Hey there –

This is Mickey, the new Business of Music Manager at The Music District. As someone new to both the Music District AND to Fort Collins, I’m excited to meet more of you as we roll out a bunch of new music business programs this year.

Making a living (or a side hustle, or a sustainable hobby) in the music industry isn’t formulaic, and most people who currently do so took a winding path to get where they are today. Our music business programs – from our coworking space to workforce development to new programs in 2020 – are designed to be a place for conversation, exploration, and experimentation as you find your journey on that path.

To that end, I hope y’all will join me for the first music business program of 2020:


Artup Week Poster

The 2020 edition of the Techstars Startup / ARTup Week Fort Collins is fast approaching! Startup Week is a FREE week-long celebration of our local entrepreneurial community, and along with ARTup week, offers a ton of programming for musicians.


Kick your Startup Week off right by participating in Startup Weekend: Music, Food, & Beverage at CSU! Join a team, develop a business idea or product, meet with mentors and industry experts, and pitch it to a panel of judges, all in a span of 54 hours – no business experience necessary.


We’ve planned all of the Startup/ARTup panels at the Music District for one gigantic day – Tuesday, February 25. Kick it off with free coworking at the MD starting at 9am (yes, that’s early; yes, coffee is provided), followed by a digital marketing-focused Lunch & Learn (lunch is provided too!) with Amanda Alexandrakis and Sophia Babb.

In the afternoon, make plans to attend a session we’re calling Creative Outfitters, a resource expo for your professional art career, with photographers on hand to provide free headshots, writers to review your band bio / website / EPK, attorneys from CAFTA to review contracts or discuss any other legal matters, design professionals to review your visual identity, and more. There’s a ton of free help built into this session – don’t miss out! This is followed by a networking and gratitude hour, complete with tea from Happy Lucky Tea. Both of these sessions are presented in partnership with the Downtown Creative District.

In the evening, join Alysia Kraft and Sarah Slaton for a conversation on how to maintain a healthy art/life balance, digging into how creating project timelines, setting goals for yourself, and a few well-designed spreadsheets can help you avoid “music business burnout” and free you to honor your own creativity and creative output (FYI – this one starts at 5:15 for all of the 9-5ers out there).

Gregg Deal
Gregg Deal

Conclude your night with the world premiere of a new lecture and performance from the acclaimed artist and activist Gregg Deal. Entitled The Punk Pan-Indian Romantic Comedy, the piece focuses on the music that has moved Deal throughout his life and how music has influenced his ideas, his artistic work, and his voice. This may be the session I am most excited about, and I would highly encourage you to RSVP for this one before it is full. The RSVP process is quick, and from there you can build your whole schedule. Quick reminder – this and every other session during Startup Week is FREE.


There’s a lot happening during Startup Week outside of our walls, as well. With 120ish sessions altogether, finding your place in the week can be pretty intimidating. Luckily, Startup/ARTup Week and Lateral Labs just rolled out a tool to make building your schedule easier: Pathway Pilot – answer a set of questions and you’re given a free custom curriculum of what you may want to attend and, importantly, what you probably need to attend.

It takes about 15 minutes to complete, and it’s worth it – not only to build your schedule, but also because when I filled it out, it gave me a chance to reflect on my own music career. From it, I was encouraged to attend (and definitely WILL attend) How to Balance Making a Living with Making a Difference.

A few other sessions throughout the rest of the week I’m excited about:

The Ways We Work: Being Human in the 21st Century and Beyond  •  Fighting Opioids with Music Tech  •  The Anatomy of a Contract

How to Build a Crowd for a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign  •  One Million Cups – Startup Week Edition  •  Self Care for the Self Employed

Take a Detour to the Museum of Art •  PR in Creative Industries  •  Startup Week After Party and Concert Hosted by STAMP

Read, digest, explore, then let me know where you’ll be throughout the week. If you see me, say hello, and please feel free to drop me a line any time to talk music + business.