As musicians get more keen on the contractual aspects of the music industry, they realize that having a business sense so they don’t get completely screwed is a smart thing to do. Some are taking it as far as earning advanced degrees in business, accounting and marketing. Take KEN Mode, profiled this week by Forbes. Jesse and Shane Matthewson caught the business publication’s eye for their success on the scene while also holding Bachelor’s of Commerce degrees from Canada. Jesse’s studies were focused in marketing and Shane’s in accounting. Their parents were also both accountants, according to Forbes. The Matthewson offspring are carrying on the torch by making business plans for their band, including tracking systems for merch and have become quite the gurus in negotiating label contracts.
“It’s cool getting to apply the knowledge you’re learning at school to your own business,” Jesse told the publication.
While Forbes goes on in the piece to stress that making a small business work is difficult, and we understand the music business is cut-throat, we’re not sure what their big beef is with heavy metal music in particular. Stating that the odds are against the band for being in the rock genre, “especially heavy metal” we were looking for more statistical proof of their claims.
According to the 2012 Nielsen and Billboard reports, the gap between metal sales and all other genres is not that wide. In fact, rock sales kill them all. Total album sales in metal equaled 31 million units in 2012. Compare that to 24.2 million units for rap artists and 44.6 million for country artists is not that far of a stretch. Rock sales in general actually killed all other genres with 102.5 million units sold.
While we know that metal is a labor of love, according to our calcuations, there is money to be made. The potential to actually make a living based on talent makes it even more important that metal bands get business savvy with the intricacies of their trade. Thankfully KEN Mode offers a successful example of the formula.