Panel will look at making money in the era of free music

Piano keyboard and headphones

Music is the soundtrack to our lives. We hear it on the radio, on commercials, and in the mall. We download it, stream it and share it. Music is more accessible than ever and yet the industry has never been more in flux.

Brock University’s Goodman School of Business will host a behind-the-scenes look at success, marketing and making money in the era of free music on March 19.

“Music Matters: A conversation about the business of today’s music industry” will discuss the challenges facing the industry, ethics and social responsibility, what’s involved in making music and how to ensure that new talent is nurtured.

Familiar names at Music Matters are broadcaster Alan Cross, who has spent more than 30 years in the music business and is best known for his radio show “The Ongoing History of New Music”; musician Murray Foster of The Cocksure Lads, Great Big Sea and Moxy Früvous; Ivar Hamilton, vice-president of marketing for Universal Music Canada; Noah Mintz, an audio mastering engineer who has worked with some of Canada’s most successful indie and major label acts; and Eric Alper, director of media relations for eOne Music Canada and a well-known music commentator.

Moderating the panel will be Todd Green, Goodman School of Business assistant professor of marketing, who researches corporate social responsibility in the music industry. Green quickly realized during his research interviews with musicians and other insiders the difficulty that musicians face as they try to earn a living.

“As a culture, when did it become acceptable for us not to pay for a product?” Green asks. “We don’t walk out of the grocery store without paying for the food we bought and supporting the farmers that produced it, so why is it OK for us to steal a song?”

Don Cyr, Dean of the Goodman School of Business, describes the panel as a candid look at the intersection of art and business.

“Life as a successful musician has become about winning the ‘battle of the brands,’” Cyr says. “While talent may still count, musicians and record labels have to be savvy marketers and self-promoters to reach their fans and consumers.”

The event will be held on Thursday, March 19 from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. at the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre at Brock University. Tickets cost $5 and all proceeds go to MusiCounts, a non-profit organization that supports music education in Canada.

Tickets for Music Matters are available in person or by phone at the Centre for the Arts Box Office (905-688-5550 x 3257).

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