Artist Business Plan
Mark Coghlan Productions
Box 37 Lions Bay B.C. V0N2E0
Contact: Mark Coghlan
This agreement is to acknowledge that the information provided by Mark Coghlan Productions in this business plan is unique to this business and confidential; therefore, anyone reading this plan agrees not to disclose any of the information in this business plan without the express written permission of Mark Coghlan.
It is also acknowledged by the reader of this business plan that the information furnished in this business plan, other than information that is in the public domain, may cause serious harm or damage to Mark Coghlan Productions and will be kept in the strictest confidence.
Upon request, this document is to be immediately returned to Mark Coghlan Productions.
Name (typed or printed) ____________________________
This is the business plan for Mark Coghlan Productions. The presentation of this business plan does not imply an offering of securities.
Table Of Contents:
One. Executive Summary
Three. Mission Statement
Four. Vision Statement
Five. Band/Artist Bio. History and Functions
Six. Other Key Players
Seven. Your Audience
Eight. Graphics and Branding
Nine. Recording Project
Ten. Press Kit
Eleven. Additional Merchandising
Twelve. Pre-Release Promotions
Thirteen. CD Release Party
Fourteen. Touring Plans
Fifteen. Media Strategy
Sixteen. Fan Base Development
Seventeen. Web Site Technology
Eighteen. Distribution/Retail Strategy
Nineteen. Special Events
Twenty. Partnerships with Other Artists
Twenty-one. Video Productions
Twenty-three. Additional Revenue
Twenty-four. Sponsors and Investors
One: Executive Summary
Mark Coghlan is busy.
A while back he made a decision to create a project based around the music that he, and his band, “By-Law 283” were playing live, as well as writing.
This was not an easy task.
His time in the music industry spans three decades, and a vast catalogue of possibilities had to be paired down to a few songs. Through the course of a year, at several performances and practices Mark carefully judged the best responses of the audience and arrived at a list of twelve he is confident in.
This project is the culmination of that process.
With a look over his shoulder to where he’s come from and a leap ahead toward what he will be, Mark embarks on his first solo offering. Twelve songs fully mastered, pressed and promoted. A tour in a year’s time, and a learning experience of the entire process to create a business on the other side.
The process has already begun:
- An application for grant funding already in the mill.
- Another on deck.
- A business created for the sole purpose of representing artists, with a focus on live performances.
- A year in school to learn the more arcane knowledge of the industry.
- A start in the studio, with the raw scratch tracks for the artists recorded
- A confirmed line-up of artists wanting to work on the project, some with successful careers of their own.
This process will take two years. Roughly three quarters of a year for the recording process, and the rest for brand development, promotion and touring. The outcome of which will lead to… modest goals. It’s never been Mark’s desire to become the next pop icon. The success of this project can be judged by something far more homespun. All Mark wants to achieve is a benchmark of sorts.
Recognition of a lifetime of dedication towards music by achieving simple enough milestones like:
- Radio play,
- Name familiarity on a local scale and
- Financial re-imbursement.
And there is a lot of give on that last one.
Welcome to the business plan for Adult Contemporary music artist Mark Coghlan. Expectations run high for the next two years as he begins the process of recording and promoting his freshman project.
Following on the heels of an intense year of study in the field of Audio Engineering, he is eager to bring his unique brand of radio friendly songs to airwaves and live venues alike.
Three: Mission Statement
Mark Coghlan is dedicated to creating soulful, heartfelt and honest music. Pushing the edge of the modern rock style, he seeks for innovation in poetry and sound. Weaving songs that dare the listener to look ahead, yet giving them roots grounded in the hits of yesteryear.
Four: Vision Statement
At the end of the summer, 2012 Mark Coghlan will be finalizing his latest project. Twelve songs fully mastered. After this, his two-year plan is to dedicate himself to the pursuit of obtaining representation, aligning himself with a publicist and promoting the project. His focus is to push towards radio play, touring and at least one showcase event.
Five: Band/Artist Bio
Mark Coghlan is a singer/songwriter living in Lions Bay B.C.
Since his youth in the city of Thunder Bay, music has been with him. Taking his cue from pop icons of the seventies and eighties, he’s worked to hone his natural ability for writing and performing. His aptitude towards word-craft and pop song structure enables him to create soulful, radio-friendly songs that encourage thoughtful introspection… as well as the desire to get up and dance.
