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Independent musicians face significant challenges with business communication, study says

October 02 2016, 9:14 AM EDT By Maggie Dickman


[Photo credit: Grizzlee Martin]

People who get their start in music may not fully realize the business aspect of the industry, and a new study from North Carolina State University finds that independent musicians face “significant business communication challenges” when they first enter the industry.

“I found that rock musicians, particularly those without major label support, face a unique set of challenges,” North Carolina State University cites from Stephen Carradini's study. “People who want to go into music would be well-served to find training in at least the basics of business communication, in college or elsewhere.”

Read more: Listening to music with others reduces stress, study says

The study continues by pointing out the many aspects of the industry that are synonymous to the business world—building an audience, working through slow growth and negotiation in order to make sure they are able to grow their reach.

“Musicians had to communicate with a lot of audiences: fans, potential fans, booking agents, record labels, etc.,” Carradini says in the study. “They also needed to write in a wide variety of formats, from business emails to social media posts for fans to advertising materials aimed at attracting new fans.”

Carradini also found that independent musicians "have to learn a very particular type of business communication skill: how to negotiate from a weak position."

“Musicians can rarely turn down gigs – even lousy gigs – because there are a finite number of venue bookers in any given region. And musicians can’t afford to alienate people who control their access to venues," Carradini says.

Bands without management have to leverage social media and other outlets for maintaining relationships with fans and continue to cultivate industry connections, meaning artists will have to learn to write in a wide variety of formats and continue to navigate the music world as a business world.

What are your thoughts on the relationship between music and business? Leave them in the comments below.

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