All posts by MCC Admin

Vinyl Records Are Now Available At MCC

Vinyl Records Are Now Available At MCCDo you like listening to your music on vinyl? You’ll be glad to know that you can now browse records at MCC.

Whether you know it or not, vinyl sales have been seeing a steady climb since 2004, proving that this is more than just a passing trend. This is much closer to resurgence. According to Nielsen, Canadian LP sales were up by 40% in 2015 (Exclaim! Music).

The biggest growth of all – unsurprisingly – is in music streaming, but it’s interesting to see how both analog and digital formats remain relevant today.

Why Are Vinyl Records Making A Comeback?

One can only speculate. There are many good theories out there, but there isn’t necessarily hard evidence to suggest that any of them are 100% true.

Here are some possible reasons why there’s a returning interest in records:

  • They sound better than CDs. That is, of course, if the mastering was done properly. But for the most part, the warmth of analog beats out digital any day… well, it depends on who you ask.
  • For the experience. Once you put on a record, you’re kind of committed to listening all the way through – it’s a very different experience compared to listening to a CD or an MP3. Plus, you can look at the artwork, scan the liner notes, and learn more about the artist.
  • The artwork. Records come in large sleeves and often feature detailed artwork and liner notes that complement the music. You can still get a similar experience with a CD, but on a much smaller scale. Digital artwork can also offer a similar experience, but a lot of people tend not to bother with it.
  • Collectors. Some collect guitars. Others collect Dukes of Hazzard memorabilia. And still others collect LPs. Name a thing, and odds are there are people who like to amass large amounts of it.
  • You can touch a record. You can’t hold an MP3. Strange to say, but the tactile aspect of the experience can be quite pleasing.
  • For the social aspect of it. Some people like hosting house parties and getting together to listen to a record while playing a card game, board game, or while enjoying some other activity.
  • Nostalgia. Many people look back on yesteryear very fondly. They like to go back and experience things that were popular when they were a kid, a teenager, a young adult, and so on.
  • It’s counter-culture or hipster to own records. There may be some status reasons for the revival of LPs. Some people like records because no one else is using them (not so much the case anymore), while others just like to be on the bleeding edge of trends. Either way, it’s all about what’s cool now. Next year, it could be something else entirely.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of the reasons, vinyl records are back in a big way.

There’s no question that music can be enjoyed in a variety of different ways, and there has never been more choice. But if you want the full-meal-deal, the end-to-end experience, then a physical medium is going to give you more bang for your buck.

The convenience and immediacy of streaming is undeniable. But in terms of experience, it can’t compare to the total immersion that a record can offer.

The 3 Biggest Challenges of Running a Franchise Business

The 3 Biggest Challenges of Running a Franchise BusinessLooking to buy a franchise business?

Great – but if you don’t want to get blindsided, make sure to temper your enthusiasm with the potential challenges associated with running a franchise.

A lot of entrepreneurs buy franchises looking for guarantees, and while it might be a “safer” way to go, that doesn’t mean that you will succeed without effort.

Here are some of the biggest challenges of running a franchise.

1. False Expectations

No matter what business you choose to put your time, money and effort into, it’s important to recognize there are no hand-outs. If you want to succeed in business, you need to be committed to the task.

And yet, many budding entrepreneurs buy a franchise thinking it will be simple. In general, you will have considerable support from the franchisor – but that doesn’t mean that you can coast your way to a thriving enterprise.

Business is often messy, and even when you do succeed, things don’t always look neat and orderly.

Expectations have to be managed if you want to win in business. More often than not, you will need to persevere for longer periods of time before seeing any kind of traction.

2. Risk

No matter what business you get into, there is a certain amount of risk that comes along with it. A franchise business has a proven history of success, and while there might be less risk buying a franchise than starting other types of business, there’s no way to eliminate it altogether.

This often comes as a surprise to new franchisees. Franchise or not, there is always some instability in business. Getting started can be daunting, and you may need to lean on the support offered by the franchisor, especially in the first two to three years.

