Tell us about your business (Lumedia)
Lumedia Musicworks is a 501(c)3 non profit organization that creates concert seasons that are equally in the community and on the internet. We create our season around three words: Collaborate, Innovate, Captivate. Our “Innovate” productions are music videos tailored to tell a visual story set to classical music genres. They are released online and we hope they are enjoyed by the public, that they draw in new listeners of classical music, and that they will be used to inspire and educate young people. The “Captivate” concerts feature solely Lumedia Musicworks programming techniques and musicians in live concerts across DFW. And finally our “Collaborate” is when we partner with a local organization or business to plan something musical to add to their program. For example, partnering with a yoga studio and bringing music of the Viol da Gamba as background for the yogi’s. Or partnering with a church to help provide music for a special service, or to enhance an environmental conference and play Vivaldi's four seasons. Our vision for these collaborative endeavors is to expose more people to these classical music genres by bringing it into new spaces. The structure of Lumedia’s concert seasons create possibilities for new ideas that are absolutely endless! It’s exciting for us to use our imagination to form programs and collaborations. We love stepping out of the traditional box of classical music performance and have a clear vision to return classical music genres to popular and often untraditional milieux where it can be enjoyed, appreciated, and understood by new audiences.
What sparked your business idea?
I had started to grow weary of classical concerts. Thinking, “I’m a person who LOVES music so much that I am getting my Doctorate in it!!! Yet I can get bored at concerts. What is happening here?” The answer was to create something that was more captivating to watch for audiences, and that comes with programming both aurally and visually, and keeping concerts at a reasonable run time of 60 - 90 minutes tops. The other part, the music videos: I had been snooping around YouTube, saw a bunch of people starting to make classical music videos but I noticed NONE of them told a deep or substantial story that holds a persons interest, or the videography was lacking. My very good friend, Lauren Stroh, had just released her first music video, “Sans Frayeur - Without Fear”. This video was different than the others I had seen. This video captivated me intellectually, had a clear storyline, and was visually impeccable. This video had all three of the aspects that everyone else lacked in one way or another. Excitedly, I started talking to Lauren and we agreed that we needed to create more! We chose to make this innovative medium half of Lumedia’s concert season. The videos serve as a launching point for the ensembles spot on the internet, as well as advertising for concerts, and more. They essentially evolve classical music, and create much more interesting content that can be understood by new audiences.
How did your participation in Music entrepreneurship classes at UNT fuel the growth of your business?
The UNT entrepreneurship program gave me access to the tools I needed to make everything happen and run smoothly when it comes to setting up non profit status, business plans, marketing, and things that I had no idea existed. For example: CRM software, fundraising tactics, persuasion techniques, and most importantly the ability to relate proper business terms to music ensemble organizations. The program definitely provided the pull and stretch that has grown my knowledge, and developed my skill sets in new directions. Not only that, but being able to collaborate with other music entrepreneurs in the program. Hiring your friends to help you out when you get started is the best thing because they care as much as you do about the success and quality of your product. That is something you cannot get when you hire blindly through a company.
How important would you say it is to network in the community and why?
Extremely, extremely, extremely important!!! People in our communities want to feel part of your mission and goals. They truly want to be a part of something impactful. They want to be rooting for you! But they cannot root for you unless they know your personality, see your passion, and trust your intentions. This past year I have become, as I like to call it, a professional socialite - constantly going to brunch, lunch, dinner and a concert, coffee, a drink, you name it, I was there building relationships. Relationships with people that I wanted to spend time with and get to know better as friends. Indeed, it is a lot of work and extroverted energy. But once those relationships start to form it is the most amazing thing because you have a team of people who believe in you... and that alone is enough to keep anyone going and striving to succeed. Did that have an impact on your success in fundraising for Lumedia and how? Yes, both the entrepreneur program and my community connections had a great impact. First of all, being at a highly reputable school always helps. And UNT has very much respect in DFW for their music school. And secondly, the relationships I had put so much energy into and worked so hard to build were a huge part of why the fundraiser was successful. These relationship do not happen overnight. Rather, It takes years. Because of my years, Lumedia had donations coming from places that surprised me! From places I had traveled around the world (Czech Republic, Germany), places I had lived previously (Seattle, Pennsylvania) as well as from places I had traveled to to perform in the past (South Dakota, Tennessee, Michigan, Iowa, Virginia, Washington D.C., Maine, Minnesota, etc.) >> What would you say to other CoM students to encourage them to participate in the music entrepreneurship courses, departmentals and competitions? Just do it. Not only is it a new way of thinking about the field of music, it teaches you things that are vital to a career in music: marketing being the most influential factor to our successes as musicians. The programs strengthens skills you never knew you had, and creates an environment for discussion that propels you into places you never would have thought of before. It can be a bit of a learning curve but in the end you will be surprised with what you came up with.