Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Author: Arielle (Page 1 of 11)

Life After Berklee: Tales of a Business Manager

I must admit that the original title of this blog post was “Exciting Tales of a Business Manager”, but honestly, if a Business Manager is doing his or her job well, there should be few tales about their work that are very exciting.  Be cautious of any Business Manager proudly telling a story involving unusually large reptiles, the mysterious disappearance of a client, and an industrial-scale popcorn popper.

I’ve had the pleasure of operating and investing in some wonderful creative businesses, over the years.  For the most part, my clients and business partners have been a joy to work with, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done.  Creative businesses, however, are rife with examples of poor decisions.

One of my favorite examples of a poor decision involves a well-known musician that found himself in a bit of a financial crush.  Attorneys working towards selling some of this musician’s assets came across a piece of property upon which the musician had had a warehouse constructed to store the toys he had acquired during the heyday of his career.  As many of the toys had since been sold off, the attorneys felt that selling this warehouse would be wise, but when they looked further, it turned out that the warehouse had been built on land that the musician rented, not land that he owned.  As is commonly the case, the rental agreement provided that any improvements to the rented land became property of the landlord.  In other words, this musician spent a great deal of money to construct a warehouse that ended up being given to someone else.

Of course, creative businesses are not the only enterprises with examples of poor decisions.  In my opinion, though, creative businesses are more likely than others to have poor decisions made as a result of one particular common denominator – ego.  As musicians, it’s likely that we’ve all felt the rush during and following a great performance, the satisfaction of a wonderful recording session, or pride in a terrific composition.  Those are all feelings that keep musicians practicing their craft, but beware of that rush, satisfaction, and pride expanding to a sense of invulnerability.  This often leads poor decision-making, be it with business, or life in general (insert your favorite “trashed hotel room” story, here).

My advice to aspiring musicians is to be as good as possible at what you do, seek assistance and support where necessary, and be wise enough to know when seeking assistance and support is, in fact, in your best interest.

Craig Chamberlain is an experienced business professional and entrepreneur, having founded and operated many successful companies related to the arts and entertainment technology.  Craig is a Berklee College of Music alumnus (class of ’91), graduating magna cum laude with a degree in Music Production & Engineering.  Craig can be reached at info@orpheumconsulting.com or www.orpheumconsulting.com

 

Life After Berklee: Division of Labor

Years ago, as a freshman at Berklee College of Music in Boston, I attended a lecture given by Felix Cavaliere formerly of “The Rascals”.  Felix delivered an interesting talk detailing his career in the music business, and conveyed anecdotes that one would expect from a member of one of the more popular rock groups of the late sixties.

Eventually, the lecture changed to a Q & A session, and the ubiquitous, albeit unimaginative “what advice do you have for a musician who is just starting out?” question was asked by one my fellow students.

Without hesitation, Felix answered that all attending this lecture were music students, and as such, he felt we were all poor business people.  Felix pointed out that in the greater Boston area, there were numerous colleges and universities full of business majors, and he suggested that as musicians, we should go and make friends of the business types, so that we could rely on them later when business decisions affecting our careers would have to be made.

Frankly, I disagree with Mr. Cavaliere a bit, in that I don’t feel that being a musician automatically disqualifies someone as a savvy business person.  My disagreement, however, misses what I believe to be the more important point.  While it may sound very obvious, creative businesses are best served when creative people spend their time being creative.  The time and energy spent by creative people on activities in which they do not specialize contributes to the ineffectiveness of the business, regardless of how much business savvy they have.

The analogy I like to give is that of a law firm in which the senior partner also happens to be the fastest typist.  Just because an attorney happens to be the fastest typist in his or her firm does not mean that the business will benefit from that person doing all of the firm’s typing.  To the contrary, the firm will best benefit from the attorney acting as an attorney, and having typists without law degrees do the firm’s typing.

Although he may have done so with what I feel to be an incorrect assumption that musicians are all bad business people, what Felix Cavaliere ended up expressing was that creative businesses are more productive when they utilize their greatest asset (the creative individual) as much as possible in their area of expertise.

