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Compose Your Career:
Businesscraft for Musicmakers.

NEXT ONLINE COURSE BEGINS SEPTEMBER 2022

Does This Sound Familiar?

You’re a musician and you’ve been around the block a few times. You’ve had some success already but the momentum you expected wasn’t there. The support wasn’t there. The fantasy of making music while someone else took care of your career has vanished. You’ve tried to promote and book yourself, but it’s slow going and money’s still tight. You’re frustrated and you don’t know what to do.

You want things in life—to get hitched, build a tiny house, raise kids, get a miniature goat—but you don’t know how you’ll ever do it without giving up music. Giving up the dream.

And yet, there’s a voice inside your head that insists this is the thing you were meant to do.

This is who you are.

Introducing An Online Course
Designed By And Created For
Independent Musicians

(THAT’S US, CLAY ROSS & JAYME STONE)

The Internet caused a sea of change in the music industry

Every musician knows that. What they don’t know is what the old guard—the agents, publicists, managers, and record labels—knew all along. That is, how to actually run a business.

Maybe you’ve already tried being a do-it-yourselfer, so you know all too well how hard it is to figure things out. You probably wondered if you were missing something huge. You were.

And you’re not alone. Most musicians are sailing along in the dark when it comes to their careers (though, they say “a smooth sea never made a good sailor”).

This comprehensive course changes that. Compose Your Career is for musicmakers like you who want to make the music you love—and a living at it too. It offers secrets and strategies that come from a team (of Grammy and Juno Award winners)

who have stopped at nothing (okay, almost nothing) to design a workable system for independent musicians. It provides a disarmingly honest look at what’s really happening in the music industry and what it takes to propel your career forward.

As artists, we need to re-think and re-imagine what it means to do business. An artist’s business model is fundamentally different than that of a record label or booking agency. The good news? We have more latitude, choice, and creative freedom than ever before.

Compose Your Career puts tools and resources back into the hands of independent musicians. It shows you that your career is the ultimate improvisation—the grand music project that includes businesscraft too.

“Jayme thinks outside of the box. Always inspired by him as a musician, composer, and producer (and overall human, really), his counsel in my career continues to blow open my world and the way I think about the music industry.”
AYO AWOSIKA
Musician
“I was astounded by the intuition, drive, and clarity of purpose Clay employed marketing, branding, and booking his band on his own.”
TED KURLAND
Founder of The Kurland Agency

Guest Faculty

Heena Patel

Artist coach

Heena Patel is a multi-hyphenate arts worker, coach for creatives, facilitator, and gathering designer. Heena’s work focuses on nurturing the ecosystem around South Asian performing arts and community.

Martha Redbone

Musician

Martha Redbone is a Native and African-American vocalist/songwriter/composer/educator. She is known for her unique gumbo of folk, blues, and gospel from her childhood in Harlan County, Kentucky infused with the eclectic grit of pre-gentrified Brooklyn.

Barry Cole

Music supervisor

Barry Cole is a music supervisor with more than 100 film and TV credits including Sling Blade, Brown Sugar and American Psycho. He’s produced over 20 soundtracks. The song “Love Of My Life” from the soundtrack for Brown Sugar—featuring Erykah Badu and Common—won a Grammy Award.

Allie Silver

Artist manager

Allie Silver runs a music management and consulting company and has booked over 40 international tours in over 37 countries throughout Europe, the US, Africa, Asia, Oceania and Latin America at some of the most prestigious venues and festivals worldwide.

Teaching A Course On How To Professionalize Yourself As A Musician Is Not Something We Set Out To Do, But People Kept Asking Us To Do It.

That was a huge compliment, but it was also sobering. We’re moved by the astounding creativity of our friends and peers. How talented they are. And yet they ask for help because they are desperate to know how it all works. To stop struggling.

We understand. We’ve been figuring out how to do this without a guide for over twenty years. We’ve signed with record labels and have had managers and agents, but we’ve mostly done it ourselves. We’ve released albums independently, raised over $80,000 on Kickstarter, instigated a decade’s worth of collaborative projects, and booked thousands of concerts on our own.

