21681 logo
  • 21681 logo
  • 21675 new artist model logo 01
  • 21674 logo transparent
Loading twitter feed


Dave Kusek is a consultant, entrepreneur, digital music pioneer, author, speaker, educator and Artist Development Manager at New Artist Model. Dave was Vice President at Berklee College of Music in Boston for 14 years, where he created Berklee Online, the world’s largest music school reaching over 30,000 students in 170 ...

+ Show More


Samantha Brickler

The Musician's Business Plan Prepares Artist to be CEO

Artists from around the planet are pouring into the digital mosh pit of music monetization. Dave Kusek, the mastermind of New Artist Model, is preparing the next generation of artists for the melee. He created his straight-shooting online music business school for the indie artist passionate about building her knowledge, skills, audience, and bank. One of the program’s shining elements is the Musician’s Business Plan.

While “top ten tips” or quick-start tutorials abound for the musician aspiring to make a living, New Artist Model’s comprehensive courses prepare each artist to pursue individualized goals. As the student works through either the Essential Program or the Master Program, the Musician’s Business Plan directs the courses’ elements into a tailor-made Career Map. In an era of distraction and confusion about the best platforms and channels, this Plan keeps artists’ eyes on the prize.

The Musician’s Business Plan is like both a syllabus and a final exam, except more invigorating and supportive to the artist. “Even when a musician gets a music degree, she rarely walks away with something as clear and organized as the Plan,” notes Kusek, who works one-on-one with each Master Class student to develop her Plan. “It’s a central component that helps the artist think creatively in ways she may not have thought before.”

Kusek understands what music business courses lack, thanks to his extensive experience. Formerly of Berklee College of Music and the founder of Berklee Online, he left the college to address the opportunities for creative musicians to develop their own careers. He created New Artist Model to be more practical than a degree, with less expense and time commitment. Courses cover how to build your message, brand, budget, marketing plan, team, business structure, online presence, and multiple revenue streams—all critical to a musician’s career.

The Career Map is a template outlining the musician’s strategy, personal goals and business targets. It incorporates a timeline and financial projections so that artists can better manage the reality of being a musician today. It’s a living tool that the musician/CEO continuously uses to examine results. And it helps raise money—often the task students find most taxing—literally.

“Musicians don’t naturally tend to quantify things and consider long-term budgets,” notes Kusek, who founded several successful music-related startups. His Musician’s Business Plan teaches each student to “to find the intersection between what you enjoy doing, what you’re good at, and what other people tell you you’re good at. It makes you visualize what you want your career to look like, so you can figure out where to allocate resources.”

The Map also is vital in helping to rally the troops, says Kusek. “When you have to figure out something hard and search your soul and consider your definition of success, writing it down and committing to it can provide motivation to a lot of people.” The Plan articulates “what you’re trying to do and what you need help on,” he adds. “It’s important to know your strengths and weakness, so you can find the right people and fill in the gaps. My artists can share their Plan and train their team, so everyone knows where they’re going, and they can get feedback on things they didn’t think of.” 

“What Dave is doing for artists these days is crucial,” says indie-musician-friendly powerhouse CD Baby’s Vice President for Marketing Kevin Breuner. “The business gets more and more confusing and complex. CD Baby wants artists to see success with their music, and there’s a lot that an artist can learn from Dave and do to make better choices and understand what’s happening with their music.” Breuner’s webinar on creating revenue streams is one of the most popular webinars available for free on New Artist Model’s website.

Kusek cautions, “There are no labels or publishers that are going to scoop you up in the early stage of your career. You have to figure out a strategy yourself.” New Artist Model graduates who learn how to work with and grow their own Musician’s Business Plans, Kusek says, are “people willing and able to do the work—you can see them from space. They’re the ones who will be successful. They’ll try and try again. They are the ones to watch.”