal. Fortunately this summer offered a short break from this all-encompassing scourge and I got the workers safely on site. In July-August we got these facilities completed. It makes this fall possible.
From this stage it will then take place this fall. I can’t miss including before and after pictures. You can see what kind of place this was a few months ago. Quite a make over!
I am particularly excited about the up-coming artist-management course in October-November – for which I have had great guests. When the size of the lectures alone is 28 hours, it can be included all the relevant. Plus assignments and mentoring.
To that every fall question. Whether there’s still room for these mentoring. The answer is yes. I make no distinction between different genres i.e no matter what genre you represent.
And indeed, each mentoring is unique. A more advanced version of mentoring is strategic consulting – even though I don’t much like the word consulting:). I have recently had a very interesting collaboration in Los Angeles, together with Prince Ayo Ajisebutu. We have mapped out modern ways to bring out independent and up-and-coming artists even better – on terms of their story. I has been rewarding to work with a man who has worked e.g with Youssou N’dour.
As many of you have already noticed, you can found me also on Linkedin. Feel free to connect!
I am very pleased at the reception that 2nd Edition of ‘Philosophy‘ has received – even though the publication is only fair for two weeks. I have got a lot of comments from readers. I am particularly delighted by the fact that the book’s message has been heard. I was happy with the first edition of the book, but the reader, who later became my friend, mentioned one thing after reading the book. ‘ I liked the style in which the book discusses with the reader, but is not edited. Not edited, I couldn’t accept that :).
My own philosophy is that if something gets bothered, something needs to be done about it. As I began to think more closely, I came to the conclusion that the book itself also needed to be updated. I also had to think of readers. At the same time, I came up with a solution that still feels good today. This 2nd Edition is even more hybrid than the previous one. By hybrid I mean that it takes into account the laws before and after the spread of streaming, but also prepares for the wider landing of the blockchain.
Now that the world has settled in the footsteps of the streaming revolution, eternal legalities of the music business are making a comeback – with the 2020’s application. Effects and technical insights no longer form the center of everything as it seemed at the time of transition. Now again, authenticity and story are flagged and promotion tactics and techniques play a supporting role, not the main thing.
From this premise, I made an edit in which the middle part of the book, pages 99-122, forms a kind of watershed. Note, if you are reading an e-book, it has a different pagination. By that I mean the book’s chapters from the Media Feed to the Functional Side of Biography. What makes this book hybrid is that it understands an old-school, contemporary development and modern technology as a whole and thus as an opportunity. The book moves back and forth through that watershed I mentioned. Such a structural solution within the book also makes the other literature in the field more palpable. It is easier to place different subject groups in their respective places and even larger entities becomes manageable.
This book is available on Amazon, Google and EBSCO for academic use.
Here’s a contest we have been planning for some time. As the band is releasing its next single, Unreality, and I turn to my new book, we decided to arrange the contest now. Below are the rules to enter the contest. It takes place on Delta Enigma’s Official Facebook Page.
Enter to win FREE mystery box of cool stuff delivered to you.
Everyone can enter! Here’s how to win the game:
1) Like this post.
2) Comment a random number between 1 and 10 and you’re in the game!
3) (optional) Share this contest.
You can participate the draw only once.
GRAND PRIZE: (1 winner)
This mysterious box contains fantastic, epic, customized items/merch by Delta Enigma + something extra.
Some of the items are UNIQUE and the winner of the grand prize will officially become the only person to own them in the whole wide world.
BONUS PRIZE: (4 winners)
“The Essence of the Music Business – Philosophy” book.
Our manager has just finished the 2nd Edition of this International Bestseller.
The important teachings of his book also affect our band’s actions on a daily basis.
This book is considered extremely useful if you need a boost in your career of music or if you want to take a peek behind the scenes from the management perspective.
