What marketers can learn from a hip hop producer

The New Music Seminar is rolling across the country this year.  It might not have come up on your radar screen, but it came up on mine.  The seminar’s creator and producer, Tom Silverman, founder of Tommy Boy Records, is a friend from college.

Tom (on the left) made a seminal contribution to hip hop when he discovered Grandmaster Flash and recorded the hip hop classic, Planet Rock; then came Queen Latifah and Naughty by Nature and others.

The purpose of the New Music Seminar, which began in 1981, is to give aspiring artist in all music genres the knowledge and tools they need to succeed in the music business which, according to Tom, is in a period of profound change.  No longer do new artists need to focus their time, attention and energy on getting signed by a record label and the slim chance they will be funded and made into a star.

Today, record labels rarely take chances on new artists.  Instead, digital technology, the internet and social media now make it possible, sometimes even free, for artists to do it themselves.  Wikipedia covers the history of the New Music Seminar in detail at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Music_Seminar

More people want to become professional musicians than ever.  In fact, the number of records from new artists has risen from 79,000 in 2007, to over 110,000 in 2008, to an estimated 145,000 in 2009 – almost double in 2 years.  Although competition has increased significantly, online tools are so readily available, if someone has 1000 loyal fans and tours throughout the year, they can now make a living doing what they love.  But the key to doing what you love, according to Tom, is you’ve got to know your fans.

Anyone who owns or manages a business or brand, or is thinking of starting one, can benefit from this lesson in the music business; especially if you thought you needed to focus time and attention blasting the word out to as many people as you can.

How well do you know your 1000 most loyal fans?

The New Music Seminar is rolling into New York City from July 19-21.  For more information, go to: http://www.newmusicseminar.com/blog


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