Would you like to tell us, as a beginning, a few things about you and your studies regarding the music business?
Hello and thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about my work. My name is Stella Goulinoudi and I have been working in the music industry for about twelve years as an artist manager, backstage assistant and runner in concerts but also as a tour manager on some small tours abroad. I have studied Business Management in England and my postgraduate studies are in Music Management & Artist Development.
Tell us a few things about the seminar you started. Who cares, what are his goals and why would a musician gain anything from it?
The last few years, I have created various seminars for musicians, but what I’m doing right now is different in all respects. It is a quarterly online program that gives artists the opportunity to learn how the music industry works so that they can develop their careers in the best way possible. Artists, in general, don’t like dealing with something that goes beyond the limits of their art, and as a result, they can not manage their career and often give up. The program “The Music Career Makeover” is the bridge that connects the creative part with the business side of music. Within twelve weeks, students are able to put their copyright into practice, increase their audience and create opportunities that will lead them to their goal. The program is aimed only at musicians and bands who want to learn and are determined to devote the time they need to achieve their goal.
More information can be found here: www.musiccareermadesimple.com
How do you see the situation regarding music business at the moment in our country? When it comes for new bands that we see always “invading” our playlists, of course.
I’m sorry to say but in Greece there is no music industry. There is a music industry in England, Germany, America, Japan, Korea but unfortunately not in Greece. Here, there are only a few individual efforts by bands, promoters, record labels and other factors, who do what they can to mainly support the Greek industry and through it, to manage to survive. Most of the new bands we see mainly in the rock and metal scene of the country have worked hard and sacrificed a lot to get where they are today and they deserve a big applause that they managed to go against all the problems and behaviors they had to face.
However, we see many bands, which are objectively good, not doing many things other than being “support acts” in local shows. I don’t want to put the blame on them though, do you think that many groups objectively lack a professional approach to their goals?
Musicians spend a lot of time creating and editing their songs and little time watching what is happening in the music industry worldwide. So, they would only come to this as a last resort. Of course, this is not the case and soon comes the disappointment and often the dissolution of the band. As you said, there must be a goal, which in order to be achieved, the artist must first learn how the industry works and then find a way to become a part of it. However, not all musicians are born for big stages, there are those who simply choose to play live, once in a while, in front of their friends, and look for nothing more. There are those who are afraid to take the risk. It is all a matter of choices, priorities and possibilities.
The above question lies mainly in the fact that there is a large portion of musicians who see things quite pessimistically. “I do not find serious musicians to work with”, “people won’t really support” “record labels and promoters are to blame”. After all, who is to blame?
Let’s say that in Greece, especially in terms of rock, it’s not the ideal place to make a career today, but that does not mean that you can not start from here. I strongly believe that we are a country with talented musicians per square foot. But what we lack is collectivity. Unfortunately, this perspective often causes us to become overwhelmed when it’s time to start a project. It is a matter of mentality.
In the year 2021, that streaming has objectively replaced the physical music markets, how much does a band need a record label behind their back?
According to the latest statistics from the global music industry (IFPI 2020), streaming accounts for 62.1% of its total revenue, which amounts to 13.4 billion dollars. Streaming has objectively affected musicians, who are paid little for each stream, but also the independent record labels that constantly see the numbers in their sales falling. Now as to whether an artist needs the backs of a company I think depends on his goals and skills. If he knows what he wants and is willing to work hard to achieve it, then a company might help him move faster. But before signing a contract, he should be able to understand, recognize and weigh the pros and cons so as not to be disappointed later. Personally, I do not think that a record label is necessary nowadays. If the musician is able to understand that in addition to being a musician he is also a businessman, then he can hire the right people and fulfill his goals in the long run.
As per the above question, the truth is that people lean their hand a lot on merch, if not on physical records. What are the things you would like to see on the benches of band merch, for example, and you consider them to be innovative, instead of T-shirts, patches, etc.?
The reason we see only t-shirts and CDs on the benches of most bands is because firstly, they have learned to do it and secondly, because it is a fairly safe choice. If an artist wants to increase his sales, before spending money on the merch, he should do his research, better know the preferences of his audience and what money his average fan can spend to buy something, to follow the trends of the specific period and to test. After doing all this, he should make sure that he has hired the right person to sit on the counter (on and offline) and sell them. Merch is not an easy task. Rammstein are really innovative and dear to me, and they never cease to surprise their audience with their choices.
How important social media are, after all for a band’s exposure? Because surely, music can be listened to more through constant sharing. Does the above communication, through QAs, live streams etc, ultimately matter? To tell you the truth, I do not see it working very well in small bads. Do you encourage your bands to do it?
Social media is an awesome tool with many possibilities for artists and entrepreneurs. It is a communication channel that is provided to us for free and gives us the opportunity to be heard in every corner of the earth. Unfortunately, many bands do not spend the time they need to make the most of it. If there is no strategy, plan and consistency, there is no result. My message to all the bands that want to make a difference is to start using social media today and not to stop until they achieve their goal. If you want to learn more tips and advice, you can follow me on my Facebook group by clicking here.
Short and nicely, what do you think is the most effective way for a small and medium-sized band to fill a venue where they will present their own material?
To fill up a venue requires work from both the musicians and the organizers. But usually not many things happen, with the result when the time comes to play live, the attendance of people is limited. In order to fill a venue, the artist must have been systematically involved in promoting his music and image from his first steps. He must have won the impressions and constantly try to keep the public interest undiminished. If he uses his social media accounts only to spam his followers when he wants something from them (come to my show, listen to my new album or watch my video on youtube) he will not achieve his goal. Whatever you give you take in this life! Respect your audience and be sure that this too will support you when the time comes.
After all, what is missing from Greece in terms of music is the infrastructure, the serious approach / dedication, or the fact that maybe in the end many bands do not play as they think they do? I think we live in an age where everyone has realized that music can not become Main income and they are discouraged. What could motivate them to go on?
In recent years, important things have happened, such as the closure of AEPI, which misused the money of many of its musicians for several decades. But, unfortunately, we only see individual efforts which are not enough to change our mentality. Personally, I believe that an artist can make a living from music if he tries, as he would if he chose any other profession. There are many ways to make a career in music. To go further, however, you need to know your subject very well. Even if you are the best musician in the world, if you do not know how the music industry and the market work, you will never be able to “sell” your music. That’s why I created “The Music Career Makeover” to show artists how they can manage their careers intelligently, so that they do not fall victims to exploitation by anyone. At the same time, through a series of courses and exercises, they will know what their rights are, how they can exercise them, how they will book concerts but also how they will fill the halls with people who can’t wait to see them, how they will negotiate contracts and agreements that will highlight their career and how they will create opportunities in Greece and abroad.
Before closing, I would like to make a gift exclusively to your readers. Whoever registers in the online program “The Music Career Makeover” until September 30, 2021, using the code “INVADERS” will have a discount of 60 € (terms and conditions apply).
Thank you so much for the hospitality and I hope we get rid of this pandemic soon. Good luck.