August 5th it will be published. Pre-order yours conveniently with one click. The piece, which has become a modern classic of music business books, received its 2nd Edition. Completely revised and several additional pages – featuring the latest innovations in artist promotion / marketing.
This is great! We know our drummer, Eddie X, is a hard working social media user. Our fans love him for that. Best of all, he’s a great drummer. When your own activity raises its head, you can be happy. Not long ago, Eddie got some interesting news – he could get involved in a Birthday video for Korn‘s drummer, Ray Luzier. This is an impressive clip. Personally, I admire how his Wife talks about her Husband. You should really check this out! From my side also, Happy Birthday, Ray.
Finally I can make an official announcement! The publication date is settled and the pre-sale started. Second Edition is available on August 5th through Amazon and Google Books. It is already available for academic libraries on EBSCO because of their next semester needs.
Back Cover –
‘This modern classic of music business books has received a second edition. The fully revised piece delves even deeper into the most important insight of modern music management – the endearing inter-dependence between the artist and the manager. In accepting this, it is possible to achieve strategically sustainable results – also in terms of music.
The music industry is an artist-centered business environment. Many operations are the result of an artist’s management or the artist themselves managing initiatives or reactions. This book deals with the environment and practices affecting it. Where the first volume of this book series dealt with agreements, this second part represents the realities and themes generally perceived to be worth pursuing.
The first volume intended to understand agreements, whereas in this book we try to understand the artist. Knowledge of the music industry is central. Reciprocity and understanding the needs of others is a cornerstone to successful operations. When the artist’s management and other background forces are able to imagine themselves in the artist’s position, it is easier to relate their own activities towards achieving common goals. On the other hand, when an artist understands their affiliates’ and their needs, it is easier for them to accept the measures they have to take.
The author of this book has had an over two-decade career as an international artist manager and legal advisor. His first book was considered widely throughout the world. This second volume deals with the same topic from another perspective. Although it is specially targeted for artists and managers, it is also suitable for general information needs. The book is well suited also for educational use.
The philosophy typical of Karhumaa, in which the latest innovations are presented on top of traditional laws, has taken on a more refined form. Add to that the insights gained from 25 of experience in the field and you have in your hands a 185-pages package of mere essentials’.
There’s a little bonus in this. How Delta Enigma relates to all this, become clear on 5th August.
This idea has been surveyed a lot throughout the year. Finally I can tell you more about my upcoming publications. I’ve been thinking how to complete the trilogy. One option would be to write a brand new The Essence of the Music Business book. The other is the inclusion of new ideas and updated material within the previous three. Since the first part, Contracts, was already updated in March 2019, the other two parts, Philosophy and Strategy, remain.
I read both books twice – thinking about how they could be improved. I was particularly interested about the structure and order of presentation. Could I get new information there without compromising the understanding. Whether the existing structure gives room for new ideas or and whether there is enough space so that the book does not become too long. I realized that the update could take place in two steps. It allows me to complete the material if needed. If I make Philosophy first with the things I want to add there, I can further refine them in terms of strategy. This realization was followed by a sense of freedom. This would avoid the possibility that an entirely new book would actually be a repetition of three previous ones with only a few new ideas. The possibility of this always exists, as the trilogy as a whole contains more than five hundred pages.
This kind of solution also allows for depreciation. I can take unnecessary songs out of the books – these always remain, at least for first editions. When the time has elapsed since the publication, the text can be evaluated more objectively and from a better distance.
I have recently focused on streaming management, more carefully than in the past. Just because to get as much practical experience as possible on how to perform this task in the 2020’s. Or rather, I started this operation a few years ago – at the national level. Now it has been continued internationally, with the same team as before. The experiences I get from all this can be read in the new editions of The Essence of the Music Business.
So, there has been more to this than just writing and publishing. It’s been a pleasure to partner with Grey Beton Records. Our second joint operation, Delta Enigma’s Waterfall, will be released along that avenue. More likely all my other artists will end up with the same solution. Such a vision that CEO Richard Hiles has to offer also provides the experience required for modern streaming release behavior.
