Why we do what we do

We believe your music should be shared with the world, and you should be able to make a living as a creator. We are frustrated that musicians are making great music but don’t have access to what they need to be successful. We are passionate about changing that. At MBT, we operate under the belief that the world will be a better place when more musicians can devote themselves to doing what they do best – making music – because they can actually make a living doing it.

About The Music Business Toolbox

The Music Business Toolbox was created for musicians, managers, and producers. Today, the music business more complicated than ever before. There are more pain points, but there are also more opportunities. The Music Business Toolbox was created to help you understand what you need to do to create success, including steps you can start on today. More detailed than anything available on the market today, the Music Business Toolbox breaks down in easy-to-follow steps what both brand-new and experienced music industry professionals need to do to get to the next level. Inside, you’ll discover vital connections you need to make, every platform you need to understand, and the legal issues you’ll need to be familiar with to protect yourself and your music.

The Music Business Toolbox Answers

Musicians’ three most pressing questions:

  1. 1 How do I make money?
  2. 2 How do I get people to notice me?
  3. 3 What are the most frequent mistakes made by others, and how do I avoid them?
In plain English (not complicated “music business jargon”) the MBT will help you get a solid footing in negotiations, teach you the fine points of contract discussions, help you make release choices, and empower you to build the foundation of your success. Welcome to the music business, here’s your ticket to ride.

About Bryan Calhoun, Creator of The Music Business Toolbox

The Music Business Toolbox Founder Bryan Calhoun has more than 25 years of experience in the entertainment business under his belt, with no signs of stopping anytime soon.

“I think music has the ability to change people,” Bryan says. “It’s something that creates a visceral, emotional response in people. It has the ability to communicate things that you may not otherwise be able to articulate.”

His first foray into the business started with an unheard-of, “can’t believe you pulled that off” accomplishment for an 18-year-old with no experience – he negotiated to have world-famous hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest play at his university.

Since then, Bryan has amassed an inspiring resume, working with music royalty many times over, and developing household names including Kanye West, Lil Wayne, G-Eazy, Questlove, Nicki Minaj, Drake, and more.

“I advocate for musicians. I want great artists to succeed, and I want to help fans get great experiences from the artists they love,” he says. “The quest to empower artists continues to drive me.”

Bryan is a wealth of knowledge of every single facet of the complex music industry – which thousands have experienced first-hand seeing him speak on panels and teach workshops at all of the key music industry conferences – including SXSW, MIDEM, The New Music Seminar, CMJ, ASCAPs I Create Music Expo, and over 20 more.

That’s what he brings to you in The Music Business Toolbox.

“It frustrates me as a fan to see amazing musicians making great music, but aren’t in the position to share it with the world,” Bryan says. “They don’t have the know-how, business acumen, or the connections they need to break through. Music Business Toolbox is my way of helping those struggling musicians. I am passionate about making this info available.”

Bryan’s Experience

Freeform Development – Co-Founder – July 2014 to present

  • With co-founder, designed and launched an application development platform that lets musicians release their albums as apps much like free-to-play mobile games.
  • Launched apps for Chris Brown, G-Eazy, Rob Thomas and The Cult.
  • Freeform apps currently generate more than 30 cents per play for artists – 150 times more than the competition.

Label Management Systems – Founder/Owner – Nov. 2003-Present

  • Consult independent record labels and musicians on creating marketing plans, developing budgets, helping secure national distribution and providing best practices as the industry evolves.
  • Past clients: Beats Music/Apple, MSN, Monster Cable, RB Media, CrowdAlbum (acquired by Spotify, April 2016)

Getting Out Our Dreams Music – Chief Operating Officer – Aug. 2006-April 2007

  • Managed the business operations of Kanye West’s label, Getting Out Our Dreams (GOOD Music), a joint venture with Sony Music.
  • Artist roster included John Legend, Consequence, Derek ‘Fonzworth Bentley’ Watkins and Sa-Ra

Warlock Records and Serchlite Music – Vice President, A&R and Marketing – Sept. 1999-Nov. 2003

  • Led all aspects of releasing new music, including finding artists, negotiating contracts, overseeing recording, developing marketing plans, working with distributors, and setting and managing budgets
  • Oversaw the successful launch of the label’s catalogue on iTunes as part of the first batch of indie labels on the platform

Professional Affiliations and Recognition

  • The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Grammy Voting Member
  • Future of Music Coalition, Board Member and Advisor
  • Spoken multiple times at: SXSW (Interactive and Music), San Francisco Music Tech, Midem, The Recording Academy special programs, Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, New Music Seminar, ASCAP Expo and many more

The Blueprint Group/Maverick – Digital Strategy & Business Development – June 2012-Present

  • Provide digital strategy, online presence management, and business development to improve fan relationships and profit opportunities for the artists and companies representing them, including Nicki Minaj, T.I., Jill Scott, The Roots and Marc E. Bassy.
  • G-Eazy – Helped develop artist as a global superstar, with two gold albums, by aggressively leveraging social networks, BitTorrent, Pandora audio messaging, direct-to-fan campaigns, data analytics and contesting.
  • Kanye West – Developed fan club and website, generating over 10 million average monthly visits, and structured the first ad network deal for an artist website.
  • Lil Wayne – Structured early deal with Spotify to use remnant ad inventory for tour awareness, monetized YouTube content and socials.

SoundExchange – VP of New Media, External Affairs Consultant – Oct. 2008 –Sept. 2013

  • Served as the main spokesperson for the organization and liaison to the music industry
  • Oversaw development and execution of artist, label and webcaster relationship strategies, media relations, marketing efforts, corporate rebranding campaign and paid, earned and owned media
  • Developed and scaled the successful Matching program to over 100 partnerships, which allowed SoundExchange to identify and directly notify tens of thousands of unregistered artists and independent record labels of their unclaimed royalties

RED Distribution (a division of Sony Music) – Director, Marketing – May 1999-Sept. 1999

  • Established the Red Urban Music Marketing division to provide additional support services to RED-distributed urban labels
  • Advocated for labels, guiding them through the distribution system and developing business and marketing strategies for success

Relativity Records (a division of Sony Music) – Director, Marketing – Feb. 1998-May 1999

  • Oversaw marketing initiatives for multiple releases
  • Managed national street promotions team
  • Achieved gold and platinum success with releases by Three 6 Mafia, Krayzie Bone, Mo Thugs, Bizzy Bone and others