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    Finding Your Place: Natasha Roldan

    Friday, 11 March 2016 16:09

    On February 21st, JAZZ.FM91 presented the first Music Business Seminar of the year, and I was invited again to participate as a social media ambassador.

    Last year, I wrote a piece reflecting on my experience at the seminar and my thoughts on the various topics that were treated that day. In it, I talked about “musician-entrepreneurs” and how changes in the industry have made the idea of the independent musician grow and evolve. Independent musicians have developed the ability to perform different tasks that not necessarily fit their main area of knowledge. “We have become photographers, graphic designers, marketing experts, agents, managers, web designers, writers, accountants, social media specialists, journalists; the list goes on and on. This is a full time job and it is hard.” My thoughts and reflections on last year’s seminar, coincided with Jeff Levenson’s talk this year.

    Levenson described the music industry as an ecosystem, and referred to his perspective as being born of putting himself in various places in it. Not coincidentally, the interviews of Jane Bunnett and Miles Jones shared the same idea. All three speakers had experiences in and outside their main profession, and all of this experiences shaped their careers, introduced faithful collaborators, and contributed to their development as artists and entrepreneurs. Considering the present state of the industry, I think it’s important for us to identify all of our attributes and use them to find not only one, but many places in this ecosystem. It’s not a bad idea to make a list of things we are good at, things we have never tried, and things we are not good at, but would like to improve. We should explore all the possible tasks, and test our potential in several scenarios to discover what we are capable of, and like Jeff Levenson said, find the means to make people in our ecosystem believe that what we are doing is important. We can accomplish this by being present, proactive, collaborating with others, and not being afraid to ask for help, because “the worst that anyone is going to say is no.” -Jane Bunnett

    Speakers: Jeff Levenson, Jane Bunnett, Miles Jones, D. Jae Gold, Paul Sanderson

    An other topic I touched on my previous blog, referred to the difficulty many musicians have in the transition from artists to entrepreneurs, mainly because those two aspects deal with different types of thinking. For me this has been a long and challenging process because there are many aspects to consider. I have learned how to separate my personal life from my business persona, recognize the value in my work and charge properly for it, make contacts and connections with new people in various disciplines, and gain experience in areas I have never worked before. But I have to recognize that one of the hardest areas to navigate, is the financial one. Both emerging and established musicians are constantly investing in their careers, but as an emerging artist I have to say it feels like I’m investing more than what I’m getting back, and yes this is something to be expected when you are starting out, but there are ways to make it even and build from what you have. The seminar presented a topic we are all aware of, but very few of us understand: Taxes!

    Taxes are hard, and for many people a very blurry area where not everything makes sense. So, how do we organize taxes for a business that seems so informal? Here are a few tips from D. Jae Gold, a professional accountant who specializes in the entertainment industry, and who gave one of my favourite talks of the day. 

    1. Separate your personal life from your business life.

    2. You should be able to identify, separate and classify all your expenses and treat everything that involves your music as your business.

    3. Get a business bank account, everything business related must go there. At the end you will have a complete statement, and then it’s easy to summarize your income and expenses.

    4. Expenses can include buying music, concerts, restaurant meals for more than one person, concert clothes, equipment rental, traveling. (Check out this link for other examples)

    5. Credit card statements are not enough for the CRA, that is why you must save your receipts.

    6. Classify all your receipts into categories. At the end of the year you can organize quickly and easily. (Ex: meals, transportation, office supplies, rentals)

    7. All songwriters must be registered for HST.  “A self-employed individual is required to register for GST/HST if they earn more than $30,000 of gross income in a year; however, your earnings from SOCAN aren’t included in this threshold calculation. If SOCAN is your sole source of income, you would not be required to register for GST/HST, but you may want to consider registering, as this would allow you to claim a refund of any amounts paid.” -SOCAN

    8. Last but not least get an industry specific accountant!

    Navigating this industry is not easy specially because as independent artists most of the time we have to do all this things on our own, but that only contributes to our career, artistry and experience. It is great to have this seminars where we can meet people, ask questions and learn new things. Special thanks to JAZZ.FM91 for inviting me to be a part of this and to all the speakers and attendees for sharing their knowledge and experiences. Stay tuned for more business seminars by JAZZ.FM91

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    Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 July 2016 14:44

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