Craig Chamberlain is an experienced business professional and entrepreneur, having founded and operated many successful companies related to the arts and entertainment technology.  Craig is a Berklee College of Music alumnus (class of ’91), graduating magna cum laude with a degree in Music Production & Engineering.  Craig can be reached at info@orpheumconsulting.com or www.orpheumconsulting.com

 

Nashville Berklee Jam with Bryan Beller ’92 – April 29, 2013

Eric Normand ’89 runs the Nashville Berklee Jam. For the full post please visit nashvilleberkleejam.com.

Our second installment of the Nashville Berklee Jam at The Rutledge brought out a great crowd, an inspiring story, and some “vibey” performances. Our special guest on this night, bass extraordinaire and Berklee alumnus, Bryan Beller ’92, gave an insightful talk that touched on the ups and downs of his life and his experience in the music business.

Long before his recent work with Steve Vai, Dethklok, The Aristocrats, and his current role as bassist on Joe Satriani’s 2013 European tour, Bryan roamed the halls of Berklee College of Music searching for a higher level of musical awareness and his place in the world of music. This joureny would take him to LA and a stint with the Dweezil Zappa band, a move that led to an interesting chain of events.

To read the full post with photos click here.

Special thanks to Bryan and Kyra for making this event a big success; The Rutledge, alumni Amanda Williams and Arielle Schwalm, videographer, Jack Zander, and Fran Breen (drums) and Eric Bikales (keys) for donating their time.

The Nashville Berklee Jam is held at The Rutledge on the last Monday of every other monday, with the next event to take place on Monday, June 24 featuring special guest, President of the Nashville Musician’s Union and A-list bassist, Dave Pomeroy.

For more info about future events, please visit the Nashville Berklee Jam website www.nashvilleberkleejam.com. If you would like to learn more about the Nashville music industry, please check out Eric Normand’s book, “The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide“.

LAB: Getting Into Music and Making it Work

Berklee Alumni Spotlight: Nick Buda ’96
Written by: Shantell Ogden ‘05

Nick Buda (’96) started playing drums on his mom’s couch cushion when he was a kid in Cape Town, South Africa. As early as ten years old, he was begging her to take lessons.

“I got my first set of practice pads when I was 13 and my family moved to Nashville to escape apartheid in South Africa,” said Nick. “I used to play along with bands like Living Color and James Taylor with my electric drums for hours everyday. I was 14 when I got my first drum kit.”

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Nashville Berklee Jam with Dallas Davidson – February 18, 2013 Part 2

Eric Normand ’89 runs the Nashville Berklee Jam. For the full post with pictures and videos please visit nashvilleberkleejam.com.

We were only halfway through our very first Nashville Berklee Jam at The Rutledge and those in attendance had received some amazing perspective, and enjoyed an inspired performance from one of Nashville’s top songwriters, Dallas Davidson. After Dallas’s portion of the night was over we took a moment to reorganize and then began the open jam portion of this night.

Among those who performed were alumni, Amanda Williams (also one of the organizers of this event), Mason Stevens, who played a Delta blues instrument known as the “Diddly Bo”, drummers, John Rodrigue and Russell Garner, and bassist, Austin Solomon (Austin took a means solo in Cissy Strut). A few others from the Nashville music community also sat in on drums, Austin Marshall and Tom Drenon.

All the performances were strong and everyone who participated had a great time, but don’t take my word for it, check out the videos below to get a better idea of what can happen at The Nashville Berklee Jam!

The Nashville Berklee Jam is held at The Rutledge on the last Monday of every other month, with the next event to take place on Monday, April 29 featuring special guest, Bassist, Bryan Beller (Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Mike Keneally) who will also be joined by his wife, Kira Small.

For more info about future events, please visit the Nashville Berklee Jam website NashvilleBerkleeJam.com

If you would like to learn more about the Nashville music industry, please check out my website and book “The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide”.

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