In NYC’s Premiere Music Conference, One Old School Presents New, Groundbreaking Ideas

It’s compelling to see a music school frequently associated with tradition break out of its mold, daring to present unheard ideas that will better serve our professional musicians of tomorrow.

At New York City’s premiere music conference, Chamber Music America, that is exactly what the world-renowned Eastman School of Music did.

In their “pre-conference” presentation in mid-January, I was in the audience, invited by the school, curious to see what their offerings were.

Have you ever heard marketing advice from a supposed “guru” on marketing, coming away feeling like you actually did not learn anything that could be used for your career? This is not an unusual experience for musicians, especially classically trained ones.

To be honest, due to prior experience with music schools presenting weak marketing lectures, I was, at first, expecting a seminar along those lines.

I couldn’t have been more happily pleased otherwise – Eastman’s presentation was, without a shadow of a doubt, the real deal on modern techniques that absolutely do work on helping launch and, most importantly, sustain a unique, individualized, profitable music career.

The career and entrepreneurship ideas presented at Eastman’s CMA presentation should be used as a blueprint for every music school deciding to teach their students how to be incredibly marketable with their musical gifts.

So what were these new, groundbreaking ideas?

Sure, you have heard the buzzwords behind each one before – branding, social media, music technology, etc. – but you may have never heard any professional elocute so magnificently on these subjects as it pertains to building an incredible music career.

Today, I disclose several of the most valuable secrets I learned at this event.


5. How Two Jazz Geeks Brought In $10 Million Dollars Per Year

photo by Jiyang Chen via Wikimedia Commons

If you want to make a successful, profitable musical event happen, the blueprint was made exceptionally clear at Eastman’s CMA conference.

Two brilliant musicians and businessmen, Mark Iacona and John Nugent, shared their experiences and very impressive numbers behind their internationally acclaimed musical event, the Xerox International Jazz Festival, based in Rochester, NY.

So how successful is the Xerox International Jazz Festival? In 2014, they had an attendance of over 196,000 patrons seeing 325 concerts. Over half of the festival attendees went to 10+ shows, with the average patron spending $500+ during their stay in Rochester.

How have these passionate jazz lovers and businessmen received the support from the city of Rochester to put on this show? After all, with so many tourists, the city could be figuratively flooded in such a large-scale event.

Well, it’s quite simple really – John and Mark worked with local vendors and the city itself to stimulate incredible revenue growth for local businesses.

On average, the entire economic return for the city of Rochester after putting on the Xerox Jazz Festival is $10 million dollars per year.

That’s eight figures! For jazz!

If you want to put on a concert, festival, conference, or event, you don’t have to promise someone ten million dollars.

But, if you can provide for your community a stimulus that exists outside of the value of the music itself, such as an effort to bring in tourists that will inevitably purchase from local small businesses, you have for yourself a winner of an approach to get the music you love out to a larger world.

On the next page, a US Navy Band trumpeter evolves into a social media guru, disclosing to us the one secret to building an audience.

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