Relying on raw emotion and musical fearlessness, Mark dares the listener to pay attention. He offers the chance to be part of the story, challenging the conventions of music each step of the way.
“ I believe a song doesn’t have to be complicated to be good. Just as I believe if the listener knows the outcome too soon you’ve lost them… As long as you spin a tale that holds them until the last strum of the guitar, so long you’ll have a satisfied customer.”
His current project pulls the listener from the desolation of small town Canada to the very edge of the river Styx. His musical journey stops only to wax on the push and pull of life, love, happiness and sorrow.
For the past two decades, Mark has lived on the rustic coasts of British Columbia.
A wondrous, musical place of inspiration.
It could be said that this land has played a major role in Mark’s life and development.
“Mountains defiant of conquest, whispering sagas of long ago…”
“Oceans conjuring up swells of emotion and fluidity, with storms of passion and rocky intrigue…”
Mark is just finishing up a year of intensive study in audio engineering at Pacific Audio Visual Institute in Vancouver. With newfound skills, matched with time earned ones he looks towards the future.
One full of promise and challenge, wonder, music and life.
Six: Other Key Players
No man is an island, and whenever he can, Mark plans to draw deep from the well of local artists, leaning when he can on the shoulders of new talent, as well as established local heavyweights. This is the beginning of an “all levels” start to his career. Mark plans to learn the ropes of production by representing and promoting himself during the first two years. Besides his band of many years, “By-Law 283” some of the people in his corner are local musicians:
- Frank Sehr, (http://composersforum.ning.com/profile/franxon )
- Karen Fowlie, (http://www.myspace.com/karenfowlie )
- Donna Newsom, (http://donnanewsom.ca/ )
- Clayton Hill, (http://www.trooper.com/index.php?page=claytonhill ) and
- Rick Hopkins, (http://www.opuszero.ca/ )
His technical team is mostly comprised of newly developed partnerships at Pacific Audio Visual Institute, with the added support of several well-known local producers and engineers.
Seven: Potential Audience
Canada is an interesting market. It has large numbers in terms of younger people and online buying, however it also has large numbers, relatively speaking, in terms of older adults and physical unit sales.
Due to a desire to tap a fertile market, and to be in line with his personal creative output, Mark is focusing on the “Adult Contemporary” genre.
A breakdown of the business specific reasoning follows.
According to a 2010 Wolfram Alpha study entitled “Canada Information”, the average Canadian is 15 to 64 years of age with a slight numerical increase in males:
Canadians by Age:
The median age of all Canadians is 40.4 years,
(Male median: 39.3 years, Female median: 41.5 years derived from the same study)
And whereas a dis-proportional number of actual product buyers,
(Overall, including DVD and Internet download sales)
Sits in the lower half of this grouping, a 2008 Socan study entitled “The Canadian Music Industry 2008 Economic Profile”
(Latest available published without membership)
“77% of Canadians purchased at least one music compact disk (highest among middle-aged Canadians) and 40% purchased a music DVD (highest among teenagers). Thirteen percent of Internet users bought a digital album in 2008, with a 40% frequency among users 15-19. Approximately one-fourth of total digital track and album sales were from Canadian artists. “
Meaning the focus here is to tap into the 77% at a target point set by the median, with a product stream lined for middle age Canadian consumption.
Looking at a chart based on:
“The Nielsen Company & Billboard’s 2010 Music Industry Report”, (sub-section “2010 TOP TEN SELLING ARTISTS – Based on Album sales from 1/04/2010-1/02/2011”)
One can see that popular artists typically in both the Country and Adult Contemporary genres are well represented by unit sold numbers.
Given that these are genres favored by people in and around the target median, a trend pointing towards robust sales going forward can then be interpreted.
In addition to this, new market projections from an overwhelming amount of studies and polls, (including ones from Socan, Wolfram Alpha and the Canadian federal government to name only three) promise a near future with more Internet savvy middle age Canadians.
A good example of this can be seen in a study by Ipsos Public Affairs, and commissioned by Associated Press and Rolling Stone entitled:
“% of US Adult Music Listeners toward a 99-cent Price per Digital Download of a Song, January 2006 (% of respondents) – Too Expensive”
In witch the following numbers from the same basic median, (albeit in America) were derived:
19% say Too Expensive, 52% say it’s a Fair Price, 19% say it’s a Bargain, 10% say they are Not Sure.