In 2015, Jayme began teaching a workshop called “How to Book Yourself Without an Agent” to answer many of the questions that fellow musicians had. Based on the success of those workshops, we set to work on a more comprehensive course—this course—that encompasses everything it takes to self-manage your career. What we’re offering is the hard-won knowledge we’ve accumulated that can uncover valuable opportunities for others.

Course Details

Compose Your Career is an eight-week online course that teaches you, step-by-step, how to create a sustainable music career so you and your music can thrive in the world.

This is not your standard Music Business 101 course. It’s based on a peer-to-peer model (one on-the-ground-musician to another, not ex-industry-pro to musician) and celebrates design, aesthetics, and imagination.

You'll get six essential study modules, plus a bonus:

VISIONING & RECKONING

Get honest about what is and isn’t working so you can stop spinning your wheels and get to work finding the right opportunities that make you more money. Otherwise, you’ll just keep doing things that aren’t serving you and wind up with hustle-fatigue.

BRANDING & STORY

We’ll help you write a spellbinding bio that frames your music in a unique story so you can stand out from the crowd, magnetize press, and command higher fees. Otherwise, you’ll get lost in a sea of songwriters where price is your only leverage.

RESEARCH & ORGANIZATION

Get super-organized so you can do more business in less time. This will free up hours to play music (isn’t that the reason you got into this in the first place?) Not being organized leads to a subtle self-sabotage and makes taking the next step in your career impossible.

HOW TO BOOK YOURSELF
WITHOUT AN AGENT

Learn to book yourself with an agent taking 15% and endlessly disappointing you. Even if you don’t want to always do it yourself, the best way to attract an agent is by proving you don’t need one.  

PUBLICITY & MARKETING

Learn how to get press, be social media savvy and grow your email list so you can sell tickets, build a Patreon, launch a successful Kickstarter and make money playing the music you love.

PERFORMING & TOURING

Get the inside scoop on tour logistics, learn how to advance a tour and find out to the #1 thing artists miss out on in their contracts (it'll protect you from cancelled gigs).

SYNC & LICENSING

Learn how to prepare, pitch and land sync, licensing and publishing opportunities. Otherwise, you’re stuck only making money on the nights you’re on stage.

INTERNATIONAL TOURING

Learn how to open up new markets, tour abroad and get the most out of international music conferences. Why not see the world and build an audience while you're at it?

ANCESTRY & LEGACY

Learn how to explore your cultural heritage, build rapport with your audience and create a career that has longevity. You don't want to be doing the same thing in 10 years, do you?

DATA & UNICORNS

Learn how to make every show a showcase, reach beyond the usual suspects and use the power of mail merge to send 100s of pitches in the time it takes to write one email. That way you can do more business in less time and get back to writing your next song sooner. 

  • Brazenly assess your current situation
  • Hone your artistic vision
  • Balance music and business
    (the high-wire act)
  • Plan long-term
  • How to be a cultural entrepreneur

  • Find your niche (or invent one)
  • Communicate visually
  • Ditch your bio
  • Position yourself for success

  • Improve your digital hygiene
  • Supercharge your workflow
  • Build a badass database
  • Leverage online tools, platforms, and apps
  • The art of prospecting

  • Craft a pitch
  • Follow-up secrets
  • Understand booking seasons
  • Negotiate fees—the math and the attitude
  • Write airtight contracts

  • Write a press release that sings
  • Get social media savvy
  • Understand the power of the grassroots
  • Grow your audience (and your email list)
  • Email marketing 2.0—get subscribers, improve open rates

  • Smart strategies for terrific tours
  • The inside scoop on tour logistics
  • When to spend big and when to save
  • Intelligent show advancing
  • Astute accounting

  • Prepare your music for licensing
  • The digital audit
  • Sync agents
  • Publishing deals

  • Opening up new markets
  • Touring abroad
  • Tips on North America, Mexico. South America, Europe, Asia, and more
  • Attending music conferences

  • Explore your cultural heritage
  • Build rapport with your audience
  • Artists as empaths
  • Focus on longevity

  • Make every show a showcase
  • Reach beyond the usual suspects
  • Why the small stuff matters
  • Mail merge secrets

WHAT YOU’LL GET:

  • An 8-week online course starting September 21
  • Over 4 hours of high-quality asynchronous videos
  • Weekly 90-minute mentoring sessions (live and archived)
  • Worksheets and resources
  • Access to all the material for two years

PLUS, YOU’LL ALSO GET:

  • Mentoring from trusted guides who have walked this path and accountability from a vibrant community of like-minded artists.
  • Because let’s face it—no one wants to do this work alone.
  • A proven system for creating a thriving career and peer support to make sure you follow through.
  • A business course for musicians who’d never take a business course. 

