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Hi there, this article contains my New Artists Model review. If you’re looking at their courses and are wondering if they’re suitable for your needs, be sure to read this article in full.
New Artist Model is a website that contains training for musicians. Taught by Dave Kusek, the former CEO of Berklee Online, they provide courses on the music business, getting your songs licensed and improving a home studio.
I review their training in full below.
But first, if it's your aim to do music professionally, you'll want to check out our free ebook while it's still available:
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What Is New Artist Model?
New Artist Model is a website with a growing repository of resources for independent musicians – online courses, blog posts, as well as free eBooks, courses, webinars and more.
As with any music business website, there are specific topical focuses (one expert can’t possibly cover it all). In the case of New Artist Model, music promotion, music licensing, music production, selling more merch, starting a second career, and “rocking into retirement” are strong focuses.
New Artist Model has served 9,317 members in 67 countries, spanning 28 genres.
Dave Kusek is the director of New Artist Model. We will be taking a closer look at Kusek a little later in this review, but cutting to the chase, he was the CEO of Passport Designs, as well as the founder and former CEO of Berklee Online.
He co-wrote the immensely successful The Future of Music: Manifesto for the Digital Music Revolution with Gerd Leonhard and is also the author of Hack the Music Business: Build Your Own Career.
Kusek has taught music business and music management to tens of thousands of musicians across the world. His experience, spanning several decades, is leveraged greatly in creating courses for musicians.
The New Artist Model courses will be the key focus of this review, but before we move on, we will be looking at a few more components of the website.
The New Artist Model Brand
The website and business’ brand are clean, simple, and is based around the key premise that today, artists can take control of their own careers.
As a repository of online courses and other content designed to train and help independent musicians learn the ins and outs of the music business, the New Artist Model tables the idea that independent success is possible, and that artists shouldn’t rely on being “discovered” or being saved by a decision maker to realize their dreams.
The online music business school allows you to access course material from anywhere and learn at your own pace, at your own convenience. To be fair, most online learning platforms offer the same.
New Artist Model helps you create a strategy tailored to you and claims to help you save thousands of dollars you might otherwise spend on a music degree.
Of course, realistically, a music degree would only help you learn aspects of your instrument, singing, sight reading, songwriting, composing, or other technical skills. Business and marketing skills (which is what you get access to on New Artist Model) are rarely touched on or are only touched on briefly in most college and university programs.
And school tuition would likely be many multiples the cost of the online courses offered at New Artist Model (or elsewhere, for that matter), where you can learn the modern strategies, techniques, and platforms that allow you to grow your music career, including social media, building a team, creating multiple revenue streams, copyright law, crowdfunding and others forms of funding, and so on.
The New Artist Model Blog
The blog is updated monthly with posts related to the problems New Artist Model solves as well as topics independent musicians are most likely to be interested in.
Some of the recent posts include working musician’s guide to coronavirus, how to book festival gigs, how to get corporate clients for your home studio, how to license your music, how to grow your fan base, musician’s guide to Instagram, and so on.
Kusek’s writing appears regularly on other popular independent music blogs including Disc Makers, DIY Musician Blog, Sonicbids and elsewhere too.
Practicing Success In Music
Practicing Success in Music is the free course offered at New Artist Model.
Musicians typically have some preconceived ideas around what success looks like in the music business (e.g. getting streamed millions of times, performing to thousands of people every night, getting their songs on popular TV shows and films, etc.).
While these ideas aren’t “bad”, they may not be an accurate representation of what independent success can or will look like.
Practicing Success in Music helps you identify the opportunities available to you now, and gives you the mental models necessary for solving problems whenever you encounter challenges in your music career (it’s a given that there will be some bumps on that road).
New Artist Model rightly suggests that while musicians may know a thing or two about playing their instrument (and in some cases might even have a master’s degree in it), they don’t actively practice the business side of music.
Of course, for many, the business side of music can come across as boring, overwhelming, intimidating, or otherwise, which leads to neglect and avoidance. This is often the difference between someone who’s making ongoing progress in their career, and someone who’s still struggling.
New Artist Model suggests that gaining an understanding in the following areas is foundational to your independent success:
- An understanding of the revenue streams and opportunities available to you
- Your identity, brand, and goals – specifically what you want to accomplish in music
- Productivity – determining what’s important now and dropping the things that aren’t
- Getting into the action habit – taking proactive steps towards your goals and dreams
- Creating opportunities for yourself using the assets you’ve already got
Practicing Success in Music is a 21-day program that creates the foundation and mindset you need to develop to become a successful, self-driven, self-promoting and self-guided musician.
