Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Artists at the Helm of Their Careers, Doubling as Businesspeople

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Artists at the Helm of Their Careers, Doubling as Businesspeople

Article excerpt

Canadian artists double as businesspeople


HALIFAX - With his extravagant wiry beard, thick black-rimmed glasses and a mop of unruly hair, Ben Caplan doesn't look like a typical businessman.

But the Halifax-based musician is one of many Canadian artists who are at the helm of their careers, handling the business side of their music.

It's a rising trend in the music industry, said Caplan.

"If you want to make a living as a musician, particularly as a songwriter, I think you have to have some entrepreneurial sensibility," the folk singer-songwriter said in a recent interview, sipping black coffee from a white ceramic mug at a bustling north-end Halifax cafe.

"You've got to be able to treat it like running a business and to think about it like running a business because essentially that's what it is. You are a small business owner and you are an entrepreneur."

Caplan said he has a support team that includes a personal assistant and a manager, but he's ultimately in sole command of his career. He has helped develop his concert posters and marketed his gigs on social media.

"There is almost no way at all... to just go from nothing to making a living in music. There's this period of needing to invest in your own business," said Caplan in a baritone voice, his long frizzy hair pulled back into a ponytail.

"There aren't labels handing out money to people on experiments. Those days are gone."

Even Juno Award-winning artists are jumping ship from major labels to take full control of their careers.

Toronto R&B artist Jully Black, who left Universal Music several years ago, said self-represented artists are not a trend but "evolution."

"Trends come and go. This trend isn't going anywhere," said Black in a recent phone interview from Toronto. "It's change and it's transformation... Part of it is revolution."

Black said she left the label in part because she wanted to have control of her creative expression. …

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