Entrepreneurship In Music

It is no secret that traditional careers in classical music are hard to come by. Each year, thousands of music school and conservatory graduates leave their institutions to enter an over-saturated workforce. Thankfully, many schools are telling their students that if they are to succeed they will have to create their own opportunities. In the last few years, institutions across the country have begun to form departments geared toward entrepreneurship and the business of music. This semester, Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University offered its first course in music business, lead by Lance LaDuke. In his first lesson, Mr. LaDuke discussed the concept of  a portfolio career. A portfolio career, he explained, is one in which an individual makes their living through multiple revenue streams. Some of these streams are low yielding, but offer returns over a long period. Not unlike a stock portfolio, these long term income generators are joined by sporadic streams that can yield large returns. For musicians, this could mean a modest, steady job such as teaching or playing in a local orchestra augmented by touring, composing, arranging, conducting, a YouTube channel, or a website.

Over the next several weeks, Where Are We Now? will be presenting a regular feature on musicians who are currently leading portfolio careers in Pittsburgh, PA. The musicians being featured will provide insight as to what it is like finding and creating opportunities in the music industry. Together, we will be exploring a variety of income streams that range from founding a chamber orchestra to starting a YouTube channel of funny videos. The individuals that we will focus on are at various stages of the career spectrum, recent graduates through seasoned professionals. In addition, we will periodically be sitting down with Lance LaDuke, who will be sharing with us the ins and outs of entrepreneurship in music.

Join Where Are We Now? as we take a closer look at the world of the portfolio career through entrepreneurship in music.


Lance LaDuke: Carnegie Mellon University

Matthew Murchison: Matt Murchison Mutiny

David Gerard Matthews: Eclectic Laboratory Chamber Orchestra

David Gardner and Jonathan Speek: Steel City 5

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