As the technologies and businesses supporting the arts have evolved, so too has the role of the artist. Creative professionals need a diverse skill set—one that includes industry knowledge and entrepreneurialism as well as proficiency in their crafts—to build and sustain careers in the cultural industries.
Fourth-year Bachelor of Music student Agneya Chikte put his own business skills to the test in September during a whirlwind week of networking and mentoring sponsored by MusiCounts. The week was one of the amenities available to Agneya a 2018 MusiCounts Scholarship recipient. Read on for Agneya’s top takeaways from the experience.
Tell us about your award. How did it come about?
The MusiCounts Scholarship is a Canada-wide award presented by MusiCounts, which is a music education charity affiliated with the Juno Awards and The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. For this scholarship, postsecondary music programs across the country are invited to nominate one student each in three categories: Music Performance, Music Business and Production/Engineering. For 2018, I was honoured to be nominated by Humber in the Music Performance category. I then had to submit a detailed and lengthy application, which included my resume, artist profile, press kit, audio and video links, social media profiles and essay answers. I was notified about my nomination on April 10 and the application was due on April 30. I found out in the first week of July that I had received the scholarship, and that I was the only recipient in the Music Performance category!
How did you find the experience of the industry networking week you received as part of your award? What insight into the music industry and your work as an artist did you gain in the process?
As part of the Industry networking and mentorship week, we went to Coalition Music, Dine Alone Records, The Juno Awards, Entertainment One Music, Spotify Canada, Strut Entertainment, Roland Canada, Roy Thompson Hall, Sirius XM, Revolution Recording, and Noble Street Studios. Overall, it was a great experience getting to meet a lot of people in the business and understanding this beast of an industry that lies between a musician and the listener! It was a little intimidating to realize how much more an artist needs to do, beyond just making good music, to get traction in today’s world. With social media and the streaming revolution, statistics are key, and artists really need to work hard to get their music noticed in the vast sea of music being uploaded online every single day.
What’s one takeaway from the week of networking that all of your fellow Humber Music students should know?
Having a great product is important, but how you present it is as important in today’s industry. Think of it as the music side plus business side, or instrument skills plus people skills. As a musician/composer, you have to be really good at what you do, but it really isn’t going to matter much if you don’t work as much on how you present it/put it out there. The “business” side of things—your branding, photos, social media profiles, website, video content, etc.—is as important, if not more, as the music side (how good and honest you actually are on your instrument/as a composer). Of course, just networking alone will not sell a bad product, so it’s important to find a good balance between both.
Photo Credit: David Wile