All of this leading one to conclude with favorable assumptions if using this model in terms of:
Eight: Graphics and Branding
It can easily be said that to stand out in a crowd, one must do something radical, but too much of a good thing can also work against you, so not too radical. Mark wishes to tap into modern street culture to appeal to the perception of youth in his target market. Yet not so in depth as to be mistaken for Hip Hop, Rap or any other modern genre that doesn’t represent his style or focus. To do this he’s decided to tap into the graffiti sub-genre known as “Stenciling” for the bulk of his imagery.
Leaders in this field include:
“Posterchild”, (Canada, best known for his creation “Mario Blocks” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posterchild_(street_artist )
Shepard Fairey, ( America, best known for “Obey” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shepard_Fairey )
And his personal favorite…
“Banksey”, ( United Kingdom, with too many famous images to count. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banksy )
So a typical C.D. Cover might look like this:
With the back possibly looking like:
And a typical poster looking like:
It is the intent that this will be provocative enough to pique curiosity, yet not be too unapproachable as to alienate the target audience.
It also needs to be noted that in contrast to the rise of this sub-genre as bespoken in documentaries such as
“ Exit Through the Gift Shop”, (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1587707/)
No major band has fully tapped into this imagery, (as of this writing).
Nine: Recording Project
Step one in the two-year process is the recording of his first project.
Usually at this point one focuses on the alignment with studio and producer/engineer. Mark however is lucky. In his current situation he is living in the same community as a preexisting “Professional” studio, as well as building another studio of his own.
Having spent the last year immersed in the technical aspects of sound recording he is confident that in addition to himself, the rich collection of audio professionals he has come to know and work with can easily handle the recording process.
Two key points Mark is fortunate to start with are:
Working in his own studio
Working without the pressure of time=money
There is no real need to focus or indeed pay for a condensed recording schedule; however having some confines to work within can be advantageous.
The plan is to work on all songs at the same time, shifting between the various recordings of instruments and vocals as musician schedules warrant.
The end goal then becomes:
There will be twelve songs in all, with all created and edited as of this writing. To hear the raw recordings of the first seven (designed for future musicians to use as scratch tracks), please visit Mark’s E.P.K. listed in chapter seventeen of this business plan, or visit him elsewhere on line at, (http://soundcloud.com/markcoghlan13) .
He has also applied for a F.A.C.T.O.R. demo grant. One of the songs is to be gifted for possible use by the Canadian Cancer Society, and the demo is to serve as a recording with quality enough to give to them for whatever use, if any, the deem worthy.
Ten: Press Kit
Mark’s press kit will comprise of the usual elements. Bio, branding, past press releases, genre-targeting, pictures etc. He is favoring the E.P.K. however as the online format allows for a host of new, innovative elements to convey and communicate passion, expertise and quality to potential booking agents etc.
Elements such as:
As he has finished a year in school at Pacific Audio Visual Institute, the kit will also highlight his qualifications in terms of audio recording. Mentioning his skills, but mostly just the addition of a link to another site dedicated to just that portion of his career.
Eleven: Additional Merchandising
This being his freshman outing, there obviously is no prior product to support; however Mark has worked with other artists before. Some of the projects have been big enough to warrant sales and physical units, and he will be promoting these products on tour and on official websites etc.
A late 2010 press release on the Canadian news outlets foretold of the impending demise of the CD. In the wake of this is a void of what to sell physically at concerts etc. Mark has connections in the import/export business and is looking into the possibility of having branded data sticks instead. The unit cost if done out of China can be under one Canadian dollar if bought in sufficient quantities, and this is an area he will be exploring in 2013 when the dust settles from the CD announcement and when interest over his project starts to ramp up.
Twelve: Pre-Release Promotions
Social media is a wonderful tool, and not only for the social aspects of communication. Mark plans on having pod-casts of the recording process as a means of promotion and introduction, as well as a way for any online individual to experience the process of recording. There would be no charge for this, but the site to access the feed would be with ads.
In addition, Mark plans to begin a local touring schedule in the spring of 2012, and will then begin the process of contacting media. First with local weekly papers on the Vancouver North Shore then local music blogs, and then moving up from there.
Thirteen: CD Release Party
In the late spring of 2010, Mark with his band By-Law 283 played at a fundraiser for the Dyslexic Society of B.C., (http://www.dyslexiacanada.com/)
At the West Vancouver Rec. Center. This was fortuitous for three reasons.
Firstly, it was an opportunity to be connected to a successful event that garnered an invitation back.
