The Business of Making Music

AD_TheSoundRoom_1608


  • 8. Join the Screen Composers Guild. Marshall and Bobby Kennedy from Op Shop came up with the idea to start the Screen Composers Guild in New Zealand with help from APRA, Park Road Post and a few others sponsors. They’ve built it up to 60 paid members who all benefit from the workshops and Q+A sessions throughout the year in Auckland and Wellington. Visit the Screen Composers Guild.
  •  

  • 9. Follow up your International Connections. Due to declining funding for documentaries The Sound Room turned its attention to commercials. Smith and Fox do some in New Zealand but mostly for Asian markets: China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. How, you might ask, did they break into these markets? They looked through their previous jobs for an Asian connection and followed through. Thailand liked them so they recommended them to Vietnam and it has snowballed from there. Also, Marshall puts in the frequent flyer miles. He flies up there once or twice per year for conferences, networking and meeting people face to face.
  •  

    SBS Australia TV show Struggle Street

    SBS Australia TV show Struggle Street

    • 10. Keep your integrity. Be straightforward, communicate well, finish projects when you say you will. Marshall laments those in the industry who don’t deliver what they say they will, are difficult to deal with and don’t respond to emails. He calls it sloppy. The key to making a living from music is being business-like and that means being organised.
    •  

    • 11. Change with the market. The Sound Room has survived by constantly thinking outside the box and changing its business model. Even though the annual income is healthy, they don’t forgot their mortality. They face up to the reality that there are many people competing for a part of the ‘music composing pie’ so constantly ask the questions “what are we going to do now?” and “who would want music?” Their willingness to reinvent themselves each year keeps them relevant.
    •  

    • 12. Seek out computer game publishers and be known to educational providers. The Sound Room regularly composes music for Japanese computer games, ebooks, interactive games – including a big Games for the Blind series for AUT. There’s also composition work for art galleries, museums and even Les Mills. Check out a list of New Zealand game developer studios.
    •  

    • 13. Market and promote yourself. Every single day, you have to think “how can I move the business forward?” That means making a new connection, cold calling, sending out a showreel, going to met someone, going to gigs, seminars and workshops.
    •  

    • 14. Share ideas and collaborate with other composers. Some people are very anti-sharing anything. They keep themselves in their own bubble. They’re the people who are struggling. Marshall’s attitude is that the more you collaborate, the more you share, the more it helps the business.
    •  

    • 15. Be canny with your own survival. With the ever-looming threat of the starving artist who lives on the streets, Marshall worked in a myriad of jobs before starting The Sound Room. From working in design, marketing, the record industry in the UK and even presenting Lotto on TV – all served his goal of making money so he could just do music.


    Jack of All Trades by Cirkus

    • 16. Team up. Marshall composes and does all the business, marketing and promotion. Tom Fox, his business partner, also composes and does most of the mixing and the real detail work. They’ve been partners for 13 years, bouncing ideas off each other. They keep a good vibe by not being critical of each other but still give honest feedback. However according to Marshall, “You have to kiss a lot of frogs” before you find the right partner to work with. Try working with people, collaborate, share and see how it goes. It’s so useful having the sounding board of a partnership – otherwise it’s just you alone in a sound proof room.

     
     
     

    BlueBar1000

    Written by Ande Schurr

    Ande has been location sound recording for a decade. He is passionate about growth and writes articles for freelancers.
    schurrsound.com

    BlueBar1000

    Pages: 1 2

    LEAVE A COMMENT

    1. Excellent advice and know how .