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TEM Blog

The Entrepreneurial Musician Blog by Andrew Hitz featuring articles on being an entrepreneur in the music business. Show notes for The Entrepreneurial Musician Podcast.

Show Notes for Episode 32: Sam Pilafian of Boston Brass

Andrew Hitz

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Sam Pilafian is my mentor as both a tuba player and as an entrepreneur. He is truly a legend in the music business whose impact will be felt for generations to come.

You will hear that as we got about an hour into the interview we realized that this needed to split up into at least three sessions. The entrepreneurial lessons he shares in this interview from the first decade or so from his career are invaluable.

Pretty phenomenal that one person accomplished all of this in just the first third of their career.

Topics Covered:

  • How he learned from the greats at an early age that you have to have your business head on straight and take care of your art at the same time
  • Why he's glad he majored in music business in college
  • How the Empire Brass was founded
  • The importance of saying yes and then figuring it out
  • How he realized early on that the more people you get along with the better this is going to go
  • How having strengths where others have weaknesses will make you useful and hirable
  • Why a signature sound would lead to a recording contract
  • What is was like to walk into the office of Columbia Records in New York City at age 22 to try to get a recording contract
  • The benefits of Empire Brass developing their craft on the road
  • How a lot of luck seems to be self-generated


Favorite Quote from the Interview:

  • "So you start to put together at a really young age that if you don't have your business hat on and you don't concentrate fully on the art then nothing's really going to happen here."

You can help offset the ongoing costs of producing the show by making a small donation at Your support is greatly appreciated!

Produced by Austin Boyer and Buddy Deshler of FredBrass