Survival Skills for the Music Industry

“Marketing is a hated part of the music business that musicians need to get right,” says Steve Reed, executive director of Music Yukon.

But he and Music Yukon want to help. They have organized a weekend of seminars that promise to deliver practical advice for musicians to amp up their careers. The conference is called Music Survival Camp, and from Saturday, January 18 through Sunday, January 19 musicians will learn how to self-promote, book tours, use social media effectively, and reach festivals.

It’s about practical skill building.

On the morning of January 18th Bob D’Eith will kick off the conference with an overview of the industry using the outline from his new book A Career in Music: The Other 12 Step Program.

D’Eith is a music industry lawyer, and the head of both Adagio Music and MusicBC. Reed says D’Eith, also a pianist, has worked in almost every corner of the business in his 23-year career.

Next, Dennis Yu, a software architect with the American social software company Blitzmetrics, will demonstrate how to use the backend of Facebook for strategic promotion. He is an internationally recognized lecturer on Facebook marketing and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and LA Times.

“Social media is an increasingly central component of a career in music,” Reed says.

To that end, MusicYukon has also enlisted the expertise of Brian Thompson. Thompson is a music marketing consultant and social media strategist.

Representing the perspective of bloggers, Music Survival Camp will feature Marie LeBlanc Flanagan from WeirdCanada is a growing volunteer-powered resource that is building a distribution system for independent musicians.

On Saturday, the day will end with a discussion called “Getting Out There” on booking tours and festivals, and press outreach.

The conference will also feature six Yukon-based speakers who can address on-the-ground realities in the territory. This group includes established leaders such as touring/recording artist Kim Beggs and Juno-award-winning producer/multi-instrumentalist/owner of Old Crow Recording studio, Bob Hamilton.

Michele Emslie from the Yukon Arts Centre, who administers regional funding programs, will cover grant-writing and funding topics. Debbie Peters from Magnum Opus Management will share insight into band management and booking tours.

Jenna Roebuck, producer of the Dawson City Music Festival will share the do’s and don’ts of applying to festivals. Finally, the conference panel will include Andrew Stratis from Headless Owl records, speaking from a small label perspective.

Time will be set aside on Sunday morning to make short, private appointments with the guest speakers. There will also be workshops on finding alternate income sources and developing writing skills for grants, bios, and press kits.

The conference closes with a panel discussion called “Going Deep” about niche market research, including tips for reaching audiences with newer social media platforms like Twitter, Vine, and Instagram.

“This weekend is an opportunity to bring musicians together, talk about the future and share experience,” Reed says.

Music Survival Camp takes place on January 18th and 19th, at the Old Fire Hall in Whitehorse. Doors opens at 9:30 a.m. and the conference starts at 10 a.m.

Tickets are available at Yukon Arts Centre, Dean’s Strings, Unitech, and Arts Underground.

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