Secondly, it was centered in a pocket of music fans of an age demographic usually associated with his target music genre,
And third, it provided a networking opportunity for future bookings of that space.
He would choose to host a release party there.
This actually would be better as an event than a release. A venue such as this would be suited to a couple of artists or a fundraiser.
Which could be doubly advantageous.
It allows for an opportunity to work through the process of setting up a fundraiser as well as piggybacking a worthy cause to bolster brand recognition. West Vancouver elite have deep pockets, and think nothing of a few dollars spent frivolously on a musical act they enjoy. The real challenge is getting them out to an event, as they are not of a demographic that frequents bars etc. with any potential money generation numbers.
Fourteen: Touring Plans
This one is tricky.
Mark is at the beginning of this project. He is personally doing the recording, mixing, organization and promotion and it will be at least three quarters of a year before he is ready to even consider being on a tour.
Beginnings are small.
There is a time for every purpose.
His plan is to start locally and build a name here. Local reputation will lead to local press. This in turn will lead to non-local press which then leads to touring.
One way or another, no booking agent from… Winnipeg say, will look at him twice if he doesn’t have press to back him up for when he approaches them.
This all being said, having a goal to shoot for here would absolutely be essential for keeping on track.
To this end, Mark has made connections to The Vancouver Island Musicfest in the Courtney Comox Valley, (http://www.islandmusicfest.com/) and will be approaching the promoters as soon as he has product to put in their hands.
Fifteen: Media Strategy
As with the previous section on Touring, there really is no way to forge into this with any earnestness without content. Given that there is some in place, Mark plans to start with local T.V.
Aligning oneself with a morning show, such as the
“Global Morning Show”, (http://www.globaltvbc.com/morningnews/index.html)
Or public broadcast show such as
“Urban Rush”, (http://www.shaw.ca/ShawTV/Vancouver/UrbanRush/)
Would be the focus, the premise centered on the newly finished recording to be promoted.
Mark co-wrote and sang a song called “Wag the Dog” on a project by local artists Opus Zero, (http://www.opuszero.ca/). This song was in turn featured in their radio interviews. Mark plans on using his connections through that band to introduce himself to those same markets, which locally, are primarily those on Vancouver Island.
Sixteen: Fan Base Development
I would imagine that this was much more difficult in years past. Mark plans on relying on the Internet and social media in particular for this end. At the hub is his ReverbNation page, (see: section seventeen) which is a site for musicians with one of its cornerstones being the development of this very subject. Along this same line, Mark has structured all of his sites to connect together to create a web-ring of sorts. The idea being that it matters not where one begins, but that with a keystroke any site could be visited. So if one wishes to join a street team, leave a message, find a performance schedule, vote in a survey, watch a pod-cast, read a blog, or simply listen to a recording of Mark’s latest offering, no particular starting point is required.
Seventeen: Web Site Technology
The following platforms will be in use, or are already in use,
Eighteen: Distribution/Retail Strategy
As it is in several sections before, there is a roadblock here. Gaining a distribution relationship is impossible without product of some kind in hand. So to start listing deals with distributors at this juncture would be premature to say the least.
Suffice it to say that after the initial recording process is complete, the focus will be as follows:
That isn’t to say that product won’t be available right away.
One of the first steps at the latter part of the recording process (or before) is the creation of the online portion. Sites such as ReverbNation currently up and running have the potential for holding a sales area, and other sites such as BandCamp, (http://bandcamp.com/) will be utilized for this very purpose. The only reservation at this juncture is that without real product to offer, there is no advantage to paying the extra costs to the websites for hosting this extra content structure.
In addition to this, Mark is looking into the viability of selling data sticks as mentioned before, and if all goes according to plan, a “buying cartel” structure, (as in the case of online shopping) where a target of interest and credit card commitment must be met,
At which point a pressing of CDs, Vinyl, T-shirts, posters etc. can begin.
Nineteen: Special Events
Special Events and their causes really motivate Mark. The twisted finger of disease has touched his life several times in the past, and the need for fundraisers and the like are close to his heart. The two causes he is currently focused on are
The Canadian Cancer Society
And the Dyslexic Society of B.C.
As previously mentioned, he has a song written and waiting for funding in regards to the Canadian Cancer Society, and he has a standing relationship with the Dyslexic Society of B.C. where his Band By-Law 283 provided entertainment for their latest “Casino Night” fundraiser, prompting Sue Hall of the board of directors to gush in a follow-up newsletter with quotes such as:
“The By-Law 283 band not only volunteering their fabulous music and performance, but renting (sic) Vegas jackets, to totally look the part”
Beyond these connections, Mark has given his time and talent to the Kidney Foundation of Canada, The Village of Lions Bay and numerous other causes and charities.
