Royd Haston, manager for Disney Concerts, is someone whose job I am envious of. I have for the past 10 years tried to get my hands and eyes on as many film scores as possible so I can learn the techniques from the masters. Royd gets to handle some of these scores every day and also send them out to orchestras to perform in public for our viewing and listening pleasure. Royd himself is a talented composer and a heck of a guy.
Be Prepared: I can’t stress enough how important understanding the business side of art is. While I was at Berklee I spent a lot of time outside of school working on marketing and networking projects. Being forewarned is forearmed and I wanted to take as much business acumen as I could from different industries into the music business. I am genuinely surprised how big of a disconnect there is between the business acumen of musicians and the musical acumen of business personnel in music. If you want to be a powerhouse in this business than familiarize yourself with as much musical and business knowledge as you can. It will set you up for success. Here is some similar advice from Royd:
“Knowing a lot about music is a plus. A lot of people I deal with or work with don’t know how a score works. They know a lot about licensing or marketing, but when it comes to a score they don’t have it. They can’t read the score or listen to the score and make a mental note [such as], “The conductor needs to watch out for this.” If someone understand the business side of it and the musical side of it they are a pretty powerful force.”
Bare Necessities: One of the main reasons I started this blog was to expose as many people as possible to all of the different aspects of the music business. There are so many ways to make a good living and they can include a combination of your musical and business interests. Don’t be afraid to combine things you know you need in life to make you happy and fulfilled. Sometimes your dream gig may actually look a little different than it does in your head, but it can be really rewarding and also keep a roof over your head and food on your table. Here is how Royd merged his two necessities together at a young age:
“I knew I wanted to be a songwriter and the type of person I am, I always wanted some type of job and financial security, I didn’t just want to be a songwriter. I wanted a “real job” as well, so I thought, “Who works with songwriters? Music publishers do. Okay, I’ll work for a music publishing company.” That was my mindset at 17. That’s all I knew about music publishing; that is all I had put together at that point. I didn’t know what working for a music publisher entailed; I just knew that publishers and songwriters work hand in hand, so therefore I wanted to work for a music publishing company and I did!”
You Can Fly: My first few weeks at Berklee were incredibly humbling as a musician. I started school after my band had broken up at 24 years old. I got to school and was surrounded by amazingly talented people from all walks of life who were 5-6 years younger than I was. Seeing how far behind you are can be defeating. After a couple of years however I used that feeling to push myself to network, learn, and earn. I am 33 now and I have done some incredible things in this business and I have barely scratched the surface of what I want to accomplish. I know that everyone reading this is capable of making it in this business and I am living proof that you can do it if you really work for it. Royd reminds us that we start at the bottom to reach the top:
“Find people who are doing it; network your butt off—it is all about networking. Don’t be afraid to temp or intern someplace to get your foot in the door. Don’t shoot for the glory job right away; it is good to get your hands dirty. After that, do what you have to do to go where you want to go, and keep networking.”