Ben C. McLane, Esq, has had decades of experience working with bands and artists, first working as an artist manager during college before going on to get his law degree and immersing himself in all things related to music business and music law as an attorney. He has written hundreds of articles, won awards for his work, has been featured as a speaker at worldwide music conferences and events, served as an educator in music schools, and has participated in projects involving the best and the brightest music superstars today, from Beyonce to Jay Z to MJ, J Lo and beyond. During this episode, Ben talks about his decision to become a lawyer specializing in the music business, his music law career trajectory, his book, “Music Business in 10 Easy Lessons,” and what artists can learn when working with a label or going the independent route.
Lisa Husseini, CEO of iCadenza, knows what it feels like to be on a music career path that doesn’t seem like the right fit. A graduate of prestigious music schools like The Hartt School of Music and New England Conservatory of Music, Lisa was well on her way to becoming a professional musician when she realized it wasn’t where she truly wanted to be. Her subsequent journey led her to several arts administration positions until she found iCadenza, a boutique agency that offers coaching, consulting, and project management for professional musicians and arts organizations. Her timing could not have been more perfect, as the agency did not yet exist when she first started her search. During this episode, Lisa shares her unique career trajectory and her determination to look “outside the box” when it came to finding her perfect dream music job.
Jeff Weiss, writer and journalist, loves LA. He writes for national publications but has always been a strong advocate of LA’s underground hip hop scene and independent music. His online magazine Passion of the Weiss is considered to be the preeminent (and usually the first) source of coverage for up-and-coming artists. In addition to co-authoring the book “2Pac vs. Biggie: An Illustrated History of Rap’s Biggest Battle,” he runs an independent record label, POW Recordings, and is about to launch The LAnd Magazine, a Los Angeles-based publication “for locals, by locals.” In this music careers episode, Jeff talks about his writing trajectory, the evolution of the media landscape (and how to survive it,) surrounding yourself with people whom you respect and admire, and focusing on your craft, no matter what.
Kevin Nixon and Sarah Clayman are music industry veterans who have dedicated their careers to give back to the next generation of music industry stars. They developed DIME, a music institute with locations in Detroit, MI and Denver, CO (as well as online,) with a focus on modern music education and degree programs for music students who want a long-term career in the music biz. During this episode, both Sarah and Kevin discuss their significant music career trajectories: Kevin, a incredibly talented and experienced musician/songwriter, worked with top-charting bands as well as managing and producing several other top acts, and Sarah, who got her chops working on tours for Prince and Michael Jackson and was snapped up by Sony Music UK as International Promotions Manager. Both Kevin and Sarah explain how they prepare their students for every aspect of a music career, and how to find a career in modern music that will be sustainable as well as successful.
Brittany Spanos, writer for Rolling Stone magazine, was inspired by the movie “Almost Famous” when she was young, so clearly it’s no surprise that her music career trajectory led her to one of the most iconic music magazines in the world. Brittany’s interest in music writing and music history led her to NYU, where she studied music and journalism and interned at Allure magazine and the Village Voice. During the episode, Brittany talks more about her writing career, including working at the Village Voice, the freelance hustle, her articles for Spin, Vulture, Rookie, and many more, as well as her insights on the media industry landscape. Brittany also discusses the current outlook for music and how it’s reaching new platforms and audiences outside of the mainstream.
Dae Bogan describes himself as a “serial entrepreneur” – a description that is very apt and also very nimble, truly an invaluable quality that’s sorely needed to keep up with the twists and turns of the music industry. Dae Bogan walks us through his music career trajectory, starting with childhood as a singer/performer along with his family, managing and promoting artists in his teens, then heading west to the bright lights of Los Angeles to pursue his artistic career. Dae describes his pivot into the business side of music, motivated to be of service to other musicians and artists, and to maximize the opportunities that appeared when the music industry moved towards tech and innovation, in the “wild west” landscape that continues today. If you want to keep up with these uncertain times, do yourself a favor and follow Dae, starting with this interview!
Simon Tam is a musician of many ideas and very little sleep. He started his first record label at 13, became a band promoter in his teens, and has continued the music jobs entrepreneurial hustle ever since. His band The Slants, the world’s first Asian-American dance rock band, has toured and played to massive audiences. Simon has published several successful books about the music business, and he also founded and hosts a highly-popular daily podcast, “Music Business Hacks: The Daily Habits of the Self-Made Musician.” During this episode Simon talks about his music journey, and how he crafted The Slants to be one of the most sought-after bands in the biz. Simon also shares the secrets of a self-made music thought leader, how to look for opportunities outside the usual platforms/venues, and giving value to people on a consistent basis.
James Beshara, Global Head of Airbnb Concerts and an electronic music artist, understands the intimate connection that is forged between musician and fan. As a product designer and entrepreneur, James previously co-founded Tilt.com, a social payment, crowd-funding app, which many artists and music fans used to fund concerts in new locations or add additional tour dates to an artist’s calendar. James observed the demand for more intimate live experiences and followed that trajectory to Airbnb Concerts, Airbnb’s newest and fastest growing experience category. This exciting new performance platform allows musicians and enthusiasts to directly connect and enjoy live music in unconventional spaces. In this music jobs episode, James discusses his career trajectory from non-profit to Silicon Valley, and how up-and-coming artists now have an amazing opportunity for new fans, exposure and more.
Dr. Gigi Johnson, Inaugural Director of UCLA’s Center for Music Innovation, has taken an unconventional route when it comes to a career in music. A gifted singer and creative, she has performed and released music all while pursuing a film production degree at USC, an MBA, a PhD in education change/media studies, starting her own business (the Maremel Institute) and having 9 different careers in banking, media, marketing and education, among others. During this episode Gigi walks us through each career decision and trajectory, how each business skill set has contributed to the next as well as overall personal and creative development, and shares insights and well-honed wisdom about technology’s impact on creation, content and beyond.
Scott Hawksworth has always loved music, but he made the “practical” choice to get a business degree in college. After working at several businesses, he realized he missed his creative calling; utilizing all of his business experience, he decided to pursue a music career by creating an online business for producers and musicians. AudioSkills.com is now a burgeoning community with a popular podcast, YouTube channel and robust membership offering courses, tools, resources and more to producers, podcasters, and musicians who want to learn more about mixing, mastering and recording. Scott shares how each career choice he made has only helped to serve his online music business and to create a prosperous, forward-thinking and evolving enterprise.