Remember to take some time upfront to assess the risks involved with buying a franchise. When you are aware of the possible pitfalls, you’ll be much better prepared to handle problems as they arise.

3. Lack of Creative Freedom

Franchises are established business models with a particular structure set in place. Systems, policies and procedures are what allow the business to be consistent from one store to another.

But the business infrastructure can undeniably get in the way of your creative ideas, whatever they may be. Following the plan is usually the safer route, and inserting your own ideas into the formula can make it go haywire.

Don’t be too surprised to discover that you won’t always be able to leverage your creative side in a franchise business model. Remember that systems were created for a reason, and that following them will enable you to get off to a running stat.

Final Thoughts

Buying a franchise is a great option for entrepreneurs, even for those that are still learning what it means to be a business owner.

But it’s better to be aware of the challenges and obstacles that come with running a business than to go into it without any frame of reference.

If buying a franchise in the creative music industry is something you’ve dreamed of, we want to invite you to learn more about Music Centre Canada’s franchising opportunities.

4 Tips for Franchise Success

4 Tips for Franchise SuccessNo matter what business you’re looking to get into, success isn’t easily achieved.

Franchise businesses require a lot of hard work, and they can also feel a little overwhelming.

But if you commit to doing the right things, you will see your business flourish.

Here are four tips for franchise success.

1. Find & Choose A Business That’s Right For You

Are you passionate about the business you’re looking to invest in? Do you have the skills and the experience to be able to run it successfully?

Don’t rush into buying a franchise you know nothing about. Take an inventory of your connections and resources. Consider what you’re good at. Find out if the franchisor provides ongoing support (a reputable company usually does).

Also take some time to find out what the business will require of you. Are you comfortable with the job description? Would you be bored doing what you have to do, or would you be up for new challenges? This should have some bearing on what business you choose to buy.

2. Create A Plan

Every business should have a plan. It may seem obvious, but the reality is that many business owners don’t have any kind of written strategy.

Take some time to set goals – short, medium, and long range. Work backwards to figure out how you’re going to achieve those objectives.

Then, stick to your plan. It isn’t of any use if you don’t actually follow through on what you set out to do.

3. Use The System

Franchises typically have an established system built on past successes. It’s your job to learn how the system works, and to follow it so that you can ensure maximum profitability.

Absorb the information the franchisor provides you with. Read the manuals or handbooks, ask questions, and if you aren’t sure about anything, ask for help.

Some franchisees take massive risks by implementing their own processes, procedures, policies and strategies without first consulting documentation or the franchisor. This can be risky, and should be avoided if at all possible.

4. Market, Market, Market

You’re in business to sell products and services, and you can’t wait around for things to happen. You have to drum up business by marketing, and getting the word out about your business.

Hire people with different skills, particularly if you aren’t confident in sales and marketing. Also ask for help from the franchisor if need be.

Also remember to delegate administrative tasks and other tedious or boring work. Oftentimes, you will be able to find someone who enjoys the work more than you do. Start focusing on what matters most – growing your business.

Final Thoughts

Although the tips outlined here are a great starting point, there is so much more that goes into building a successful franchise business. Make sure to take the time to grow your business skills, and learn exactly what it takes to make your dreams a reality.

If buying a franchise in the creative music industry is something you’ve been thinking about, we want to invite you to learn more about Music Centre Canada’s franchising opportunities.

What To Look For In A Franchise Opportunity

What To Look For In A Franchise OpportunityIf you are new to the business world, franchise opportunities are definitely worth your consideration.

It can take time to learn the ins and outs of business, and the franchise model gives you the chance to grow as an entrepreneur in a relatively low-risk environment.

But “fit” is still critically important to your success. Although knowledge can be gained over time, passion cannot. You need to make sure that you’re comfortable with the job description, and that you’re moving into an industry you already have a penchant for.

Here are several things you should look for in a franchise opportunity.

Long-Term Potential

Do you believe in the product or service being sold by the franchise network, and if so, is it in a growth market? Does it have long-term potential, or is it in a saturated space?

