How To Go From A Music Maker To A Music Innovator

Former professional drummer Ryan Edwards recounts transitioning from music maker to music entrepreneur and innovator and offers advice on how to make the switch, as challenging as it is, as smooth as possible.

Guest post by Ryan Edwards, CEO of Audoo

My journey from music maker to industry innovator began in my early 20s, after experiencing my moment of stardom as the drummer of indie rock band, The Lines. As an industry insider, I gained a whole new perspective to many of the bugbears that creatives encounter and it opened my eyes to the multitude of both positive and negative outcomes of a complex sector.  

Later, I turned my attention to technology. For the next decade I grew my profile in the industry working for the likes of Visa Europe and Bink, where my love for music was reignited in the most surprising way. A shopping trip with my partner turned out to be the catalyst to my professional overhaul when I heard my song playing in a popular department store, and it left me wondering whether we were still getting paid for our song being played in public places. 

Inaccurate royalty distribution has been an ongoing issue in the music industry; UK creatives (singers, songwriters, producers) are losing out on millions in public performance royalties due to the current way royalties are calculated. Whilst the surge in technological innovations over the last decade has gifted consumers with the previously impossible power to access songs within seconds and listen from almost anywhere in the world, the issue of how creatives are compensated has been somewhat neglected. Spotting this loophole was where my journey really began. 

My transition from musician to entrepreneur was not taken lightly. There were countless obstacles to overcome, especially when going it alone. So, here are some top tips on how to make a smooth transition from music maker to entrepreneur. 

Pursue your passions

When moving in a new professional direction you must try to focus on pursuing your true passions and harnessing your individual skillset. After a decade away, I’m back in the industry that I love. This passion, combined with my expertise in technology, is a match made in heaven. Going back to an industry that you know well also gives you a head start against your competitors. You can continue fortifying and nurturing pre-existing relationships that may help you further down the line. For me personally, my time in the music world meant that I had more contacts to develop an industry-leading board for my business, each individual having delivered decades worth of experience and expertise which has helped grow my business.

Measuring success

The music industry is at a pivotal point. It’s fast-paced and constantly evolving with technology, so the progress of a music tech start-up is very much measured on a daily basis. There will be fantastic days and there will be challenging days, but when making the step towards being an innovator in the music industry, you must remember not to take things personally. The music industry can be tough, especially when searching for investments. Typically, 100 investment meetings will only result in an average of five investments, so patience is a virtue. 

There’s always room to learn 

When you consider the complexities around royalty distribution, streaming rights, song ownership and the impact of the rise of valuable technologies, no one is expecting you to know it all. Starting your own business in an industry you know and love means that you’ll feel the need to be involved in everything. Yet, the harder I tried to do this, the more I neglected my role as a CEO and entrepreneur. You must put your trust in your team, and delegate, knowing that everyone will have their own unique skills and role. When it comes to the business of music tech, I always think of the company as a band, we each have our own distinct capabilities, but the moment it all comes together – it rocks!

Everyone has their own journey, and the music industry is notoriously one of the most challenging to navigate. It’s tough, testing and will push you to the edge, but the sense of accomplishment you feel when you are making headway and tackling the pitfalls of an industry is priceless. 

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