Pre-pandemic, my son & I stopped on the Charles Bridge in Prague on a warm, beautiful, summer night and listened for an extended period to a musician playing his songs in front of a crowd of tourists and locals. It was obvious the musician was doing what he loved and his appreciative audience filled his guitar case with currency and coins. My son videotaped the performance and shared it with family & friends, providing the musician with exposure around the globe instantly. This performance was musical entrepreneurship in its simplest form. Nothing is better than getting paid for doing what you love, anyone who has been in that situation knows it is not work, but a synergy of an adrenaline creating opportunity with the ability to be financially independent. These free performances, for the talented, can lead to paid gigs and for the fortunate few opportunities to sell songs to the public and performances in increasingly larger venues for compensation.
The COVID-19 pandemic with its significantly diminished human engagement opportunities had a devastating impact on many individuals who made a living in the music industry ecosystem. This impact started with the musicians, but extended to many owners of privately held companies and family owned businesses. As a lover of music and an individual married to a musician, a German trained accordionist, I encourage you to make an extra effort this summer to inject money into the music economy as a consumer to help this sector return to health and people return to financial independence in environments that bring them joy.
The obvious place to start with a consumer driven stimulus package for the music ecosystem is to get out, listen, and support live musical performances. The world is a better place because Seattle gave birth to Jimi Hendrix, Heart, Kenny G, Quincy Jones, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Sir Mix-a-Lot, and Macklemore. Many more musicians have lyrics and songs to share that will provide a soundtrack to our lives. These individuals need venues. Sadly, many great music venues were lost during the pandemic, but a large number also have survived into the summer of 2021. The owners of these venues need money to pay their staff, rent, musicians, and remain open for their communities. If you come, your favorite music venues can survive. To quote Kurt Cobain, “You can come as your are,…. Hurry up, choice is yours, don’t be late” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9LiPuVRyU8
Entrepreneurship involving music is not limited to performers and the hospitality industry. The colorful threads of the tapestry of this economic sector bringing joy to a large segment of society extend in many other directions. It includes people who provide private lessons to young and old musicians ranging from home based individuals, like Dr. Nicole Kim (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgldkl17-Yk) who taught each of my children in their youth to franchised businesses like, The School of Rock (https://franchising.schoolofrock.com/) which provides a wonderful opportunity for young musicians to connect with other individuals with similar passion and receive the instruction and opportunities necessary to spread their wings and fly as performers. A flower needs water, sun, and good soil to grow, so does a musician. If you have a young musician in your home, now that the pandemic is dissipating, I encourage you to seek the instruction and resources needed to allow them to flourish and achieve their potential. If you are a musician, there is not a better time to seek professional advancement or connect with others interested in pursuing a similar passion.
Musicians need instruments and equipment. Purchases can be made online, but local businesses can provide education and guidance with attentive, personalized customer service. As a small business advocate, I always encourage people to shop local whenever possible, because if we don’t do that as communities local vendors will not be there in future. This includes the people who tune, repair, and rent musical instruments. These businesses are becoming endangered species, an annual tune-up of a piano may be the difference between having that provider there in the future and not.
In my world, a music soundtrack plays to accompany my life on a daily basis whether I am in my car, walking my dog, at my office, or home. A friend and successful entrepreneur, Bryan Levy, who started installing car audio systems in high school before achieving great success as the owner of Eastside A/V, supplied the vision and execution for the wonderful audio-visual system in my home, along with his successor at the company. Unfortunately, Bryan left this world too early. Bryan was also recently joined in heaven by the Pacific Northwest’s grandfather of home audio & visual equipment, Len Tweten (https://obituaries.seattletimes.com/obituary/len-tweten-1082471138), who in Seattle created the candy store, Magnolio Hi-Fi, all Emerald City audiophiles dreamed of going on a shopping spree in starting in the 1970s. Magnolia Hi-Fi eventually expanded to 18 retail locations before being merged in an “all cash deal”, Mr. Tweten’s requirement, in 1988, a mike drop performance earning respect for the rest of his life in the business community. Both entrepreneurs left their mark in countless people’s lives and will be missed.
Entrepreneurs by definition play to their own drumbeat. Many successful ones do it with a musical element. IBA has been honored to support this community as a business brokerage firm for close to 50 years. Please contact us, if you are interested in selling or buying a business either at the end of a successful life tour or because you want to start a new gig.
IBA, the Pacific Northwest’s premier business brokerage firm since 1975, is available as an information resource to the media, business brokerage, mergers & acquisitions, accounting, legal, wealth advisory, and real estate communities on subjects relevant to the purchase & sale of privately held companies and family businesses. IBA is recognized as one of the best business brokerage firms in the nation based on its long track record of successfully negotiating “win-win” business sale transactions in environments of full disclosure employing “best practices”.