You need to do your homework to determine the sustainability of the business.

Quality Products & Services

No matter how passionate you might be about a particular industry, if you choose to buy a franchise that hasn’t built its name on quality products and services, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

Quality products will not only ensure the longevity of the business, but will also help you to stay committed to the business for longer (which is important to your success).

Training & Ongoing Support

Franchisors should be willing to provide training and ongoing support for those who are interested in starting a franchise and making it a success.

Talk directly with the franchisor to find out what kind of guidance they offer. Determine how long the initial training will take, and how it will be offered.

You need to be able to turn to an experienced individual when you need help, and if the opportunity you’re considering is sound, it should come with extensive support.

Positive Brand Reputation

Does the franchise have a positive reputation with its customers?

This information should not be hard to find. You can check sites like Google My Business and Yelp for reviews on most established businesses.

With some research, you may also be able to find and talk to previous customers or franchisee owners to get a broader perspective.

Just keep in mind that no matter what business you select, there are bound to be some negative reviews. Slow service and “rude” salespeople are very commonplace. If you’re looking for a reason to stay away from a particular business, look for major red flags (i.e. the majority of its reviews are negative, customers are complaining about major issues with owners, products, services, etc.).

Return On Investment

You should get a pretty good sense of what to expect before getting into the business.

How much will the investment cost, when are you expected to break even, and how much profit can be made once the upfront expenses are covered? Try to get these questions answered.

Final Thoughts

Don’t forget – it’s critically important to choose a franchise opportunity that’s right for you. Get into a business you can see yourself succeeding in, as this will greatly increase your chances of achieving your vision.

If buying a franchise in the creative music industry is something you’ve been considering, we want to invite you to learn more about Music Centre Canada’s franchising opportunities.

5 Questions You Should Ask Before Buying A Franchise

5 Questions You Should Ask Before Buying A FranchiseIf you’re interested in starting your own business, there are some good reasons to buy a franchise.

Of course, it’s unwise to start a new business on a whim. There are no business models that won’t require a significant amount of time and money, and you need to make sure that you are committed to the idea before jumping headlong into it.

For many entrepreneurs, buying a franchise is the right move to make, but it’s still a good idea to do your research and due diligence.

Here are five questions to ask before buying a franchise.

1. What Are Other Franchisees Saying About The Business?

Are they happy with the way the business is set up?

Although it’s unrealistic to think that there will never be any challenges to deal with, it’s a good idea to get a sense of how existing franchisees feel about the current system.

Are they satisfied with how things work? Is their general sentiment positive or negative? Gather some information to get an idea of existing advantages and disadvantages before buying in.

2. What Is It Like To Run This Business?

Do you know what running the business will require of you? Do you have an idea of what the day-to-day looks like?

Most businesses don’t run on autopilot. It’s unrealistic to expect that any business will. You need to take some time to job-shadow, and if possible, watch other franchisees to figure out what you’ll need to do on a daily basis and for how long.

3. How Much Support Is Available?

Will franchisors help you get your business set up? Are they able to provide ongoing training and support?

If you’re a new business owner, not having the proper training could mean running the business into the ground.

Make sure the franchisor can offer ongoing support, and won’t disappear on you the moment you get up and running.

4. Do I Have What It Takes To Start & Run A Business?

You need to carefully consider how much experience you have in business, and whether or not you have the right skill set and the drive to be a business owner.

If you fail, it isn’t all on the franchisor. A proper franchisor will offer you the right kind of support and guide you along the way, but if you don’t know how to run a business and aren’t willing to learn, no amount of guidance is going to make a difference.

5. What Is The Biggest Challenge Related To Running A Business Like This?

More than likely, the franchisor should be able to share with you some of the biggest challenges they are encountering.

Keep in mind that there are no businesses without challenges. However, you should be thinking about the kind of issues you’d be willing to deal with, and whether or not you have the creative energy to come up with worthwhile solutions.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to buy a franchise, asking these questions will help you to determine whether or not it’s the right decision for you.

