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Welcome to the Visiting Artists section of WildesArt. This is a gathering place of artists, songwriters, musicians, prose writers, and poets, who are creating for the love of creating and touching lives. I am a curious sort of person, so I always wonder what makes such talented folks who they are. What experiences and beliefs have led them to what they are doing at this point in time?
February 3, 2016: Art is Business is Art…My Conversation with Scott Page by Barbara Hengstenberg
I recently had the honor of speaking with Scott Page: musician, businessperson, technologist, mentor… When I walked out of my studio after our hour-long conversation, my head was spinning. This guy was putting into words all that I had been contemplating about the business of art and music. His knowledge of the art and music world is incredible. He’s been there. He’s created. He’s been part of the music scene. He’s a pioneer of multimedia and new music trends. He’s in the mix of it all now. And he has a lot to say.
“Learn to love business as much as your art. Business is art. Think about it this way, if you’re creating, you want people to enjoy it…and, at the same time, you want to be compensated for your work. Otherwise, it’s a hobby.”
We artists have an innate need to connect with people. That being said, the world of business for artists, whether a visual artist, writer, songwriter, or musician, has changed from the world of business as we knew it 20-30 years ago.
How can we, as artists, use the power of social media and technology to make those ever-important connections?
Early Days with Pink Floyd
Let’s start at the beginning. Many will recall Scott Page as the saxophone player for Pink Floyd, Supertramp, and Toto back in the 1980s. According to Scott, playing with Pink Floyd was a life-changing experience, “the smartest thing I ever did!” For two years in the mid-1980s, he toured and recorded with Pink Floyd…although at first, being a sax player with an interest in R&B, he wasn’t much aware of this high-profile band. He soon realized David Gilmour is a genius and that this tour was big-time when they needed to rehearse in an airport hangar. Laughing, Scott told me that he would spend downtime on the road, reading business books. He recalls David Gilmour chuckling as he asked, “What are you doing?” He told David of his plan to combine the skills of creating and building a business with art and entertainment. Seems he had a crystal ball…
Building Multi-Media Expertise
During a tour break, he started Walt Tucker Productions (the name of which was inspired by two people he admired: Walt Disney and car manufacturer, Preston Tucker). Through this company, Scott worked on projects with The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Janet Jackson, Garth Brooks, and many others.
It was also during this time that Scott started attending Comdex multi-media trade shows, hanging out in the cyber-punk scene, and collaborating with folks like Timothy Leary and Todd Rundgren. It was at Comdex that Scott met George Grayson (then-CEO of Micrografx), with whom he worked on various projects such as The Grand Scientific Musical Theater, presented at Comdex in Las Vegas. This led to the formation of 7th Level, a CD-ROM game and education software company which Scott and Grayson, along with former Pink Floyd producer Bob Ezran, formed in 1993. Through 7th Level, Scott produced Toonland, the first interactive cartoon, as well as the Monty Python series of games. Scott is proud of the fact that, at the time, he was listed in the 50 Pioneers of Multimedia.
Scott Page was soon becoming an expert in the field of combining technology, business, and entertainment. Graciously, he is sharing his expertise by mentoring artists on his weekly syndicated radio show, Business Rockstars . Scott is also reaching out to artists through his start-up music accelerator, Ignited Network.
Education = Power: Sharing the Knowledge
As our conversation got deep into the business of making art and music, I realized how much I, as an artist, have to learn. I also realized that many of my fellow artists and musicians would benefit greatly from the expertise of this fellow.
Knowing that education equals power, it’s time that we all became better educated in this business. Therefore, Scott generously suggested that he and I collaborate on bringing his expertise to followers of WildesArt. We will be creating a series that will help all artists to stay on top of current technology that can assist in building our communities by marketing our works to fans/customers who truly care about what we are creating. According to Scott, the time has come for the rise of the artist middle class: the indie artists.
In the future, we will be sharing Scott’s ideas about using his methodology of S.P.A.C.E. to turn fans into customers. His S.P.A.C.E. (Story, Plan, Army, Conversion, Education) concept is a way to build relationships and look at how to convert fans into paying customers in an independent artist-owned sustainable business. “It’s really a direct-to-consumer business model.”
We all have the ability to market our craft at our fingertips. How can we harness the power of social media and technology to do so?
Since he has been such a pioneer in the technology of art, I was curious about what he sees in store for us over the next ten years. Currently, Scott is on the marketing team for the HyperLoop, the rapid transit transportation system initiated by Elon Musk.
“In the future, people’s bosses will be apps. Just look at Uber! This is the most disruptive time in history, with all the technology that is available. The new marketing model is really about micro-niches and building your own tribe/fan base/customer base.”
Indeed, it is time we put this technology to use and take the reigns of our own businesses of art and music. Keep posted for our series on S.P.A.C.E., as we break down the world of this creative business so that it’s not quite so heavy. As always, I will welcome your comments and questions, and I’m looking forward to sharing all that I learn from Scott Page. I hope you will help to spread the word and help us to build our community.