Twenty: Partnership with Other Artists
Mark is fortunate to be able to work with an eclectic mix of talented artists, some of which have already been mentioned in part six and part fifteen. Currently he has worked on projects by several others, and has enjoyed touring and radio presence due to these connections. His most notable with the musical project “Snowing in the Desert” by local artists Opus Zero, (http://www.opuszero.ca/) where he was fortunate enough to work with the likes of blues guitarist David Gogo, (http://www.davidgogo.com/)
And Session Piano player Rick Hopkins,
(Colin James, Three Doors Down, Melissa Ethridge, Keith Richards, ZZ Top, Robert Plant, Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughn, BB King, Los Lobos and Steve Winwood to name a few)
Going forward he plans to continue these relationships as well as explore new opportunities for co-tours and collaborative musical projects.
Twenty-one: Video Productions
As of this writing there is no plans for a video in the traditional sense. There is however inroads into video content to make use of new technologies pertaining to the Internet. As previously mentioned, Mark plans to have live podcasts of the recording process, and is in talks with Internet content innovators Concentric, (http://www.concentricis.com/) to create forward thinking product such as the genre creating single by Canadian Indie band Arcade Fire entitled “The Wilderness Downtown” (http://thewildernessdowntown.com/)
Mark is a singer/songwriter first and foremost, and all content mentioned in this business plan is original material. He has written for and with others before, but as of this writing there are no plans to sell from his catalogue of approximately 100 finished pieces.
In terms of publishing, Mark will be taking on the mantle of all responsibilities surrounding this, as well as production and promotion.
Twenty-three: Additional Revenue
This is a beginning for Mark on a couple of different fronts. As with a foray into the performance side of the business, he is also planning on pushing into the fields of:
Event Co-ordination – He is in the early stages of aligning with existing shows such as World Kindness Concert, (http://www.worldkindnessconcert.com/)
Artist Representation – He is currently in talks with local hardcore indie rock band Wrecking Crew, (http://www.myspace.com/wreckincrew)
Both of which promise no additional revenues at first, but speak of dividends going forward.
Twenty-four: Sponsors and Investors
As of this writing, there are no additional sponsors; however there currently is a grant application in to F.A.C.T.O.R. for a demo. Applications for recording, and then touring are soon behind.
Mark is a seasoned performer.
No matter what happens, he always takes a moment just before he performs to cut through the fog of uncertainty and doubt, and steel himself with a sense of… Focus.
Focus only known by those who’ve earned it through time in the trenches of countless bars and recording studios. He has earned his understanding of pop music from gauging audiences personally, and has many experiences, good and bad, in regards to his personal works. This recording project is the culmination of many years of experiences, and is not bound by the pressures of finance or success. It is instead a celebration. Of the joy that music brings, and the imagery that poetry conjures.
Mark has been in and around this music industry his entire life. He lives and breathes it with wisdom from seeing change in its face over three decades. This past year has been the latest cog in the machine that runs his desire towards legacy, and he pushes with fiery determination to create this legacy here and now.
His words are common truth.
His imagery is of life.
His story has been long,
But his journey has just begun…
Recording, (2mo. Approx.)
- Musicians/Engineers, (7 people) 17,600
- Various Costs (gas, food, etc.) 3,500
- Studio rental (+equipment +extras) 5,800
- Mastering 1,200
- Pressing, (CD’s, artwork)@ 1000 units 3,000
- Business, (legal, documents) 1,000
Recording Process Total 32,100
- Print Ads 2,000
- Web Placements 300
- Free Product to Gatekeepers and Radio 2,000
- CD release party 500
- Postering, Merchandise 1,000
Promotion Total 5,800
Demo, (2weeks approx.)
- Various Costs (gas, food, etc.) 500
- Studio rental (+equipment +extras) 1,200
- Musicians/Engineers 4,400
- Mastering 300
- Pressing (CD’s, artwork)@ 250 units 700
Demo Total 7,100
Tour, (1mo. Approx.)
- Musicians, (6 people) 12,000
- Equipment, (vehicle, equipment rentals) 3,500
- Gas 2,000
- Cost of living, (Food/Drink, Lodging) 15,000
Tour Total 32,500