If you aren’t sure whether the New Artist Model courses are for you, what form they will take, whether the instructor is a good fit or otherwise, this is a good risk-free place to start. You can sign up for the course for free.
New Artist Model Courses – What’s Available?
Dave Kusek has several courses available, and we will be looking at each. It should be noted, however, that in this review, we’ll only be scratching the surface, as we’ll be taking a closer look at what’s available inside in the future. Stay tuned.
Here’s an overview of the courses offered at New Artist Model:
Music Business Accelerator
Not every musician knows they should be upgrading their business skills. But many times, musicians don’t fail for talent, but rather for the skills they’ve overlooked, haven’t developed, and haven’t intentionally focused on.
Music Business Accelerator gives you access to a strategy to guide your music career. It also equips you with music marketing strategies to help you build, nurture, and impact your fan base.
This program emphasizes the fact that you need to be a self-starter. There’s a good chance there’s no one trying to find you or “discover you” (I like to call this the “savior syndrome”). The “new artist model” relies on you being at the forefront of your musical endeavors and being the captain of your own destiny.
Here are some of the things this course helps you accomplish:
- Get more gigs
- Grow your fan base
- Build your team (manager, record label, publishing deal, booking agent, etc.)
- Get more done
The specific modules included are:
- Dream and goal setting
- Team building
- Booking gigs
- Promoting gigs and merch
- Post production and distribution
- Publishing and licensing
- Social media
- Music promotion
- Finance and budgeting
Templates and checklists are also included as part of the course.
The Music Business Accelerator costs $497.
Elite Music Business Training
The Elite Music Business Training has been built with those who are serious about wanting to make a full-time living from their music in mind.
It’s been designed as a comprehensive program in the music business, and it touches on everything from career planning and promoting your music to music production and generating recurring revenue.
From what we can see, however, Elite Music Business Training is essentially a repackaging of every course Dave Kusek has available (Music Business Accelerator, Get Your Music Licensed, Music Business Guide to Success, The Lucrative Home Studio – see each section in this guide for more details on what these courses help you accomplish).
But in addition to all the courses mentioned above, Elite Music Business Training also gives you access to:
- Master class archive, webinar and clinic series
- Jumpstart guidebook
- Exclusive indie artist network (more on this in a moment)
- Musician resource database
- Musician business plan
Elite Music Career Training costs $1,995.
New Artist Model notes only a handful of students are accepted into the program each year. Refer to the website for additional details.
Get Your Music Licensed
In the last 15 to 30 years, music licensing opportunities have shot through the roof. Today, there is more visual content being created than ever (whether it’s commercials, TV shows, movies, YouTube videos, video games, or otherwise), and most if not all of it needs music.
These opportunities aren’t just for signed artists as some musicians believe. Even experts say it’s a level playing field for all artists.
While a few placements here and there might not do much, getting your music on popular commercials or TV shows can help you earn a full-time living and beyond. The notion of a six-figure independent musician isn’t unrealistic and is often painted with music licensing as a core strategy.
This course includes 24 music licensing video lessons on how to find music licensing opportunities, how to make sure your tracks show at the top of search results, how to make more music, how to license your music for commercial use, how to build a professional presence for your music, and more.
You also get access to 100+ music licensing leads (music libraries, music supervisors, publishers), as well as checklists, tips and tricks, and inspiration. The bonuses include a productivity toolbox, private Facebook group, and music licensing guide.
Get Your Music Licensed costs $497.
Music Business Guide to Success
Created with independent artists, songwriters, and producers in mind, Music Business Guide to Success is a video training derived from a live presentation originally given in Nashville.
The eight-hour plus training gives musicians an inside look into the new music business – including how to get the attention of music publishers and record labels, music licensing, music production, fan funding, list building, songwriting tips, making money from Spotify and the like.
The basic components of the training are as follows:
- How to get your music placed in film/TV
- How to produce songs that chart
- Fan engagement and growth
- Fan funding and superfans
- Visualizing your success
- Networking and social media
- What labels and publishers are looking for
- Make money with Spotify and streaming
- See how to make it in the new music business
- Music business guide to success videos
Music Business Guide to Success costs $97.
The Lucrative Home Studio
The Lucrative Home Studio is an online music production course taught by award-winning producer Gary Gray. This course teaches you how to achieve a pro level setup at home (on a budget), how to mix and master your own music, how to get better clients for your studio, and more.
