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Developing your music business plan

Blog: 18th May 2017 by Music Business School under Music Training & Careers
Developing your music business plan
This blog is contributed by Music Business School, London's industry-endorsed music business education programme. Taking place one day a week over 13 weeks their courses give a detailed overview of all areas of the music industry and provide the boost you need to develop your career. With guest tutors from a wide range of established music companies, students leave with the knowledge and connections to get started in the music business. 

When people talk about “the music business” it’s sometimes not exactly clear what they mean. The music industry is a complex one and can be difficult to navigate, particularly in terms of understanding who does what and where the “business” actually fits in. Music in its purest form is often more about art than money, but making a living from music – or helping others make a living from music – is hugely satisfying. 
Whether you’re managing artists, running a record label, or providing other music based services, there are a lot of things that you need to consider to generate revenue for you and anyone else involved. 
Whatever business you are in, there’s one thing that matters almost more than anything else – getting paid. Of course, with music there are a lot of other things that go into a successful release, or developing an artist’s career and money can be something that seems to take second place, but ultimately the music business is a business and everyone has bills to pay!
Alongside being an artform and something that can inspire and give pleasure to a huge number of people, music is something that can be very lucrative. We can all call to mind artists who, seemingly out of nowhere, have suddenly made it big, with all the rewards that come with being a successful musician. Being a musician is not the only option though, there can be many different types of music-based business – and at Music Business School we go into many of these in detail, with guest speakers from companies leading the field. 
The music business has changed a lot in the past couple of decades, and the ways in which people make money have changed too. If we look back 25 years, record companies sold records or CDs, and artists were promoted through magazines, newspapers and radio. Now for many record companies their primary income stream for recorded music is streaming revenue. In terms of promoting artists there are a multitude of different platforms that can drive awareness of an artist; engagement with a fanbase and, vitally from a business perspective, add huge value in terms of the data that we understand about those fans. When you add to the mix the huge explosion in media that people consume, often in bite-sized chunks from smartphones, the world of breaking and promoting an artist is complex and requires industry-specific knowledge and expertise.
With any business plan, it’s important to understand where you are going to make money, and where you are going to spend money. Whether it’s recording costs or promotional costs such as PR, radio plugging or even advertising, having a clear understanding of what is achievable with what budget is very important. Not least because it means that when you are talking to potential business partners (such as a PR agency) you have a clear understanding of what is possible. Understanding what partners can do, what is possible, and how the money flows back to you is essential.
Want to know more about creating a music business plan, or starting your own music business? Sign up to Music Business School’s industry-endorsed course, and learn from experts at the heart of the music industry. Our next intake starts on May 31st – enquire now for information about bursaries and early bird discounts. Courses take place in London’s Music Quarter, Tile Yard near Kings Cross. Find out more by visiting

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