While I primarily expend my musical energies these days as a composer, I continue to enjoy exercising my abilities as a classical producer, manager and all-round consultant. I am fortunate that after working some 12 years at the summit of the classical record industry, a keen music business savoir-faire is now second-nature to me and I can use this savvy to assist other classical artists.The record industry now is wonderfully decentralized. There was a time, especially my earlier years as A&R Manager for ABC Classics, where there were comparatively few recording opportunities for classical artists. If you were amongst the small number to get signed to a serious label, you made recordings and those recordings could be leveraged to give you renown and status. If you didn’t get signed, few recordings would exist of you and you could not become known beyond your concerts.
These days, technology – the internet in particular – has transformed the entire artist-record company relationship. Artists can choose to be signed by a label, from which they get a small fee and royalty and the label expends resources on production and marketing. Or artists can adopt the do-it-yourself model, which involves hiring a production and marketing team; here the artist keeps all the profit from the recording after paying costs and doesn’t have to share it with a record label. Both approaches are great, so the choice comes down to what suits the artist and what the artist truly wants. But at least now the artist has a choice.
As a former industry executive, I find myself constantly fielding consultancy requests along the lines of “how do I make and market my own recording?” I am always, always happy to advise. I feel the knowledge and experience I have is hard to come by so I sense almost an obligation to share it where it can help. But whether I choose to then become involved in the actual production is another matter, and this has to do with quite ineffable things, such as whether I feel I will actually make an authentic contribution to the artist, or can the artist find someone else whose esthetics and philosophies are more aligned with theirs. If I do choose to participate, one of the services I provide is to upload music onto iTunes. My business is an official iTunes content provider and I enjoy facilitating access for independent classical artists to this global giant of digital downloads.
I get asked to consult on anything from negotiating contracts (intellectual property agreements is a speciality of mine) to being an expert witness in music copyright disputes. I have learned to operate exclusively on a win-win-or-no-deal principle (my thanks to Steven Covey) because I’ve tried the others and they made me feel bad. Any other approach, where one side has to lose for the other to win, is ultimately predicated on a competitive mentality, something I don’t think anyone should participate in. It’s a version of the scarcity mentality – the kind of thinking that says there isn’t enough opportunity for everyone, so we better grab as much of the good stuff as we can for ourselves. I believe the opposite. The opportunity of a lifetime seems to come around once a week. As soon as you open yourself to this idea, you’ll see how true it is.
Send me an email if I’ve piqued your interest about anything.
Lyle Chan Music
PO Box 870
Potts Point NSW 1335