The course gives you access to eight modules and over 50 video lessons. Gray shows you his process for music production and how he’s been able to attract high quality clients.
The modules are as follows:
- The big picture (breaking through myths that hold you back)
- Your top two priorities
- How to effectively create great recordings in your home studio
- How to master a song (yes, you can do it)
- Music production ear training (upgrade your ear, not your gear)
- How to set up and operate your lucrative home studio
- If you already have a home studio but it’s sputtering and limping
- How to operate a lucrative home studio servicing happy clients
The Lucrative Home Studio is available in two packages.
The self-paced version costs $497, while the coaching version costs $997.
The self-paced version comes with 50 video lessons, 10 Ear Upgrade Exercises, Indie Artist Networking Group, and all bonuses.
The coaching version comes with all the above plus six exclusive mentoring sessions and personalized advice from Gary Gray. This would be a good option for those who feel they could benefit from hands-on coaching.
Indie Artist Network
The Indie Artist Network isn’t a course per se. But it comes bundled with some of the programs already mentioned, and is also available as a standalone product, so we thought we would touch on it briefly.
The Indie Artist Network is an online community made up of musicians, songwriters, producers, managers, and other music industry professionals. It also gives you access to the Musician’s Resource Library (an extensive list of music business products and services), exclusive music industry webinars, music business lessons, eBooks and PDFs, and priority access to events.
In terms of music business lessons, you get:
- Building the foundation of your career
- Developing a team around your music
- Protecting and understanding copyright
- How to make money in the music industry
- Do you really need a record label deal?
- Unlocking your music publishing potential
- Maximizing the potential of your gigs
The Indie Artist Network community is available at $29 per month.
Who Teaches The Courses?
In this section, we’ll offer a brief overview of the course instructors at New Artist Model.
We’ve touched briefly on Dave Kusek already. He’s the founder, director, and face of New Artist Model. His writing regularly appears across the most popular independent music blogs online like DIY Musician Blog, Sonicbids, Disc Makers, and others.
Kusek co-wrote The Future of Music: Manifesto for the Digital Music Revolution along with Gerd Leonhard. He’s also the author of Hack the Music Business: Build Your Own Career.
Through his various efforts, as an author and teacher, he has taught music business and music management to tens of thousands of musicians globally.
Kusek was also the founder and former CEO of Berklee Online. Berklee College of Music won the award for Best Online Course for eight consecutive years. Kusek taught at Berklee for 14 years.
In the 80s and 90s, he was the CEO of Passport Designs, a digital music and music software developer.
Kusek’s experience in the music industry is wide, varied, and extensive.
Joyce Kettering teaches the Get Your Music Licensed course.
Since 2016, Kettering has produced over 150 songs, most of which she's successfully placed in a music library. She quit her job in finance and contract compliance at a Fortune 500 company to pursue music, and has helped hundreds of independent musicians write and place their music.
As noted earlier, Gary Gray is the instructor of The Lucrative Home Studio course at New Artist Model.
Gray is an award-winning composer, music producers, and audio engineer. He’s worked with some high-profile clients like Century Fox, Disney, Hollywood Records, and others. Amazingly, he does all this in a home studio that cost him less than $2,000 to set up.
Gray is a highly accomplished drummer, and his first job in music was playing drums for Berry Gordy at the infamous Motown Records. He was mentored by the likes of Phil Ramone, Quincy Jones, and Phil Collins. He’s also been a music teacher since he was 16.
New Artist Model Review – Final Thoughts
Was there ever a “golden era” in music? This is a hotly debated topic.
Some musicians feel this era is long gone as it’s reflective of a time when development deals were still available. Labels don’t sign developing artists anymore. They only sign artists with the right image, brand, and skills.
But most “in the know” experts seem to feel there has never been a better time to be an independent artist.
With unparalleled access to the internet, social media, smartphones and more, reaching a global audience is within reach for virtually anyone (though it does require dedication and effort).
No surprise, then, that while record labels still rely heavily on traditional media to promote their artists and their music, there’s a “new artist model” emerging.
While not for everyone, if you like David Kusek's style of teaching one of his courses may be for you. While I haven't found his community to be as active as one like in the Online Musician 3.0 course from the Savvy Musician Academy, if this isn't a big draw for you it's an alternative you may want to look at.
That wraps up our New Artist Model review, I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve taken one of their courses.