The Importance Of Investing In Your Music Education

This is a post contributed by Coco O’Connor. If you think you’ll be able to provide a useful guide for a bunch of talented independent musicians, submit one here.
Invest In Your Music CareerAs an artist who has self produced three CDs , had film / TV placements, and still performs on occasion, Iā€™d like to share my thoughts on marketing music with Topspin and Nimbit, as well as the benefit of investing in some education as opposed to a new piece of gear.

From my personal experience, I found that Topspin has given me better results than Nimbit. I do not have a big email list or a boatload of fans on Facebook, nor do I have a big email list. And until I used the Topspin platform, I never sold a single ticket to any shows.

But just a few weeks ago, I did a pre-sale and sold 6 tickets. That was HUGE for me!

I had the knowledge to do this as I took the Topspin course at Berklee. I also took 2 additional courses:

  1. The Future of Music (Taught by the founder of Hypebot, Bruce Houghton) and
  2. Music Marketing: Retail, Press, Promotion in order to be “certified” as a Topspin Marketer.

I believe my success is mainly due to my new found knowledge regarding certain marketing practices. Probably, if Nimbit had a course at Berklee I would have taken it and had satisfactory results with that tool as well.

I see it like building a house. It’s one thing to have the tools, but you don’t start building a house without building plans do you? Plus, you can’t just build a house with only a hammer. You have to have nails, saws, wood, etc etc.

The Cost Of Music Education – Is It Worth It?

Study The Music Business OnlineI hear many artists complaining about the cost of the courses or the cost of promotion in general. Let me ask you this; How many thousands of dollars are spent on gear?

I am married to a keyboardist who owns a number of vintage keys , outboard gear, mics, cables, the list goes on. I mean, even if you are not a “gear-head”, you probably have a guitar or maybe a drum set that cost at least $2000 right?

I have made 3 CD’s, spent $1500 on both to be professionally mastered, plus had 1000 of both printed up at Discmakers. Tally it up. It’s well over what my education cost at Berklee. In the long run, I will actually save money because I will never make these expensive mistakes again. I wish I would’ve taken some classes before I got in the studio.

The thing is that us creative types are dreamers. We sometimes can’t (Or we just refuse to) see things as they really are. I will say that I was kind of depressed after I took the courses because it made me see that it takes nothing short of a small miracle to “write, record, and release” plus a small fortune to promote / market. After whining I just realized that if I believe in my art, it’s my responsibility to simply do the best I can with what resources I have been given.

The truth is that we have to be open to income coming in from multiple streams:

  • Direct To Fan,
  • Film / TV placements,
  • Joint ventures,
  • Etc.

Just like other successful artists Jimmy Buffett (Who has Lagershark, Margaritaville liquors and restaurants, and his own label), Justin Timberlake (Invested in an LA restaurant), Beyonce (New perfume line Heat). These artists are doing thing, just on a larger scale. They are nothing more than “artist-preneurs”, which is something we all can and should strive to be.

Artists should think about having their own “music business”, and that includes everything from creation (Of a product; songs), to marketing (Advertisements of your services), which will convert into more sales.

In the end, no matter if you are on a label or DIY, you got to look at the bottom line. If there are no sales, you’re going to get dropped. And if it’s DIY and there are no sales, it’s a hobby, not a business.

If you do treat it like a business, you have to wear many hats. Yes that’s frustrating sometimes, but successful business owners learn what hats they want to wear, and find others who’ll wear the hats they don’t want to wear.

The most important thing is to be a professional. When you act like a pro, then success, no matter how you define it, will find you eventually.

Editor’s Note: If you like the idea of taking a course to help you learn the music business, check out the IMA Music Business Academy. This is our course, and one that 150+ musicians have used to forward their career.

About Coco, The Author

Currently, I am a Web Producer for AEG ( Anschutz Entertainment Group ) and the new ticketing website AXS. You can find out more about me on either of my websites below.

Artist Website: Portfolio Website:

4 thoughts on “The Importance Of Investing In Your Music Education”

  1. I agree that education is a solid foundation for a creative and successful career in music. Today musicians need to be well-versed about marketing, strategy and constantly be aware of new trends and developments. Having an education makes it easier to brand yourself, avoid the pitfalls of dishonest managers and other people in the industry looking to make a buck off your back.

  2. Some sound advice here. All too often musicians don’t approach music like a business. You have to invest in your future, whether this is studying at college, or spending money on promoting your music. We all know how competitive music is, but the ability to have that business hat on can really set you apart from the rest.

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