Are you interested in starting a business in the music industry? You can learn more about Music Centre Canada’s franchising opportunities here.

Entrepreneurs: 5 Reasons To Franchise

Entrepreneurs: 5 Reasons To FranchiseLooking to start your own business?

If you’re interested in achieving levels of freedom you’ve never experienced before, and work in an industry that excites and fulfills you, then starting a business is one of the best choices you could make.

And if you’re looking to start a business, franchising is definitely an option worth looking into.

Here are five reasons entrepreneurs should consider franchising.

1. The Brand Is Already Established

Starting from scratch often means grinding it out, trying a lot of different things, and experimenting until you figure out what works. This can be a long and difficult process.

With franchising, the company has already built a strong presence on a regional or national level. In the eyes of the customer, there is already perceived value.

2. You’ll Receive Ongoing Support

When it comes time to building and running your franchise business, you’re not all on your own. If you want to talk to experienced people who know how things work, there are plenty of opportunities to do so.

As an independent business owner, you would have to build your own connections, and try to reach out to busy people who may not have the time to teach you how to run a business, even if they wanted to.

3. The Business Model Has A Track Record Of Success

A pre-established brand has already gone through a lot of trial and error to develop a business model that works and produces results. They will also provide you with the information you need to verify the results for yourself.

Although there are a limited number of working business models out there, eager wantrepreneurs often forget to study and determine a monetization model that’s right for them. There is less guesswork involved in running a franchise.

4. It Gives You More Buying Power

Franchises generally have a lot of buying power. They can negotiate good prices on furniture and equipment, inventory, and much more.

Starting a business with a lot of overhead can be risky, and plunging thousands of dollars into an upstart without a proven track record can be a hard pill to swallow (especially if you don’t succeed). Although there are always costs involved with running a business, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect as a franchisee.

5. Reduced Risk

Roughly eight out of every 10 businesses fail. Although failure can offer valuable learning experiences, most entrepreneurs get into business because they want to exchange value (solutions to problems) for value (money).

There is still some risk involved in becoming a franchisee, but if you do your due diligence and run your business intelligently, it can prove much easier to succeed compared to starting from scratch. If you do your homework, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect, too.

Final Thoughts

There are many other advantages to becoming a franchisee compared to starting and building your own independent business.

If business ownership is the path you’ve chosen, then you should definitely take a look at the options available to you.

Are you interested in learning more about franchising? Take a look at Music Centre Canada’s franchising opportunities to start a business in the creative music industry today!

4 Things Musicians Should Know About the Business of Music

4 Things Musicians Should Know About the Business of MusicThere are two sides to building a music career; the creative side and the business side.

Oftentimes, the creative side is seen as the fun part, and the business side is seen as the difficult, tedious, and laborious part.

While not all musicians are gifted in business, it doesn’t mean that business can’t be fun, and it also doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t work on their business skills.

Here are four things musicians should know about the business of music.

1. You Have to Know Your Audience

Businesses don’t try to appeal to everybody. They take the time to figure out who they’re selling their products and services to.

Similarly, you shouldn’t try to please everyone with your music. That’s impossible. Even The Beatles have haters.

Brand yourself based on your musical style and message. You’ll begin to attract more fans a lot faster than you would be able to otherwise.

2. You Have to Have a Plan

Businesses often begin with a plan, while music careers don’t. Why is that?

Though a business plan is never perfect when it is first made, it sets the tone for the future of the company. It guides them in their decisions, and it helps them figure out what steps they need to take to get to where they want to go.

If you have a strategy for your music career, you’ll have a much better idea of what you’re working towards. You’ll be able to break your goals down into smaller action steps that you can take on a daily basis to get to where you want to go.

3. You Have to Get to the Point

If you have a hard time explaining your product or service to your potential customers, how many sales will you actually make? As a salesperson or a business owner, you have to be succinct and clear in your communication; especially here in the age of social media.

