The music industry has evolved exponentially over the past two decades, first with the rise and fall of Napster, and now the widespread acceptance of streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora and the rise of YouTube sensations.
Despite the traditional music business being turned on its head, the do-it-yourself (DIY) music community is thriving more than ever. These aspiring musicians, managers, songwriters and publicists are eager to get entrenched in the biz and learn what it truly takes to succeed in the entertainment world.
That is why William Paterson University professors Dr. Stephen Marcone and David Philp concocted the Music Biz 101 & More radio show and online podcast. To not only further educate students in their department, but also connect with the countless DIYers within the Tri-State Area.
Each Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET, Marcone and Philp turn on their mics and go live through WPSC-FM—88.7 Brave New Radio—to welcome special guests and take questions from listeners. Listeners also can access the podcasts on-demand through musicbiz101wp.com.
“I wanted to do this show for quite a while,” Marcone said. “I wanted to bring in experts that would answer questions from the DIY community and almost act like a community service of musicians in the area.”
Marcone added that rather than have guests simply share their résumés and answer standard trivia questions, he wanted them to actively engage with musicians and aspirational entertainment businesspeople through social media and phone calls.
“For any university, the goal is to be helpful to your community,” Marcone explained. “That was our goal. We didn’t just want to show off people, nor did we want to duplicate what was on commercial airways. That’s how we came up with our format and approach.”
Guests for Music Biz 101 & More pertain to various areas of the entertainment industry, including managers, lawyers, public relations experts, booking agents and producers.
“We’ve covered so many different topics that appeal to the DIY listener,” Philp said. “As educators, we have our own view points of how to do things and what questions or topics are important. But we’re not in the DIY community, so having those musicians tweet in makes sure that their voice is there. They may come up with questions or overall angles that we may not think of. We’re getting great input and questions from people who are in it from day-to-day and have specific questions.”
Having notable entertainment figures such as Rob Fusari, the multi-platinum music producer and songwriter who discovered Lady Gaga, helps. But it’s the uncanny chemistry between Marcone and Philp that makes the show run so flawlessly.
“Dave is definitely the Type A personality who tracks social [media] and provides comedic relief,” Marcone said. “I’m sort of the straight man and nine out of 10 times I ask the serious questions while Dave manages the conversation through Twitter.”
And the overall response from the entertainment community has been more than promising. In fact, the Music Biz 101 & More can barely get to all the questions submitted by listeners.
“I tend to get nervous 20 minutes before our hour is up because there’s so much to talk about,” Philp said. “We have so many questions coming in from students and listeners that there’s no way to get through them all.”
Despite the myriad of experts joining the radio show and their respective areas of focus, many listeners still crave one thing: To sign on with a label.
Sure, many DIY players know that to generate buzz, you need to turn passive fans into active ones. But that’s only the first step, according to Philp. “As a DIY artist, you can only go so far. Eventually, you need a label behind you. Listeners are trying to figure out what that Holy Grail or special sauce is.”
Building up an image, writing and recording songs and accelerating presence online and with live shows to capture label attention takes time.
“You go through a lot of hell and heartache,” Philp said. “They don’t want to go through all the blood, sweat and tears. With this show, we’re trying to make it clear to them you can definitely do it, but you need to understand all these elements of the industry.”
To learn more about Music Biz 101 & More, visit musicbiz101wp.com.