In the middle of these unprecedented times I’ve been twiddling my working prospects in a new light. I have rarely been in a similar silence on social media than in recent times. It has been reassuring and sometimes even scary to think about the world, even the most fundamental questions. In January on the horizon of my work was The Essence of the Music Business:Philosophy update – the Second Edition. It seemed the most sensible next step. That would have been the case if one call had not changed the direction. An update is coming – don’t worry. I want to tell this other story. The calling!
Some of you already remember my calling – being an artist manager. You probably also recall that I took a few years break from that occupation – to write The Essence of the Music Business trilogy. I returned as manager with Melba Culp in February last year. I am still busy with them. Last summer, Gentle Savage joined the roster. These gentlemen brought with them the original cause, the calling. When I took a break from management, I had time to re-evaluate things. I made a decision then, I will continue to take artists into my care who have a similar calling and fire that I feel I have. Not two without third.
Now to that call I mentioned. My phone rang in February and at the other end was Vin Valentino from Delta Enigma. I already knew him, as he directed three videos for Annika Nord, an artist with whom I have a long collaboration. To be honest, I didn’t even know he had a band. Didn’t go three minutes longer and I was sold! I had once talked to him about music videos before. I remember being fascinated about his energy and passion for his work. When we started talking about music, after seeing their unreleased Waterfall music video – I almost begged to get involved. This was exactly I was longing for – a reflection of the calling. Now a couple of months later that Waterfall will be released on 22.5. They had many things ready. It was pretty much just tying shoelaces together to get it out. I wanted to tell such a story in these unusual times – to encourage us all. A story that arose when a vacuum was created elsewhere.
This time can also be used for one that would otherwise left undone. While this still reflected good wibes on my other two bands – we decided to release something special in August – on top of that all.
It’s time for the Second Edition. Two years of intensive teaching and mentoring is behind now. From now on, it should be a few months of your own. If artist management isn’t counted. Artist management is more of a lifestyle to me than a job. It goes along with everyday life – I think quite a many manager can relate to this easily.
Anyway, second edition is my favorite phase of production. The process of writing a book involves blind spots that the writer is particularly exposed to. It is difficult to take distance during the process. The improvements that always come between writing and editing a book may not be taken into account – at least completely. That’s a weird thing. Even though the book at the time of graduation seems like the best possible outcome, a few months later there will be things that could have been better said.
Philosophy was published less than two years ago. Already half a year after the publication I noticed that my own development did not go with my writing. Ideally, it is transmitted to the text in real time, not with delay. I bet it was due to break in my practice. I wasn’t dealing with artist management as I normally would. This time I am not doing the same and I can prepare for this.
Today’s music management is characterized by the fact that it creates new developments in a faster cycle than ever before. This places new demands on the author. It should be able extract the truths that hold their ground in that development but also be prepared for future opportunities and difficulties. Fortunately today, the book is able to be published quite soon after its completion. My books will be published within two weeks of the book coming out of the edit.
As I already mentioned, I allow this second edition to be influenced by the day-to-day management I practice. At the time of writing this book, I’m at least dealing with Melba Culp, Gentle Savage and Delta Enigma. It’s refreshing to get a counterweight and something else to think about. That interaction also makes it possible to locate those blind spots.
This time our lecturing series takes us into the world of music publishing. In some places, an obscure subject is best opened up by professionals in the field, such as those who daily illustrate its meaning to those in need. Because our course is focused on music managers, that is also our perspective. In order to best serve their clients, artists, managers need to know the basics of music publishing.
It is essential for a manager to know, for example, how Youtube monetizing works or what is the difference between writer’s share and publisher’s share. The manager also needs to know how that revenue is generated and what it takes to become involved in it. Once these mechanisms are known, all participants will be able to evaluate their own place and value to the extent required by the purpose. If the artist does not have this information, the manager can help explain it to them.
