Craft and Business

Craft and Business

As with any industry, there are always two main elements to consider in the music industry; the craft and the business itself. There appears to be more of a divide between the two in the music business, as both elements require two completely different skill sets. But without craft there is no business, and without business there is no life line for the craft to emerge.

Many performing arts schools are dedicated to the first element; building the craft. They nurture, educate and bring out the very best in each of their pupils. After many years of training and honing those new skills, it is often a shock to the new graduate how things work outside the safety bubble of their educational establishment. The schools are dealing extremely efficiently with building the craft, because without skill there isn't a product to push forward. It all comes down to primitive buying and selling, just like in any market place. But there is a great opportunity to also introduce extensive training on the business side of the industry and how graduates can turn their skills into a profitable means of earning a living.

Many training institutes are slowly building business courses into their creative programmes with very admirable efforts. With previous generations of musicians, business was something that was handled by someone else, like an agent or manager or record label. The musician would only have to worry about making the best possible product to sell and keeping their skills sharp.

This is no longer the case nowadays as record labels and management companies are more cautious about investing in talent without a guaranteed return of investment. This means that the talent has to prove themselves in the industry on their own initially, by getting a large following, releasing their own records amounting to notable sales or by showing entrepreneurial skills in some other way. They want to take on a product that has been tried, tested and has audience acceptance before they then invest a large amount and take the act national or international.

Singapore's musicians have the opportunity, now more than ever, to build up their own fan base and release their own records. With the already established music scene and the welcoming attitude from the industry toward pro-active talent, business skills have become just as important as the craft itself.