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Surviving in music's sea of sharks

Music industry consultant Graham Way of Tandem Music Group hasn't lived on the Coast very long, but he's already amazed by the great musical energy here.

Music industry consultant Graham Way of Tandem Music Group hasn't lived on the Coast very long, but he's already amazed by the great musical energy here. Unfortunately, some of the musicians, particularly younger ones, seem isolated and out of touch with what's really happening in the tough industry, he says.

He's planning an educational program over five Saturdays in Sechelt to teach amateur musicians "how to protect ourselves in that sea of sharks out there." He hopes to deliver some savvy a practical, working knowledge base for singers and musicians and for parents of young talent.

Along with issues of self-preservation, the workshop will also cover many important decisions in a novice musician's life, such as how to choose a team that will help you on your way. A team could include a bevy of assistants from manager to financier or publicist. For example, finding the right engineer is a crucial step to making a first recording. Other really important members of the team, especially for younger musicians, are parents.

"The younger the person is, the more important it is for the parents to attend the workshops as well," Way says, not only to encourage but to understand the industry. The instructor is offering the opportunity for more than one person from the same family or band to register at the same price.

For a young, independent artist embarking on a career, there are many decisions: should you make a demo or a full length CD? How do you copyright your original songs to earn royalties? How do you package yourself and your CD, promote it, distribute it?

This is not a recording session, he stresses, but rather about what to record and how to do it to further your career. The content is relevant for all genres of music, except maybe opera. One of the more interesting aspects of the five-week program is some background in how digital music is changing the nature of the marketplace. Money can be made through ring tones, ring songs and digital downloads.

Why does a man who has spent 25 years in the music industry as a singer, songwriter, recording artist, music producer and educator want to spend his consulting time giving this workshop?

"I've seen so many artists blow time and effort needlessly, wastefully," he says. "Nobody out there can protect your best interests better than you."

For info about the program that begins Oct. 15 and runs from 12 to 4 p.m. in the Sechelt Library meeting room, call Way at 604-886-6622, toll free at 1-866-898-4840 or email info@tandem-music.com.

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