Additional faculty made possible through our partnership with the Association of Performing Arts Professionals. Our scholarship program is hosted and administered in partnership with Folk Alliance International.

Still on the fence?
Book a free career consult to see if
the course is a good fit for you right now.

Composing your career will be
astoundingly hard work. It’s going to
take precisely everything you’ve got.
But here’s the thing: it’s harder not to
do the work. To never know whether or
not you had it in you. Or if the
impossible was actually possible.

Registration is open now through September 20.

What People Are Saying
About Co-Founders
Jayme Stone & Clay Ross

“Jayme and Clay are some of the most generous 'real-deal musicians' out there. This course is incredibly thorough and supportive of building a career based on musical integrity—not on chasing metrics. I left the course feeling clear that I, and the community from the first cohort, will benefit from the information for years to come. Focus, organization, inspiration, and community are what you get from the Compose Your Career course. As someone who has taken MANY courses, I can't recommend this one highly enough."
Briget Boyle
Musician
"Compose Your Career is the ultimate tool for musicians who've spent years honing their craft, but have always been flummoxed by all the 'other stuff' and felt it took away time from their craft. I've learned so much about how to organize my time, build relationships, and think clearly about how I want to present my music to the world, and I have Compose Your Career to thank for that. Jayme and Clay have created an invaluable resource."
ETHAN SHERMAN
Musician
"There's no end to independent musicians' opportunities to spend time and money on courses and workshops. Most are strong on feel-good mindset, but weak in pragmatic tools. Jayme and Clay are organized and generous guides who share their knowledge and practical tools with those of us somewhere behind them on the path. I loved their generous, non-egocentric, student-focused teaching."
ARIELLE SILVER
Musician
"Thank you for creating such a phenomenal course. You covered everything an independent musician needs to thrive in this matrix. As a person of color, I felt seen and it felt inclusive and diverse."
JANÏSA
Musician
“Compose Your Career is the real deal. No platitudes or clichés about the music business; just shrewd insight into building a touring career. If you aren’t afraid of the truth or hard work, this course will move you forward. Most importantly, it gave me permission to embrace the truth about who I am musically; and the means to frame a career around that truth.”
JOHN BULLARD
Musician
“I attended Jayme's workshop and have also sought his expertise in one-on-one coaching sessions. Working with Jayme gave me the confidence to think outside of the box. I've approached him with questions regarding touring, gig contracts, personal branding, website building, etc, and each time, Jayme is bursting with creative, unique ideas that are simultaneously realistic and attainable. Jayme is thoughtful, honest, personable in his approach, and genuinely excited to share with those yearning to cultivate their own creative enterprise.”
ALLISON AU
Musician
“I already considered myself an organized artist, but Compose Your Career offered me so many resources and hacks that helped optimize my workflow, improve my habits, and make the 1000s of tasks on my plate easier to accomplish. Musicians wear more hats than anyone and this course helped me identify where I can be more effective in a number of roles beyond the stage.”
KELCY MAE WILBURN
Musician
"Jayme and Clay's genuineness and caring was profound. It's clear their hearts are in the right place. A lot of content to dig into and a really cool community of musicians."
Dechen Hawk
Musician
"Compose Your Career gave me permission to treat my art and career as worthy of professional, organized and high-level promotion and attention. Whether you have years of touring and recording experience or are just starting out, you will benefit from CYC's broad and integrated view of the music business, as well a deep dive into the details. If you are willing to put the same work into your career as you put into your music, I highly recommend this course!"
Joselyn Wilkinson
Musician

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