We were lucky to get Mandy Aubry, Director of Business Development EPEC & APAC at Songtrust, to talk about it. The lecture contained an iron dose of information, which can be challenging to gather from many different sources. It is always best to get the information directly from the source, from those who are actually working on the subject. It brings with it practice and experience. Even now it turned out that what is theoretically presented can be a bit different when approached in practice. This information is worth gold to the manager. It also helps to find relevant and indirect effects elsewhere in the artist’s business.
I have good news. Songtrust have material on the subject, even if you cannot attend any of this kind of lectures. Note, they also arrange webinars on the music publishing essentials regularly. For more information, for example The Modern Guide to Music Publishing.
Behind the scenes takes us today into the world of streaming promotion. Streaming promotion and its design is an important step before the music is released. We had an interesting two and a half hour where we went through the early year releases.
Many jobs today are done through some kind of electronic device – without meeting in Person. I like this old-fashioned way – to travel for a common meeting. There will be reserved time for the meeting and the content of the conversation will be addressed. That’s the spirit.
Oliver Obolgogiani works as manager for Axel Thesleff. We already have a few joint operations done with him. He brought with him Ricky Ghansah, head of PR for Axel Thesleff, a highly skilled operator in streaming promotion. Such meetings are valuable. We mapped out our own strengths and how we could work together more effectively in the future.
Because these behind the scenes stories are being asked so much, I will bring them up again this year. Yesterday we talked about different options to bring new artists to the wider public knowledge right from the start of their career and prior to releases. We included tangent to the content so that artificiality was kept to a minimum.
I talk a lot about content and what influences the artist’s story in The Essence of the Music Business books. Similarly, the intercession know-how presented in these books is well reflected in these in Person encounters. It is important that everyone devotes not only their time but also focus to the meeting. That’s what happened to us yesterday.
The following behind the scenes stories are coming from Arcada University of Applied Sciences. First I have a lecture with Jack McConnell, the vocalist of Melba Culp. Right after that, we’ll be giving a joint lecture with Mandy Aubry, Director of Business Development, EMEA and APAC at Songtrust.
I rarely make any New Year’s resolutions. Nor do I base the idea of to-do-lists – a line across when a task is completed. To-do-list is well-suited to certain-types of activities. In a multi-purpose task like holistic artist management, following one can miss an important variable.
However, I do have a schedule of work and it is reactive. I follow a lot of necessities, things without which the next step is impossible. Schedule of work can infer the goals that are characterized by their redefinition as a result of reactions. The key is to be in a better position than a year ago. One year is a fertile period of time to measure progress. It contains many industrial seasons. For example, when it is a new single to get out in the hope of summer festival performances. Therefore, if any such pre-condition is not achieved, the next time to try the same is next year.
Since I am often asked about my work and what it entails, I decided this year to write my schedule of work for everyone to see. It is not rocket science, but contains many independent and interacting elements.
Of course, the most prominent part of my schedule of work is The Essence of the Music Business- books and the lectures I give around them. It is natural to make news on these topics as they happen to be so dominant area in my life. I have already started writing an add-on to the trilogy – The Essence of the Music Business:Conclusion is under construction. It will be twenty years since I published my first book. It would be great to have a new release this year. So, the new book is the first part of my schedule of work. At least, I am trying to get it written this year, even if it comes out later.
My current contract with Arcada is still in effect for a few months. I have now taught two years in Finland. At the same time, I have got interesting requests abroad. I think I am going to say yes to some of them this year. My affiliations with their restrictions have prevented such visits quite often. They no longer exist. So the track is open in this regard.
However, much more of my time is spent on another task – artist management. I have three artists to work with. In chronological order of appearance they are Melba Culp, IRENE and Gentle Savage. This is the job I do on a daily-basis, each and every hour of the day.
