The music industry has turned upside down? Great!

As the music industry reinvents itself, entrepreneurs find success through innovation.

PNP / / Newscom / File
Ricky Skaggs, shown here performing with Joan Osborne at Summerstage in New York's Central Park on June 8, has partnered with a entrepreneur Ben Cooper to write new songs and market them in new ways.

Living in Nashville means that we see more of our fair share of people interested in making it in the music industry. And Belmont University, with its nationally recognized music business program, attracts many of these folks.

One of the challenges for those interested in the music industry is that it is in the middle of being completely restructured. We are not talking about the kind of turmoil most industries go through from time to time. Within the next five years the music industry will look nothing like it did when we moved here seven years ago. The result is that the traditional employment opportunities we had seen in this industry have all but dried up.

But this is where entrepreneurship comes in.

Those who are looking at the fundamental changes not as threats to stable employment, but opportunities to become part of the change are finding their way to success.

Quite a few of my former students are part of this entrepreneurial wave sweeping over the music business.

I just had coffee yesterday with one of my former students named Ben Cooper, who is finding a niche in songwriting. Ben was an entrepreneurship minor at Belmont, majoring in audio engineering.

Ben learned his entrepreneurship lessons well.

Like most successful entrepreneurs, Ben knew he could not make it alone. So he went to work to build his network. Part of that network includes key mentors like veteran songwriter Gordon Kennedy.

Building this network has helped Ben to connect with musicians, including bluegrass legion Ricky Skaggs. Ben co-wrote eight of the fourteen songs on Skaggs' new album Mosaic.

Ben also remembered his bootstrapping lessons. There are so many talented songwriters in Nashville that even some of the really good ones can get lost. So Ben is using some of the bootstrap marketing lessons he learned in our program to build his "brand awareness" as a songwriter. One of the projects Ben is working on is a blog on songwriting called The Songbird Project.

Not bad for only three and a half years out of college working in an industry turned upside down!

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