When Musicianship Meets Entrepreneurship

Musician. noun \myü-ˈzi-shən\ : a person who writes, sings, or plays music

The Webster’s Dictionary has a pretty basic definition of what a musician is. But what do you think of when you read the word musician?

You may think of a glamorous star living it up in Los Angeles or Nashville. A person who got a one in a million chance to make it big.

On the other side of the spectrum, you may think of a passionate yet struggling artist who works in a coffee shop during the day and plays at little, local venues at night. Music might be his passion, but it’s definitely not how he makes his living.

But is there a middle ground? Can a musician make a living doing what he loves without a huge record label behind him? And if so, how? How do you get people to hear your music without making it big or jumping from bar to bar, praying that someone will buy your CD?

One local musician would say it all starts with creativity and an entrepreneurial mindset.

Barron Ryan is a pianist known for his catchphrase “classic meets cool.” He recently recorded a new jazz album, and it. is. GREAT. Barron spent literally thousands of hours writing, practicing and recording the tracks for the album he’s calling “The Masters’ Apprentice.” He says the music is crafted to tell his personal story of resilience and to “encourage others who are struggling to know that someone else is going through the same thing and cares about them.”


But here’s the thing. No matter how good the music is, it won’t gain much traction without effective marketing and packaging.

Because let’s be real. A burned CD in a cheap, plastic sleeve doesn’t exactly say “legitimate artist.” If I took a great piece of expensive, Swiss chocolate, wrapped it in a generic chocolate wrapper and had some guy at the park offer it to you, would you take it? Of course not. It doesn’t matter how great that chocolate is. You’ll never know because of the way it was presented to you.

See, for an album to get attention, it can’t just have great music on it. You have to edit and license the music, design the album art, duplicate it, and then promote the music on various platforms to convince people that they can’t live without it.

And all of that, of course, requires a good chunk of money.

So our friend Barron is raising that money by launching a Kickstarter campaign. He’s taking on the challenge to be a creative entrepreneur- on top of being a musician- to take his product to the next level.

The process started long before the Kickstarter actually launched. Barron and his team created teaser videos for Facebook, did a fun, campaign countdown on Instagram, and hosted a big concert before ever pushing the button to make his campaign begin. And so far, it seems to be working. In just 12 hours, he raised almost half of his $10,000 goal.

He now has 17 days (until November 4, 2016) to raise the other half of his goal, and he’s confident he’ll succeed. Here’s why:

Barron’s theory throughout this whole process is that, if people are investing in his music, they’ll be more likely to care about his success. In his Kickstarter video, he tells potential supporters, “You have the opportunity to help take this project from my computer hard drive, where it currently lives, to the masses.” When we chatted with him the other day, he also told us, “With this Kickstarter, people can say, ‘Whatever success happens, I was part of that.’ And that’s a pretty cool feeling.”

So whether you’re a musician or another kind of entrepreneur, we encourage you to get out of your box. Think creatively. Find a way to build a team who wants to be part of your success. Barron says you’ll be glad you did.


Don’t know where to start? We can help.
Want to contribute to Barron’s Kickstarter campaign? Click here.