Band TipsBusinessInsider

The Music Business in 2020

By T. Perry Bowers

Way back in 1981, when I was about ten years old, my Dad took me to Disney World for the first time. They had a display with all kinds of strange items from the future. It was called something like, “Life in the Year 2000.” I remember very clearly a skiing simulator where a guy was skiing in front of the TV screen and when he turned the screen would shift. It was actually very simple stuff that was outdated by 1995. How much things have changed! Even Disney was unable to predict how fast we would move.

So here we are, approaching 2020. We live in the days of Uber, Amazon, PayPal and Google. Everything is at our fingertips on a device we carry in our pockets. We have amazing methods of interacting but we talk less. It would be interesting to see a comparison of how many words people speak one-on-one today, compared with 1981. I know I talk less. Texting and emailing are my preferred methods of communication, especially for business.

Less than three years ago, I was questioned (very skeptically!) when I told my band mates we would not be putting our new record on CD and would have a download card instead. Now, three years later, I would have a problem converting a CD to any music I could listen to. My laptop doesn’t even have a CD drive. Basically, if you’re not on Apple Music, I can’t listen to you.

I’m told there is a big resurgence in vinyl records and I understand the nostalgia.  I used to love opening my records, putting them on my turntable and jumping up and down on my bed. But that’s when I was ten. I don’t have the time or space for records anymore. All my music and the cover art is in a 3×4” box in my pocket.

In the past year my paper file cabinet system went from two large side-by-side clunky units to one tiny file drawer for memorabilia and a few important documents. Everything I need is either on my laptop or in a cloud somewhere.

Everyone wants everything to be automatic. I’m in the studio business and if I don’t see the writing on the wall, I’m a fool and I’ll be out of business very soon. Musicians don’t want to speak to someone just to book a session or schedule a rehearsal.

So this is where my business is heading and it’s taking a lot of computer power to get there. I have apps and bots communicating with each another, reading codes and digging out pertinent information to supply to my customers, clients and contractors.

I have documents that can be signed electronically and paid with the click of a mouse. You can email me and twenty minutes later you have a rehearsal or recording session booked with backline and a tech at the ready.

Musicians can book a session in my studio without ever speaking to a human being.  They go online, select the engineer who they want to work with, check the engineer’s availability (filled out in advance by the engineer on an online calendar) and put a deposit down through an online merchant service. Then an email and text invite is sent to the engineers who accept their new appointment. Text and email reminders are sent out to the customer and engineer to remind them of their session as it approaches. During the session the final invoice appears in the customer’s email and they pay directly on their phones or through our point of sale iPad in the studio.

Everything is designed so that the customer, the engineer and the studio spend as little time transacting business and as much time as possible making music.  A lot of work goes into this system up front, but once it’s up and running, it’s a great experience that makes the most of everyone’s precious time.

We’re also building a business that can easily be franchised. Our systems will be simple to duplicate. Everything’s written down in an easily digestible way. To interact with my studio business will be a walk in the park, someday very soon.

Right now, we’re doing the work behind the scenes, setting up the programs that talk to each other so our clients and customers get exactly what they want.

It’s fun. When I was in college I wanted to be a businessman.  I got waylaid for a while trying to become an artist. That was fun too and I’ll always be working on that. But for now I’ve found another passion and that’s building a truly phenomenal business.

So if you’re a musician and you need rehearsal or recording space or a video studio, I’m willing to bet you won’t find a more economical, efficient and creative solution than what we’re developing at Taylor Sound over the next year or so. So hang on as we roll out these incredibly easy ways to get your projects moving.