Your music is your music, and you can write the kind of songs you want to write. However, if you want your music to be received well by critics, influencers, radio DJs, bloggers, journalists, and other people who could have an impact on your career, you need songs that get to the point. Avoid lengthy intros and instrumental breaks. Get to the hook as soon as possible.

4. You Have to Learn to Manage Money Well

Wise businesspeople know that they need to take their earnings and put them back into the growth of their business. If they aren’t smart in how they handle their money, they won’t stay in business for very long.

As a musician, you also need to know how to manage your money. Your music career won’t prove terribly sustainable if you can’t stay up-to-date with your bills. Additionally, much like with a business, you’ll want to be able to invest in the future of your music career.

Conclusion

Don’t forget to have fun with both the creative side and business side of music. Your career will grow like never before when you know how to handle both sides.

How to Make Sure Your Next Recording Project Goes Smoothly

How to Make Sure Your Next Recording Project Goes SmoothlyHave you ever had any recording projects that have gone awry? Do you find that recording an EP or an album never goes terribly smoothly?

It’s a drag to put so much time and effort into something and not end up with the kind of results you’re looking for.

If you want to make sure that your next recording project goes smoothly, follow the four steps outlined below.

Step 1: Plan

It may seem obvious, but you need to come up with a sensible and realistic plan for your recording project. You need to set goals.

You need to think about the timeframe, what gear you need to purchase or rent, who you need to bring into the studio and how much time you will require of them, what songs you want to record, and a lot more

Your plan may need to change over time, so don’t be too rigid in your approach. We’ll talk more about being flexible in a moment.

Step 2: Pre-Produce

If you want a great record, you can’t skip pre-production. This is the stage at which you pick songs, figure out their arrangements, decide what instruments need to be on what song, and get a sense of the overall flow or order of songs.

You don’t need to make any final decisions at this point, but by the time you’ve arranged and recorded all of your demos, you should have a pretty good idea of what you’re looking to accomplish in the studio. Yes, you should record demos at this stage.

Step 3: Practice

The pre-production phase should have given you a pretty good idea of what you need to work on. Perhaps there are some issues with a particular vocal phrase, or maybe your bass player just isn’t up to snuff on his parts yet.

You may think you know your parts pretty well, but recording in a studio can be a very different experience compared to practicing in your bedroom, garage, or basement. Make sure you know your parts forwards and backwards before beginning principle recording.

Step 4: Be Willing to Adapt

Maybe the piano player you asked to play on your album had to back out of the project at the last minute. Maybe there’s a song that just isn’t coming together the way you thought it would. Maybe you have a new song that absolutely needs to be on the album.

Whatever the case, you have to be willing to adapt to the situation. Things can go wrong in the studio, even if you take the time to plan everything out. You might end up with more time than you needed, you might end up with less. At the end of the day, you just have to roll with the changes.

Final Thoughts

Recording projects take a lot of time, effort, and sometimes money too. If you want to make sure that you get the most out of your next project, then don’t jump into it without a plan. Find people that you feel comfortable working with, and come to an agreement that makes sense for everyone involved.

The Fundamentals of Drumming Part 2

The Fundamentals of Drumming Part 2In this series, we’ve been exploring the fundamentals of drumming. You can read part one here.

Every drummer had to begin at the very basics, and the fundamentals are crucial to one’s growth as an instrumentalist.

Let’s begin this section with the basics you need to master as a drummer.

The Basics You Need to Master

If you’d like to become an expert drummer, the following basics must be mastered.

First, you need to become acquainted with the four basic drum strokes: full stroke, up stroke, tap stroke and control stroke. It’s important to become comfortable with each. Practice them until they feel like second nature to you. The paradiddle, single stroke, double stroke rolls and other rudiments are also building blocks towards developing more skill as a drummer.