Jack McConnell from Melba Culp contacted a year ago. Their debut single ‘Never Surrender’ was just released. Right from the first conversation with him I noticed that there is something extraordinary here. Discussions with Jack can be long but interesting. I am very pleased with the new generation of artists who participate on their management – in a different way that I have in the past used to. Jack, for example, can be with me in lectures, via Skype. He is very useful help when presenting the dynamics, division of labor and tasks between the artist and management. Jack provides an extra boost of energy there and it really doesn’t bother him even if he has to wake up at 5PM in Texas time. The lectures where I use him take mostly place in Europe. As for the band itself, Melba Culp’s second single, ‘Sheepdog Heroes’, will be the first in this year’s schedule.
And IRENE, my first impression is summer day and her first call. The sun was shining and the only thing I came up with was to walk back and forth in our garden and listen to what she has to say. They say that Sharon den Adel from Within Temptation is one of the nicest person in this industry. Something similar was sensible in this call. As time has gone by and numerous discussions have taken place, we noticed that we had begun cooperation. I am looking forward to the release of her next single, captivating ‘Skybound’. Her previous single, ‘Nightless’, has garnered respectable streams on Spotify. Skybound will get a video that introduces well the various aspects of this multi-talent artist.
As for Gentle Savage, this is something that just happened. Not two without the third. I had already decided that two new artists would be enough for the year. When this contact with the band’s leader, Tornado Bearstone, came in, I had to make an exception. He said he would come with the whole band here, even though we were 600 miles apart. One cannot but lift a hat!
We both share our attraction to literature, though Tornado has read far more books than I have. This is noticeable when listening Gentle Savage songs. A long sentence inside a song may be followed by a short but revealing and insightful expression. That’s what great lyrics are about. When the skill is there, it also gives repertoire. Gentle Savage is probably best known for their song ‘Karelian Magic’. But there is more to the band. Honey Bunny, due to be released on 16th February illustrates well the multi-faceted presence of talent in their doing. Not everything has to be so serious.
Like I said in the beginning, I like the idea behind the schedule of work. The goal is to be in better position as a year ago. We’ll see what happens with all this. Have a great New Year and talk to you soon!
The year is coming to an end – so is the related movement. I think I am about to start my Christmas Holidays now – when it becomes an opportunity. Christmas and this time of the year is a great spot for the review. When I think what has happened this year – I cannot be anything but grateful. I’ve got to meet great people – from different parts of the world and in many different situations. Because pictures are worth a thousand words, I decided to make a small-scale photo collage.
These book-in-hand photos became a cute phenomenon. They are still fun to get. If you happen to hit your hands on the book, I am more than happy to get a picture of it.
There have been several moments in the past year and a half – planning moments with Liisa Tolonen for Arcada.
I have known Annika for three years – right from the beginning of her solo career. Now it’s finally happening – the debut album will be released in 2020.
Auditions are great to keep. The band traveled 600 kilometers for an audition. Second album coming next year.
These guys made my Music&Media attendance very pleasant – w/Leonidas Chantzaras and Samuli Väänänen.
This class was and is a pleasure. Even if I had to travel a few thousand kilometers in just over six weeks, it didn’t feel like it. The class atmosphere was so positive and inspiring.
One of the last meetings of the year – but not the least. I heard Axel‘s thoughts on his music and would have listened to it for several hours. Rarely four and a half hours go by that fast.
Finally, a much asked question. Is there a book coming. The answer is yes and no. I have been writing new material aside. The difficult decision is whether to include it as an addition to the earlier trilogy, or to make a whole new book.
I wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Behind the scenes continues. This story came to my mind as I began preparing for next week’s lectures. There will be two of them in two different locations. Professionally, I like the audience changing around the same topic. Such a shift on consecutive days challenges the teacher. Things have been a little different for each group and dealt with in a different order.
