Money from Music: Where We Live

Posted on September 11th, 2013 by Jean Cook in What We're Learning. 1 Comment

Networking: the ‘special sauce’ that moves careers

Success in music is often attributed to talent, but as one of our interviewees suggest, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. A Nashville Songwriter states:

I know a lot of songwriters and a lot of musicians who are absolutely fan-freakin-tastic and they’ll never get a deal, they’ll never get a cut, they’ll never make a dime… it’s not about how good your music is, not in this business. It really is about being in the right place at the right time with the right people who want you to be in their world.

Being in the right place at the right time with the right people came up again and again in interviews; the serendipity that leads to career defining moments. Often when interviewees talked about the value of location, they described the value of being able to network effectively in that location and pursue opportunities. Some clarified that the relationships they built, rather than a specific location, were what helped them get ahead. All agreed that working relationships and in-person connections facilitated many, if not most, career opportunities.

Yes, the music business is a business of relationships. This is a cliché, but it’s true.
– Artist Manager

Music Industry Cities
There’s probably no place that I’ve ever been where there are more right places and right times than Nashville.
– Nashville Songwriter

Before the internet, most of these chance occurrences happened in major cities where music industry executives and connectors could be found. These were also places where service organizations for musicians are headquartered, where you can find prestigious music schools, and where structured networking opportunities for artists in all stages of their careers are not impossible to find. With the advent of the internet and social networks, some assume that these serendipitous moments can also happen online – divorced from location. But even in a global, networked, internet-facilitated world, the draw of certain music cities is still powerful, as we heard from our interviewees. The key benefits to living in a music city such as Los Angeles, New York, or Nashville include:

(a) proximity to networks and opportunities;
(b) a greater perceived likelihood of working full time as a musician; and
(c) the social, artistic, and business benefits of living in a creative community.

Next: proximity to networks and opportunities

One response to “Money from Music: Where We Live”

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