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Time to ReThink: tips for musicians in the digital era


At the end of April, the PULSE Multimedia team had the opportunity to attend Berklee and Midem’s ReThink Music Conference here in Boston. The conference focused on presenting potential solutions to the challenges facing the music industry in the digital era. The speakers were from various sectors of the music industry; from musicians to internet radio CEOs to copyright lawyers. For PULSE, it was an opportunity to speak with these experts and artists to examine what it takes to make it in this field.

The amount of insight presented at the conference was staggering. Here are a few standout points on how to survive in the music industry today by some names that you might recognize:

Engage people directly…. Get people involved. – Bleu (Artist, Song-writer, Producer)

Engage those directly around you first. – Neil Jacobson (SVP A&R, Interscope Records)

Develop your own [musical] identity…. Listen to and experiment with music. – Philip Hawken (Label Manager, ESL Music)

Know what you have access to, who you are and what you want to accomplish. – Metric

Convey your personality and message in a likable way. – Neil Jacobson (SVP A&R, Interscope Records)

Research, network and work hard. – Stacey Peck (Manager, Bleu)

[In regard to social media] Share what you feel compelled to share. If you worry about what to blog, you are asking the wrong questions. – Amanda Palmer (Artist)


I feel that, as musicians, it can be easy to forget how important it is to develop skills outside of our musical ones. Have you ever let a lot of time pass before responding to emails? Or do you forget to follow-up with potential agents, bookers, press or other musicians? These are opportunities that every musician should learn how to approach.

For instance, sometimes while riding the wave of inspiration we neglect networking possibilities and don’t exercise good communication skills. When we do jump into promotion, do we know the best methods? What are the best tools for your project? Think you can do it all by yourself? It’s more efficient if you can get your bandmates and/or friends to help.

At ReThink, many opinions were expressed as to what it takes when pursuing a career in music. Everyone we spoke with emphasized the same thing: the importance of strong musicianship. After all, even though it is a business, you won’t get far without quality music.

Keep an eye out for new Practical Skills videos to hear more!
-Elizabeth Acle, Multimedia Audio Producer at PULSE

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1 Comment

  1. I wonder how I can live in Boston and Nashville at the same time. Gonna work on that one! Thank you for sharing this!

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