I generally don’t like to give same lectures all the time. This is why I use my books as a basic course material. Some things are easier to go through by reading and thought, while others belong primary to lectures. Students, and no wonder, they like examples and the most concrete ones. When you can drop them in a consistent way, a four-hour lecture will not feel so heavy. When the homework is done well, it is easier to make targeted refinements and focused questions with lectures. The dynamics of a successful lecture is due to the fact that both the teacher and students are prepared well. One of the qualities of a good teacher is to facilitate the preparation.
I am constantly developing my set and lectures are the best place to test how my methods work. Everything starts with interaction. It is surprising the learning is only rarely complete with lectures. The lectures give more seed to the matter. Lecture intervals are an interesting spot. During those hours, my role is closer to being a coach than a teacher. How I communicate with students so that the lectures get a better understanding – in terms of their future profession and skills.
The next ratio is telling its own truth. If the total hours of lectures per semester is between 60-70, this mentoring rate is almost 400. The good thing about it is that it can be practiced almost anywhere. Already in my early days as a manager, I traveled with my artists whenever I could. During those journeys the greatest development took place, for all of us. We had to face ever-changing situations together and we also learned from each other’s routines. It is quite natural that I do the same with my students.
My previous post had pictures from Seinäjoki. Now it is time to meet the students of Arcada. As important the lectures, so are professional meetings. Here’s a little throw back before the next one is up.
These behind the scenes stories have become the most interesting part of my communication – if readers are asked. I thought I’d write them whenever I got the point. Here’s one such – this time from lectures.
Every now and then you get to participate something great. It is all about atmosphere and the dynamics of the group. The picture below is from the lecture yesterday – it was the third of total seven we do. The subject is, of course, the music business and this time the story of the artist and the SEO (search engine optimization) implications associated with it. Given that this is a multi-faceted entity and at times a difficult subject to grasp, we received a well-analyzed set of related issues and opportunities.
However, this is not the reason why I am writing this story. No – this is about atmosphere that students at their most receptive can create. I travel five hours for each lecture – one lecture trip takes ten hours. With seven sessions in one and a half months, it takes a total physical presence of one hundred hours.
This may sound heavy, including all the preparation. The truth is that it is not. Not even close. Every professional lecturer knows what it means when you know you are expected. It inspires you in the same way you hope to inspire who you talk.
A picture says more than a thousand words. I hope the picture below conveys the mood of the classroom we have in Seinäjoki.
We still have fours sets left. The Skype is a great invention as we get in touch with Jack McConnell, the lead singer and guitarist of Melba Culp in the next lecture. With him, we go through the things the artist and their manager handles every day. Against this background, it is easier to go through the student’s own bands and their operative advancement.
Remember, all preparation is the way for a professional to be ready when you need it the most and we get good photos with iPhone.
These behind the scenes stories have been asked a lot. Here’s one more. It’s been three and a half years since Annika Nord called me. Se was a troubadour at the time – dreaming of a career as a real artist.
When I went to see her perform for the first time, some thing captivated me. I don’t know exactly what it was. She was so present. When we finally met in Person and started to talk in more detail, her work ethic was the thing I paid attention to. We weren’t talking about Management in any way – meetings and communication however, started to become regular. At first we went through a plan on how to move from a cover artist to an interpreter of your own production. It’s not always easy – especially if an artist is doing cover gigs at 150 gigs a year. It gets heard there, but easily identified as an interpreter of others’ production.
However, we decided to take advantage of that forum. Annika had her own songs, one at a time being included in the program. A large number of gigs allows repetitions. Gradually people started to get used to the few songs she had on the repertoire.
The reception encouraged us to think more. We started thinking about the story, the message that would hit Annika as an artist. The way she wanted to present herself to the public. In the summer of 2017, we decided to start writing lyrics for Annika’s upcoming repertoire – although my role was to be more of a mentor. Annika had six booklets full of different lyrics she had written over the years. Then on that kitchen table we started finishing them one by one.
