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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.

Filtering by Tag: Ron Davis

How Are You Different?

Andrew Hitz

"The market needs a way to compare and contrast. And if you don't give them one they will default to price comparisons."
—John Jantsch from Duct Tape Marketing

Marketer John Jantsch makes a great point here. If there is not a way for your target audience to differentiate you from your competition, they will always default to the lowest cost.

There is a reason why graduation gigs for brass quintets don't tend to pay very well in areas where there are a lot of brass players. The artistic demands of such a gig are not very great. As a result (as Ron Davis explains perfectly in Episode 19 of The Entrepreneurial Musician), the various brass quintets around town are fungible. If any of them can do the job, the customer (that is the person hiring the quintet) will default to price point.

The players from the top symphony orchestra in town may very well charge $1500 or more for their services. If a group of very talented graduate students will do it for $500, the person hiring will probably go with the latter. That's because in the eyes of the customer, both groups will both do the same job equally well.

The take away is we need to make a case for why we are different than our competition in the eyes of our customers. In the case of playing graduations, this is probably not possible. But when developing our product (whether we are a chamber group or someone with a doctorate applying for university teaching jobs), we have to be sure to make it easy for our potential customers to compare and contrast us in a positive light.

If not, it will simply be a race to the bottom in terms of price point.

Show Notes for Episode 20: "TEM Short: Are You Fungible? (Hopefully Not)"

Andrew Hitz

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This is in reaction to my interview from Episode 14 with Canadian jazz pianist, composer and entrepreneur Ron Davis. Ron mentioned the dangers of being fungible in today's music business. If you are simply selling skills that many people can do at or nearly at your level, prepare for the race to the bottom in terms of compensation.

The key is to market yourself rather than simply your skills, just as Ron has.

Links:

Books Referenced:


You can help offset the ongoing costs of producing the show by making a small donation at http://www.pedalnotemedia.com/support-the-entrepreneurial-musician. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Produced by Austin Boyer and Buddy Deshler of FredBrass

TEM 19: Ron Davis, Canadian Jazz Pianist on the Dangers of Being Fungible, Why Sales Is Such a Huge Part of What Musicians Do and How He Is the Prototypical Example of a Portfolio Musician

Andrew Hitz

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Ron Davis is one of the preeminent jazz musicians in Canada who is known for his innovative collaborations and forward thinking. He is a performer, writer, arranger and teacher who has taken a fascinating route to get to where he is today.

He began his professional career by becoming a lawyer. He then got his PhD in French and became an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto. Then incredibly, after 10 years of not playing a note, picked music back up and became one of the most successful jazz musicians in all of Canada.

Episode 19 may be found on iTunes or streamed below.

Topics Covered:

  • The courage it took for him to get out of his well-paid and steady "cul-de-sac" of a job to become a full-time musician again
  • How he is the prototypical example of a portfolio musician
  • Why sales is such a huge part of what musicians do
  • What drives the innovative collaborations that comprise his project Symphronica
  • The dangers of being fungible

Links:

 Books Referenced:


You can help offset the ongoing costs of producing the show by making a small donation at http://www.pedalnotemedia.com/support-the-entrepreneurial-musician. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Produced by Austin Boyer and Buddy Deshler of FredBrass