In this interview, I had the chance to speak with entrepreneur and artist, Tracey Arbon. She is the brilliant creative behind Music Talks, a platform for artists to tell their own stories. Read our conversion, as she talks about her amazing journey, and gives tips for solo entrepreneurs.
- Hello! Please introduce yourself to our audience.
Hi, I’m Tracey Arbon. I was singing many years ago, and now the founder and CEO of a site called Music Talks. Hoping to get back to the singing.
- How long have you been in the music industry and what inspired you to want to become an artist?
I was in the music industry, but perhaps not the business so much…there is a difference I’ve figured out. But I was always in entertainment, and began as a dancer actually. Since the age of 5…then I suffered stress fractures and had to give up dancing.
My older sister was learning how to sing, and of course, what ever she was doing, I had to try it too. The difference was, I stayed. I found a way in which I could express myself.
I must admit, I’m not and have never been very good at explaining myself….and find that I just do things. I hate explaining why I’m doing it…I just do things until its right. Something tells me what is right and what is not…but please don’t ask me to verbally give you an answer, because I struggle with speaking with other people and explaining things. I Just do it and somehow I know.
Singing and songwriting for me, was a way of exploring and finding my voice. However, more so in these later years, have my songs really changed and differ a great deal from my earlier years….the only problem, is that now, my songs have not been heard…
- What inspired you to what to become an entrepreneur and launch “Music Talks”?
Funny you should ask that. After a long break and having kids, from my own music and singing, I went to give it another go. My kids were a bit older, and I just felt that I had to give more and that I was put on this planet to do something else.
I went to see how the industry and the business had changed…or hadn’t changed actually. The thing I noticed was the great divide between the record companies, and the Internet. And realized, that you have to get in on it, not fight against it.
While the Internet and this whole new concept of making the world one big happy family, one would think it would be easier.
I actually thought, yes…AND…. no…. It was still going to be just as hard, but we had more available to us. Which means, we have to work our butts off to get noticed…. really noticed. It really is a minefield out there.
How do I compete with hundreds…or thousand of new releases each week??……BUT on a worldwide platform…really. ??
I mean I wasn’t seeing Australia in this…. I was thinking globally here.
I looked at where I would go, the possibilities…and wow, I saw artists everywhere, all trying to do the same thing. But there wasn’t anything that I could find that gave independent artists a true platform without getting lost.
I didn’t want to just place myself up on a site and wait. That’s just not what you do.
I mean, you could try and find music on Soundcloud, search for the genre perhaps and what was just released, but it took hours, and so much of it was…well…crap actually.
Then I would find something amazing. Besides, the average person who plays music and listens to music, who isn’t a musician, only plays, streams, and if you’re lucky, purchases it once they hear it. I don’t think they go looking for it.
Anyway, long story short, I found blog sites, however, most of them were either interview based, bios’ or Press Releases.
I wanted a place for artists to write their own story, in their words. Putting the human element and tie it together with their music. I wanted people to be able to relate to these artists as people as well.
I wanted to create a place where people could go to hear really great music and the people behind it, while at the same time, provide them the links to these artists’ websites and social media pages to enable them to continue to follow their journey.
But it is also a difference in the set up…
And so Music Talks was born.
- Why is it important for artists to tell their own stories?
There can be and has been in the past, a certain stigma attached to artists and creative people. Not many people, who are not creative, understand the people behind the music.
So much has come out now about how so many actors and artists, musicians and singers, either is on the spectrum, suffer depression or have other differences.
They Way I see it, is, the more people who are included, the less depression.
The more places someone can share THEIR story, the better understood they are. However, you will find, that so many artists still find it just easier to tell their stories through their music.
Artists have beliefs too, and they have stories to tell. Some can share an insight as to why they found music to be their savior.
Music should never be underestimated. It has great power, and we all need to treat it carefully and without judgment. It’s more than just throwing around a few beats.
- Do you run your business by yourself, or do you have a team of people who help you run it?
Currently, I’m doing it all on my own, other than the ‘Radio Features’, which is a fairly new addition to the site. And is a great addition with interviews conducted by New Zealand singer, Aly Cook, from independent radio DJ’s.
I did have a graphic designer help with the e-mags, which are currently not running now, due to lack of finance. Hopefully they can come back soon.
I do create all the content creation, including promo video’s, marketing, advertising, Social posting, searching for new music, responding…. emailing etc. you name it…everything..
- What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve experienced being a “solo entrepreneur”?
Time…and money! I think when you are doing your own thing, weather its business or something like this, you have to be the ‘jack of all trades’.
I’ve learned a lot, and continue to do so. But it does depend on what kind of platform you have, weather it be purely for selling, or a full on site like Music Talks, which do differ greatly from each other. A site to sell, is a bit easier than a site involving constant interaction with people and having to upload new content on a weekly basis.
Sometimes it would be nice to have just one day off! Or go away for a weekend. Lol..Maybe one day.
Oh…and the phone constantly going/flashing alongside my bedside table…when I’m so tired, I forget to put it on airplane mode.
Other challenges would be trying to keep the family happy 😉
- How do you rise to tackle these challenges?
Now that Music Talks has been running for almost 18 months…I have expanded it in content, and would like to do more…but there’s only one of me, and only so much time in the day. I do have so many unique Ideas’. Also, I need to feed my family. So I’ve just created a Patreon page, where I’m offering some amazing rewards.
If I had the money, I could use it wisely on employing another artist to help me run the site and/or do content creation, as well as putting more into marketing. This means that the site can grow, and independent artists will benefit a great deal.
I also would like to mention, featured artists do not pay anything to be featured on the site. I’ve tried to place a shop front to help with the costs of running the site, as well as another fairly new addition, in offering tools. IE. Guitar lessons, or learning how to rap etc. through affiliate marketing. But these really don’t pay anything at the moment.
Everything is a catch 22 situation. You really need the finance to be able to rank in Google SEO, to get the traffic, once you have the traffic, then so much more can flow on from there.
- Any tips for other solo entrepreneurs out there?
You’re going to be lonely…..and possibly lose friends…..not many people have any idea what it takes to be an entrepreneur. So many people call themselves one, but really, it’s a hard work.
So get some support behind you, and perhaps think about having a partner to go in with. Someone who is just as keen as you, and who can see and understand the vision.
Expect a lot of ups and downs, but try not to give in.
And don’t take any stupid comments on social media personally. Remember, not everyone researches a company or business or many things…..so many people assume.
OH…And put some money behind you too. J
The websites are: www.musictalks.xyz
Tracey Arbon: www.traceyarbon.com