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Music biz whiz says get online

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Langara instructor Brian Thompson, who teaches in the singer-songwriter and electronic music production programs. Photo by Jeremy Matthews.
Langara instructor Brian Thompson, who teaches in the singer-songwriter and electronic music production programs. Photo by Jeremy Matthews.

The music industry is better than ever for newcomers, according to Langara instructor Brian Thompson.

The 22-year veteran of the music industry, who teaches a music business course, said the age of social media provides opportunities to dedicated and open-minded musicians. However, artists who refuse to adapt will struggle.

“The new industry changes every six months,” Thompson said. “People who don’t want to adapt to the new industry – their careers will die.”

Thompson prepares his students for the changing media landscape

Thompson said his course, which is part of both the singer-songwriter and electronic music production programs, uniquely prepares budding artists for the modern business landscape.

“At the end of a
 14-week course,
 students have a
good idea of what 
the music industry is like in 2014.”

Thompson’s student Wesley David Scott, who was in the singer-songwriter program, agrees.

“He was a fantastic teacher. He taught us the essence of what it is to be a musician in this modern era.”

Thompson’s classes focus on band management and social media usage, with lessons such as “How to be a Twitter Rock Star.” Those are skills many musicians lack, Thompson said.

The business side of music

“Most artists are so focused on their songwriting that they don’t look at the business side. If you aren’t working every day on the business side of your artistry, it is very difficult to monetize.”

His love of music began young, when he listened to bands such as the Sex Pistols and the Dead Kennedys. Now, however, he’s moved from his love of punk rock to working with all genres of music and his lessons serve to advance artists’ knowledge of the digital music era.

“You need to embrace the online world,” he said. “The old model of advertising doesn’t work anymore.”

He never intended to teach, but after years of public speaking experience, teaching at Langara was a natural fit.

When Thompson isn’t teaching at Langara’s Broadway campus, he works as a music consultant with Thorny Bleeder and produces a podcast and newsletter called the DIY Daily, which informs musicians about the latest developments in the music industry.

Reported by Jeremy Matthews

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