The music market will grow to a projected $142 billion by 2030, according to Goldman Sachs. Despite this growth, the average musician is consistently squeezed by the big players and does not earn fair value for their artistic contributions. Community Musician - originally a "Craig's List" for musicians - developed a plan to disrupt this unbalanced monopolistic system, all while ensuring the musicians they work with are properly compensated for their talents.
Scott Arey, the CEO of Community Musician who is also the frontman and songwriter for his latest band The Lost Cavaliers of Mercy, understands the struggles of the average musician in the cutthroat industry. As a young musician, Arey signed with Warner Music and toured as a warm-up act for the Indigo Girls, though he quickly discovered he could not make enough money to pay his bills.
"I would max out my credit cards just trying to pay the expenses of putting together a few cities' tour, never mind trying to pay the band . . ." recalled Arey.
Partly due to the economic hardships he faced as a musician, Arey decided to pivot towards a career in finance. After graduating from Stanford University, he began his career with KPMG and soon joined Bank of America where he worked for ten years, eventually becoming CFO of the Commercial Banking Division and CFO of BofA's International Trade Bank. He then led a series of successful start-ups to growth and investor exits, such as Journey, Alsbridge, and the public company MoneyOnMobile.
(Photo : Scott Arey)
Whether or not Arey can lead Community Musician in a way that forever alters the landscape of the music industry could be a billion-dollar question. Just before his current venture with Community Musician, Arey took a company valued at $66 million, when he joined, to a $1.3 billion exit in less than three years. Arey will not be alone in leading the company, as he is partnering with Community Musician President Derek Toone, who has also driven hundreds of millions of dollars in shareholder value, most recently at Automation Anywhere, which had the highest Series A valuation in Silicon Valley history at $1.8 billion in 2018.
Arey believes that he has the resources and the personnel to take Community Musician to the next level. "Derek Toone and I have individually and collectively applied sound business practices to the enterprises we've made successful, enterprises that frankly, were resistant to doing so. We are uniting musicians in common cause to pool resources and apply those resources wisely and effectively to meet the challenges all musicians face."
While the road ahead will be challenging to navigate, Community Musician plans the start of its journey with the acquisition of Puddletown Rehearsal Studios. Based in Portland, Oregon, Puddletown currently serves a community of 8,000 local musicians with over 350 rooms of studio space covering eight locations. Community Musician plans to further develop its already successful app for musicians and its patented Collectible Music Card which uses an NFC chip, triggering high fidelity (i.e., lossless CD/vinyl quality) recordings to play on any smartphone, with just a tap.
Nic Yannariello - who toured with bands such as Tool, Filter, and Rage Against the Machine - created Puddletown after he built and sold the now-iconic Hawthorne Theatre venue. Yannariello will join Community Musician as SVP of Operations and run the nationwide music rehearsal studio business.
"If you're a serious musician, you either have a rehearsal space, you're sharing with someone, or trying to get off the waiting list for a space," said Yannariello. "Either way it all starts with rehearsal."
Yannariello's sentiment echoes Arey's frequent saying: "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Time will tell if Arey can successfully lead Community Musician's treacherous journey to the top of the music industry.