I was getting married that fall and Annika was the natural choice to be a performer at our wedding. The wedding guests were also accompanied by other artist acquaintances of mine. I heard them start planning on the terrace so they could perform together, Annika as their soloist. Thus, this appearance was in no way pre-planned. The original intention was that Annika would have performed as a troubadour. Our guests had taken their own instrument and audio along without us knowing it.
When chemistry meets, it inspires. Originally a two-song performance turned into a three hour show in our living room. We had a crazy atmosphere here and the following week Annika travelled to the band’s studio. At that very moment, Annika Nord as a band was born.
You can only imagine the feeling. Well over two years from that moment, we are sitting around the same kitchen table where we started to work on the lyrics. The first full-length album is coming out in spring 2020.
I had a great two-day visit in Tampere. It was so nice to meet old and new colleagues. Tampere-talo provides a very functional facilities for the events like these. While the seminars were top notch and the quests were all the more pleasant – it becomes an experience.
The next stop in this respect is then By:Larm, Oslo. SXSV is also under serious consideration :).
What goes next. Lecturing of course! It is this time of the year and room for different kinds of planning is always in order. We had a great conversation with my wonderful colleague Liisa Tolonen the other day. Looks like we are ready for the next season. So, we welcome each new Arcada Music Business student for the next semester. Opening takes place on September 3rd and see you there!
These ’in hands’ pictures have become popular. Behind of all this is Victor A Baker from Chicago. He recently sent me a picture of one of my books in his hand. I then asked can I share it. He liked the idea and you probably guess what happened later on. I started getting similar images – from people who had read my books. I like these gestures a lot – that’s why I decided to publish this collage. I will also update this collage whenever so requested. That is, no picture will be published without permission.
Such interaction is also a motivator. Whenever such a picture appears in my mail, it reminds me why I am writing. I know this sound like a very much used expression – it is just hard to come up with other way to show my gratitude.
Feedback is also an accelerator. It triggers processes that you might not have mastered yourself. This again makes you writing better books and updates when needed.
The whole trilogy is fresh at the moment. Therefore it is relatively resistant to development. However, block chain entry may change the setting quickly. Not yet in practice, but with reservation. It depends on how the market responds to its potential and threats. Also music and tech is evolving. It is constantly creating new ways to enjoy music. All of these have copyright angles. These, on the other hand, require agreements, from the point of view of all those interested. The writer must be prepared for this. I try to keep release interval in line with the actual market situation.
I’ll come back to these pictures yet. They tell their own truths between lines. Book alignments have clearly found their target. The first part – Contracts – is read by lawyers, law students and managers – that is, the professional groups most concerned with the subject. The book has also been worthy for record companies, music publishers and agency’s staff. It is common that some of them at some stage in their career will continue to run it as an artist manager.
The second book – Philosophy – was intended primarily for managers. However, it did not quite happen. It was embraced by the artists – by far its largest readers group. In retrospect, I’m really happy with the result. I got a lot of information included in it what artists need to know about the professional groups that support them. Some of the pictures where this ‘in hand’ is taken directly from the tour bus make me happy!
Maybe the trilogy makes sense. On the other hand, it is about how you sing your song. You have to think about the content and how it is presented. Such a process also evolves. One cannot ignore the fact that next part can supplement and remedy the shortcomings of the previous ones. The last part of the trilogy – Strategy – benefited from this. It has become a popular book outside the music business as well. I bet the strategy in general is so fascinating globally that it attracts.
When you look at these pictures here – pretty many of them have all three involved. And no, this is not a cheap marketing trick. I think it is about consistent mindset– written by a same author. It is then easier to follow, even if the subject changes. So it is for those who started long before me – they have their own readership. I find it great to have a choice.
If you ever hit your hands on some of my books and you want to take ‘in hand’ picture of them and feel free to send it to me. It is very possible that it will be published in a constantly updated collage.