Music BC Open House at WFF: The Business of Becoming a Rock Star

Music BC Open House at WFF: The Business of Becoming a Rock Star

It turns out becoming a rock-star has a lot more to do with contracts, marketing plans, and grant writing than you might think. Not super sexy, I know – but the execs at Music BC and record label directors maintain that this is the only way to achieve the elusive rock-star status.

dsc_0014This past weekend during the Whistler Film Festival, Arts Whistler invited local musicians to learn from a panel of music industry pros who shared some tips and tricks to help our local talent take their music career to the next level. From Sarah McLaughlin to Humans, Barenaked Ladies to Marianas Trench, these panelists are behind some of the biggest successes in Canadian music and they want to help YOU be the next big thing. So here’s a highlight reel of what you missed.

I live in a van. How am I supposed to get the money to record an album?

Oof, I hear ya. The Whistler housing situation isn’t kind to the starving artist. GarageBand is a good start for recording, but a professional produced sound is going to take some serious cash.

The good news is that there are tons of grants floating around just waiting for artists like you to put in a little elbow
grease and apply. One of the most sought after grants in Canada is the FACTOR grant. Whether an artist is looking to record a few tracks, a full length album, promote an existing album, or head out on tour, FACTOR grants have the funding for you. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s competitive. But if you don’t get it the first time, The District Label Manager, Shannon Luttmer says keep trying. “If you don’t get it, ask for feedback on how to make your application better. Apply for every deadline.” For deadline reminders and funding opportunities, sign up for the Music BC and Creative BC newsletters to get you started.

How do I get my music into the ear holes of the people?

For starters, you need a marketing plan. “A lot of people don’t take marketing plans seriously, but they are most important in securing funding,” says Luttmer. While it’s okay to use another band’s marketing plan as a template, don’t just copy it and send it in with your grant. Put some thought into it. Who is listening to your music? Who do you want to listen to your music? How do you reach them? Most grants require a solid marketing plan to even consider distributing funding to a musician. Don’t know where to start? Google “marketing plan templates”. A good marketing plan can help you manage your band like a business.

wac-tpc-concert2014-6037But I’m not really a business person. I’m a musician.

Fair play. Don’t worry, no one’s trying to turn you into a “suit”. But think of your band as a business, and you as the entrepreneur. Actually, while you’re Googling marketing plans, check out “business plan templates” too. As a band you should sit down and figure out your identity, values, and goals. Identify a mission statement and stick to it. “Once you get all that info down, it really helps you grow from there” says Luttmer. If you don’t feel comfortable managing the business side of your music, find someone who can help. Hire a manager or a publicist to help point you in the right direction on the business side of things so YOU can focus on rocking out and making new music.

How do I hear about more cool artist-development panels like this one?

Sign up for our newsletter at Become an Arts Whistler member and get discounts on creative development series, panels, and artist resources.
So, what are you waiting for? The FACTOR Juried Sound Recording grant application is due at the end of January, deadlines for summer music festivals applications are now, and grant deadlines are popping up all the time. Music BC is an awesome resource for helping musicians navigate the industry and hearing about funding opportunities.
Rock on, rock stars.

Resources: |
Alex Grigg, Music BC Executive Director
Lindsay MacPherson, Music BC Program Manager
Joseph Blood, Light Organ Records
Shannon Luttmer, The District
Dyllan Towle, Simkin Artist Management


Jillian van der Geest

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