Dmitri Matheny was named was of the world’s best horn players. (Courtesy of Saddleback College Arts)
Jazz musician Dmitri Matheny gave a presentation about the music industry October 8, 2015, at Saddleback College.
Matheny made himself known to the jazz audiences in the 1990s as the protégé of Art Farmer and was dubbed “one of the jazz world’s most talented horn players by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Matheny performs as a master flugel horn player 200 days a year with a rhythm band and has also composed jazz tracks which were featured in a Sylvester Stallone film.
“Artists have a thing they love and then want to find out how to make money off it,” Matheny said. “Business students want to make money and the product is secondary, like the tail chasing the dog.”
The music business comes with fine print and knowing how to read a contract is critical. Matheny indicated the importance of reading contracts as he learned a hard lesson by losing half his royalties for some of his bestselling earlier work.
“I want people to check out my thing and pay for it,” Matheny said.
Early in his career, Matheny sent out his product trying to get a show, which ended up costing him $15 after mailing and supply fees. Now the process of sending out music can be done for free using email.
“It’s a numbers game you dig? I have had people tell me that they heard of my show from Craigslist, and I have never posted anything on Craigslist,” Matheny said.
He got more descriptive regarding the music business and further continued with more advice.
“You want to monetize the community,” he said.
Having people share an artists’ work on a social media platform helps. Word of mouth could be a major part of a musician’s advertisement at the beginning of a career. Building on the work that people love and remember can make the difference for some artists.
“Momentum in the music industry is like pulling a tiger by the tail, exciting but you can’t let go for a minute,” Matheny said.