Notes from Center for New Music: 


KEY: After talking for 2 hours I deduced, “there is not one right answer, know what is right for your audience.”


DISCUSSION: (A lot of questions were tabled, but few were answered … I’ll answer the ones I can.)

  1.  Are you ready for the risks associated with distributing music?
    (There was a consensus amongst the group that it is hard to make money in the music industry.)
  2. Are CD’s still a relevant way to get your music to fans?
    (After 2 hours there was no consensus on this … what was established is that if you give fans an opportunity to give you money … they will.)
  3. A classical musician later asked, “should you look at your CD as an expensive business card?”
    (There was no conclusive answer, but I would say, YES! And put your contact info super big all over it. INCLUDING THE ACTUAL CD.)
  4. Can you make your money back on CD investments?
    (Most people agreed that while CDs were still important in some circles, they were not the most viable way to make money. CDs exist as a way to foster fans.)
  5. Musicians should be on Bandcamp.
    (Bandcamp was the first alternative to CD’s that 99% of the attendees agreed on.)
    (They require that you upload high quality sound files.)
    (They provide free download codes)
    (Music is fully streamable.)
  6. Bands should focus on relationships with fans before they worry about getting their music in to brick & mortar stores.
    (Some musicians were still worried about how to get their music in to stores and on the radio. This was one of the many things that created a clear divide between generations in the group and the many music genres. Stereotypically the older group, and the classical musicians were still interested in Brick & Mortar, CD sales & Radio while the younger indie generation has adopted Streaming, Freemium & Tastemakers.)
    (Somebody asked, “How should I discover new music today?” I would suggest reading local blogs such as, &
  7. LOOK UP: New partnership with Spotify & Next Big Sound
    (They will emphasis a new focus on Big Data for musicians.)
  8. Why are there still musicians afraid of free? (and maybe streaming)
    (For streaming options, musicians and fans should look up and be aware of the services that companies like CD baby offer.)
    (If you love CD’s and aren’t willing to give that luxury up, buy your CD’s at the bands show, or visit stores like Aquarius on Valencia. They stock CDs from a lot of local bay area bands.)
  9. Get on TumblrFacebook is dead.
    (Brendan Welch of The Parmesans made this statement, then retracted to say “Facebook is still relevant … but not a good place to make new fans. Tumblr is where all the young people are.”)
  10. Brendan then added a good piece of advice, “If you want to make money, work with other musicians who want to make money.”
  11. Why do musicians hate the word branding?
    (When I was creating my survival guides … it was clear to me that musicians hated the word branding. In fact in most situations it made their faces cringe severely. Thus when I wrote 2nd book about creating a brand, I changed the word branding to personify, which is a word bands love. Check out my 2nd survival book: Personify on SF Intercom 

And that pretty much sums up the 2 hour meeting at The Center for New Music.


Stefan Aronsen

Stefan Aronsen

Band Aid, Art Director & CEO at SF INTERCOM see his design portfolio at Stefan Aronsen

Stefan Aronsen is a graphic designer that specializes in helping bands & brands become more viable utilizing his 5 P’s – Plan, Personify, Promote, Plug-in, Play.

Stefan Aronsen