In order to become a well-rounded drummer with expressive musicianship, sound technique and a solid feel for time, you need to master the following five styles and grooves:

  1. Shuffles
  2. Pop and Rock grooves
  3. Slow grooves
  4. Jazz and Swing grooves
  5. African-based grooves

In addition to that, setup & ergonomics, rudiments and basic musical skills should be prioritized. Drummers also need to choose their stick technique, which usually comes down to standard classical grip or matched grip. However, some particularly skilled drummers have mastered both.

Drum Lessons

Having a skilled and qualified teacher to assist you in your progress can really enhance your learning experience.

Lessons are conducted in a variety of environments, from studios in storefront locations to home environments. Since you can choose from a variety of teachers and options, it’s not hard to find a solution that matches your budget and schedule.

Using Your Senses

It is essential for a drummer to understand other instruments and their place in a piece of music. This can help you to figure out what role you should be playing in any given piece.

Oftentimes, the vocals are the most important part of any piece. As a drummer, you should be sensitive to the vocalist and assist them in achieving the best performance possible.

You can also improve as a drummer by watching and listening to other skilled drummers who have gone before you. There is a great deal you can learn just by using your god-given senses.

Practice

Regular practice is of the utmost importance for any instrumentalist, including drummers. It has often been said that practice makes perfect. It might be more accurate to say that practice makes you better, though the overall sentiment is the same.

Don’t expect to progress as an instrumentalist without dedicating time to practice. The more you practice, the more you will improve, though you can’t underestimate the importance of consistency and sustainability either. In other words, how much time can you set aside for practice on a daily basis?

At minimum, you should own a pair of drumsticks and a practice pad so you can stay on top of your game.

Conclusion

By studying this guide on the fundamentals of drumming and applying it, you can achieve your goals as a drummer and become the kind of player you would like to be.

The Fundamentals of Drumming Part 1

The Fundamentals of Drumming Part 1The art of drumming has existed since the early days of music. Its rhythmic patterns range from complicated and exciting to simple and powerful.

Oftentimes, the drummer has a great deal of control over the feel, the rhythm, and even the genre of the music being played. The drums serve as the backbone to every piece of music they appear in.

Learning to Play the Drums

Playing the drums can be a lot of fun, and depending on your practice routine, you can advance as a player rather quickly. Regardless of your goals, if you want to become a skilled drummer, you have to learn the fundamentals.

The sound of your drums can vary significantly depending on the types of sticks you use, the dimensions of your kit, the brand of your kit, in addition to whatever customized modifications you make to your drum set.

Common Elements of a Drum Kit

Here are some of the common elements that can be found on most drum kits:

  • The bass/kick drum: this is the big drum on the floor, and it is usually struck with an attached pedal. It produces a low note (that can be of a specific pitch).
  • The snare drum: most drummers position the snare drum to the left of their throne, and play it with their non-dominant hand. It produces a loud crack.
  • Tom-toms: tom-toms look much like the kick drum or the snare drum, but come in different sizes. The most common types include the floor tom, the mid-tom, as well as the high-tom.
  • Cymbals: cymbals are thin, typically round plates made of various alloys. They produce a resonant, high-pitched sound. They come in various sizes.

Remember to care for your kit, as it will last longer.

Progressing as a Drummer

Regardless of your skill level, there are always opportunities to progress as a drummer. Of course, it’s important to start with the basics, as even the most polished drummers can bring their skills to the next level by continually working on – and going back to – the fundamentals.

Drumming requires both commitment and dedication, especially when you are looking to play with other instrumentalists. This will ensure that you are constantly growing as a musician.

Reading Music

You may think that reading music is only for members of the orchestra, but the ability to sight-read can lead to a great deal of growth as a drummer.

Some may believe that drumming is merely the art of finding the beat and pounding the skins, but there is a great deal more to it than that.

A drummer can find the beat of the music simply by listening to it. However, being able to read the music makes a tremendous amount of difference in interpreting the piece.

If a drummer is unable to read music, then their playing style could be reduced to featureless repetition of the most undemanding rhythms (though there are always exceptions).

Also remember that if you have the desire to be a part of recording sessions, being able to understand music is often a prerequisite.