Money Talk

Negotiating Skills for Musicians

Negotiating Skills for Musicians

After my recent post on negotiating fees, I got some helpful feedback and perspective from my friend Pat Hollenbeck. Percussionist, arranger, and President of the Boston Musicians Association. Pat is a veteran of the freelance world and I’m grateful for his input....

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Fee Negotiation for Musicians

Fee Negotiation for Musicians

Let's talk Fee negotiation for musicians. Picture this: you've contacted the concert presenter by email. You've introduced yourself and your music with a compelling pitch for a program — and it a great match for the venue and series. You waited a week. Then you sent a...

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My Embarrassing Fulbright Story

My Embarrassing Fulbright Story

Here's my embarrassing (and all too true) Fulbright application story: When I was a studying at Stonybrook University (many moons ago), I got it in my head to take a year off and study in Paris. Specifically, I wanted to work with the cellist Roland Pidoux because I...

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Your Sustainable Career in Music

Your Sustainable Career in Music

I recently read composer Dale Trumbore's terrific article Sustainable Composing, in which she addresses how her idea of success has changed. She now takes a longer view of how to build a career over time. One with relationships built on trust. One designed for a...

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Quitting Your Day Job?

Quitting Your Day Job?

It's personal revelation time this week, and it's fitting for an Independence Day celebration byte. After 5 terrific years at Manhattan School of Music as Director of the Center for Music Entrepreneurship, I'm changing things up. As many of you may know, I’ve been...

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Is it ever OK to Perform for Free?

Is it ever OK to Perform for Free?

A version of this question keeps coming up. Musicians asking, when is it okay to work for free? In other words, is playing a gig for no pay ever worth doing? And is taking a gig "for the exposure" ever really a good idea? Keep in mind how one evaluates any potential...

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What’s Your Degree Worth?

What’s Your Degree Worth?

Is a degree in music a good investment? Of course, the answer is: it depends . . . on the particular individual's aspirations, talents, experience, circumstances — and their ability to absorb debt. The background that informs my perspective on this: I was trained as a...

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What’s that Worth to You?

What’s that Worth to You?

MONDAY BYTES — August 24, 2015 Musicians are typically uncomfortable talking about money—whether it's fees, salaries, contracts, or budgets. My book Beyond Talent has sections on managing finances, booking performances, and scripts for pitching and negotiating. All to...

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Is capitalism a dirty word?

Is capitalism a dirty word?

MONDAY BYTES – March 24, 2014 My latest obsession is capitalism and the arts: how musicians function in a free market. And how our thinking about the larger economy affects our career trajectories. Acclaimed economist Tyler Cowen (writes a NYT column and an...

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Are You a Mogul?

Are You a Mogul?

Here's a riddle (to distract you from holiday stress): What can 2 cartoon bears teach us about the arts economy, advocacy, and fundraising–in under 5 minutes? Find out in this terrific short video "Explaining an Arts Nonprofit" (4:49) made by the 8 member vocal...

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