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7 benefits of Musicians’ Desk Reference

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2013 was a great year in music from all around the globe. It seems as if everyday new talent is emerging and it's become easier than ever for almost anyone to create music. However, becoming a musician in today’s digital age comes with a lot of risks, rewards and competition. As an artist in today's industry, it's important to plan strategically to get exposure and respect to be recognized as established talent in the music industry's constant shuffle.

Launched at CMJ 2013 in New York, "Musicians’ Desk Reference" just may be the solution to upcoming and established musicians in the New Year. Musicians’ Desk Reference is a revolutionary new eBook designed to help artists navigate the rocky waters of the music industry with an array of tools, templates, timelines and more. The platform has already been discussed in outlets like Billboard and Indie on the Move, and is receiving rave reviews.

Below is a discussion with Brian A. Penick, creator of the platform and touring musician, listing “7 Benefits of Musician’ Desk Reference.”

1. It's practical, not theoretical! Let's face it: there are a lot of people out there writing about the music industry and guaranteeing success, so you have to ask yourself – is this information actually practical, or just theoretical? Does it sound too good to be true? Here's a hint: if so, it probably is. I am proud to say that Musicians’ Desk Reference is full of practical, real world information. I have spent half of my life in the music business, both behind a drum kit and more recently in an office, gathering information that is actually useful in today's industry. Simply put, I’ve done the groundwork, made the mistakes, put in the years and want to share the experience and lessons with you.

2. We've done the work for you. Along with the practical vs. theoretical theme, I can say that Musicians’ Desk Reference has done a lot of the necessary (and tedious!) work for you already, and you simply have to input some (minimal) information to generate a wealth of knowledge, all surrounding your specific needs. Starting a group? We've got the basics – from setting up an email account to registering as a business – covered. Going on tour? We've got your booking, promoting and marketing strategies already in place. Being an artist just got a lot easier.

3. It works for everyone ­– seriously everyone. A misconception about music business guides is that they only work for an artist at a particular stage in the industry. My team and I kept this in mind while developing the platform, so we've got you covered on many levels, regardless if you're just starting out or a full­time road warrior. There are a few great things to note here. The first is that Musicians’ Desk Reference is meant to work for you throughout your career, helping to guide you from before your first note to signing contracts with team members. Secondly, the infrastructure of the platform is cleanly organized to explain things as you grow. The information is presented digitally so we can continually update essentially every process as it becomes more refined and practiced, especially with the feedback from our users. This is certainly not a reference book doomed to collect dust on a shelf – it's a knowledge resource and management tool built with your modern needs in mind, from day­to­day tasks to long­term milestones.

4. It encourages efficiency. (In an exciting way!) Efficiency can sometimes be a hard concept for musicians to digest, but the music industry is a business and some of the most successful artists are those that established an efficient way of working early on in their career. Our project management system allows you to break down tasks, delegate responsibilities and track progression, all based on your custom schedule. Being organized actually means less work, allowing you to appoint simple tasks (that can fill up your schedule) to your fellow group members and helpers, allowing more time for what matters most: focusing on your music.

5. It promotes team collaboration. Collaboration in the music business is essential, even if you are a solo artist. The earlier you figure this out, the quicker you can grow your team of people who can help put you on the road to success. So much of this industry is based on who you know, what they can do for you and – just as importantly – what you can do for them. But above all, nobody wants to work with a jerk that can’t work with others. Aside from offering some hearty explanations of industry professionals and a practical sense of when it's appropriate to work with them, Musicians’ Desk Reference encourages team collaboration on almost every step of the music business. From gathering helpers to assembling a street team and eventually a professional network, the platform allows you to manage and delegate tasks, regardless of how insignificant they may seem. You now have an answer to anyone that has ever said, "You deserve to make it; what can I do to help?"

6. Industry ­approved documents, built for artists, by artists. If you've ever recorded an album, ran a promotional campaign or gone on tour, you will agree that there is a lot of work that can be done, and that you would gladly welcome any relief you could find in the way of documents to work with. Musicians’Desk Reference is loaded with documentation, and I do mean loaded. Everything from spreadsheets to reports, instructional guides to actual examples. The best part is, all documents are industry tested and approved. They're even used on a daily basis with an array of clients at The Counter Rhythm Group, an artist development company that works with artists from debut releases to some signed to major labels. On top of it, all of our contributors are musicians – even our attorney – as well, so the musician is being considered from every perspective. The platform is literally built for artists, by artists.

7. No designers needed! (But they're still welcome.) Probably my favorite aspect of Musicians’ Desk Reference is the template documents, not only because of how great they look (and work!), but also because there is a handy tool that assembles them for you. That's right, you do not need to hire a graphic designer – something that can save you hundreds of dollars. (Fear not designers– we've included Adobe Illustrator templates for you to work with). Quality documentation can compliment your music with branding elements and professional presentation, clearly defining you as an artist and helping to gain interest from contacts with radio, publicity and industry professionals. You already sound good, so why not look good when making an impression?

Bonus: Multiple artists per account. A big bonus with the platform is that each login is good for two artists per login. Whether you also have a solo project on the side or you are looking to move on from your current project, we've got you covered – so have at it!

Currently, Musicians’ Desk Reference is now available for 25% off ($74.99 USD) through the end of this year! For more information or to purchase the ebook, visit musiciansdeskreference.com.

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