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The Business Of Being An Artist

Posted by Matt Urmy on Sep 9, 2015 7:27:00 AM

 Matt Urmy, independent artist and Founder/CEO of Artist Growth


I am often asked the question, “What inspired you to create Artist Growth?” And usually, I begin by talking about a need I recognized for a better management application that artists and their teams could use to keep their business organized and efficient. That answer satisfies most people’s curiosity, but in truth, the actual genesis of Artist Growth is tied much more closely to my own story as a working independent artist, and how difficult it was to create a true livelihood playing music.

I haven’t been on stage in almost three years, and looking back, the most powerful realization that I’ve had about my years as an independent artist isn’t that I failed to build a sustainable career... it’s the fact that I never really tried. Yes, I played shows all over the country. Yes, I sold albums and merch, built a website, and used social media to try and grow my fanbase...and at the time, I thought I was working as hard as any musician on earth.

In reality, I was spinning my wheels. I had no business plan. I didn’t pay attention to every penny that was earned or spent. I didn’t track or compare performances across cities and venues. And to be honest, I didn’t care. It was all about the art for me, and I didn’t want anything to do with business.

"I thought I was working as hard as any musician on earth... In reality, I was spinning my wheels."

I figured that someone would come along and take care of the business parts once I had enough buzz and fans. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The only way I was going to be able to build the fanbase I wanted was by paying attention to these details.

My perspective on ‘building a business’ drastically shifted when I had a child. I had to face a reality: if I couldn’t make a living and support a family with music, then I’d have to give up and move on…and that was not an option I was open to.

I became obsessed with finding software that could help me with business in an easy, artist friendly way. But I couldn’t find one. There were plenty of ways to add a digital download widget to my website or promote myself on social media, but nothing that helped me begin to understand and build a business.

So me and another indie artist friend of mine set out to build it…and that’s how Artist Growth was actually born. The goal of AG was to make a management platform so easy to use that artists could manage their career properly from the start, and truly have a shot at building a sustainable career independently, while still devoting most of their time to their creativity.

These days, when I meet artists who have really great music and are just starting out, it’s the number one thing I tell them: “Build a story that someone will want to invest in. Pay attention to the business details. Don’t wake up 10 years from now just to realize that you’ve been spinning your wheels when you could have been making real progress.” And today I’m proud to say that Artist Growth is here to help.

by Matt Urmy, independent artist and Founder/CEO of Artist Growth