Michael Pickering, M.A., Music Business, ACUE

Berklee College of Music

Michael Pickering, President and Chief Creative Officer of Lionsong Entertainment, Inc., and former Director and founder of the Music and Entertainment Entrepreneurship program at the Community College of Aurora, is a creative leader, entrepreneur, educator, and musician. He holds a Master of Arts in Music Business Degree and a B.P.S. in Interdisciplinary Music Studies Degree from the Berklee College of Music. He has served on the boards of local arts and entertainment organizations, authored post-secondary music curricula, and spoken at many local and national music industry events. He also provides music and entertainment business and performance consulting services (www.mpickeringmusic.com). Michael and his wife, Amy Pickering, remain active as national headline music and clean comedy performing artists for corporate, theatrical, educational, outreach, cruise, and private clients worldwide — www.michaelandamy.com.

Today’s music industry is the wild, wild, west! The gatekeepers who once determined the fate of an artist’s success, the projects that would be recorded, the songs to be released, the bands that would take the stage, no longer wield their career crushing power. The chasm they built separating artist and fan, creators and consumers has been filled and democratized thanks to the power and accessibility provided via the internet.

As a result, today’s musicians can build long term relationships with their fans, engage fans in the creative process, mobilize and monetize fans, and build a community willing and able to support an artist’s career. But as in the days of the early pioneers, today’s musicians have to learn how to successfully navigate a course, map results, build relationships, stake claims, observe and innovate, invest and invent, and work the land to transform it from a desert prairie to life sustaining paradise.

In other words, to succeed in today’s music industry, musicians need to expand their skill set from being musicians alone to being musical entrepreneurs. Yesterday’s music industry gatekeepers may have been disarmed, but the work they did still needs to be done in order for today’s musicians to succeed.

To be an entrepreneur means many things and is manifest in many different ways. Simply put, however, an entrepreneur is someone who creates and organizes a business or businesses. This business may be a DIY (do it yourself) one person endeavor or, better yet, a DIO (do it ourselves) venture with others.

An entrepreneur’s business scope can range from the weekend hobbyist who makes a few bucks on the side doing something they love all the way up to the Elon Musks, Steve Jobs, and Sir Richard Branson’s of the world who have created jobs for thousands and products and services for millions.

While the entrepreneurial scope and services provided may be very different from one person and organization to another, they all share something in common. In fact, what they share in common is at the core of what makes a musician a musician! It’s the ability to listen, to observe, and to respond through creation. 

Musicians are natural entrepreneurs. 

I would like to help you discover and declare your IDENTITY as artists and entrepreneurs, your VISION for the life and vocation you dream of, and your INTENTION and plans to begin to transform your dreams into realities. My desire for this blog is to help you learn about the connection between your creativity and your commerce. You will explore your artistic and vocational dreams, and you will map out a practical plan to help you get from where you are today to where you hope someday to be.