Why Writers, Musicians and Artists Need to Think Like Digital Entrepreneurs

I just got back from two invigorating days at Canada 3.0 2012 in Stratford, Ontario. During the Think like a digital entrepreneurkeynote presentations and break-out sessions, I was inspired by two very important events:

  • A Canadian indie rocker named Hannah Chapplain, who performed on the first night of the conference, competed in the Road to Banff startup pitch-off competition that was happening in tandem with Canada 3.0 2012. She was there because she considers herself a digital media entrepreneur. It makes sense since she is publishing and marketing her own content to promote her talents.
  • A break-out session in the Content stream at Canada 3.0 2012, featuring GigaOm’s Sr. Writer, Mathew Ingram, and The Globe and Mail’s Editor-in-Chief, John Stackhouse, raised an important issue: just like with music, people might want to pay for access to certain writers in a newspaper. Apparently, the Globe and Mail has been researching the pay wall model – where people might be willing to pay on a per-article basis – just like a music download.

What this made me realize is that Canadian writers, musicians and artists should adopt a more entrepreneurial mindset. In the world of journalism, newspapers are struggling to develop a business model that attracts more viewership, and ultimately more premium advertising dollars. Right now, news publications are relying heavily on columnists and popular writers to help them do this. Whether they like it or not, journalists now need to learn how to market themselves online in order to attract a following.

The same is obviously happening in the music world. We already have great examples of Canadian musicians (think Justin Bieber) who have proven that this model works. Ms. Chapplain is very smart to be pitching herself like an entrepreneur as well.

This is the new world that we live in. Old business models, which relied heavily on distributors and corporate marketing to do the selling for musicians, writers and artists are slowly declining. The content marketing tools are there, at your disposal, for free. Your success lies in your own hands.

Image source: iStockPhoto.com

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