The Symbiotic Collusion brand was established in January, 2011. The brand represents the views of its owners regarding how art is to be — or can be — created, performed, marketed, and used throughout a community. The ideals of the Symbiotic Collusion brand include:
-Artistic integrity, merit, and autonomy
-Presenting Art as a necessary educational vehicle
To develop, through entrepreneurship, a self-sustaining arts organization.
- To contribute to the standard products of the music industry.
- To challenge the currently accepted ways in which an artist is to create, produce, and distribute art.
- To introduce products aimed at encouraging marketability and function while retaining Symbiotic’s brand ideals.
Symbiotic Collusion exists as a for-profit organization for several reasons:
As a for-profit venture, Symbiotic and its artists gain freedom from grants, and contributions as a sole means of survival while avoiding the conditions typically set by such offerings.
As an organization grows, so does the required time and workforce. The implied generated revenues of a growing for-profit establishment serve to pay the additional workforce its due, as it’s needed. As a non-profit, Symbiotic would risk continually seeking grants and donations from a standard pool for a growing need.
The message sent by a for-profit outfit is one of financial accountability, innovation, and initiative. Furthermore, a for-profit entity invites and perhaps inspires competition.
Working toward being part of the open market forces us, as artists, to be aware of the impact, or lack-there-of, our products hold. As such, we are continually adapting our products to strike the balance of functional art as how a trained artist seeks it and how a regular consumer uses it.
The Chamber Light Players, Symbiotic’s event music division, was the first stage of Symbiotic for two reasons. Playing weddings, banquets, and events is the quickest way for freelance musicians to gain financial stability, and the ubiquity of event playing scenarios is a wonderful way to get a variety of exposure for the Symbiotic brand.
The goal of the CLPs is to implement change—for both performer and consumer— regarding the set expectation of event playing groups. In doing so, we believe we can heighten the overall live music experience, which creates excitement and curiosity surrounding the time tested string quartet and its huge range of possibilities. We’ve approached this change through use of language, music selection, and our expectations from CLP members. This higher expectation of players is made possible because of our model: the bulk of the total event fee goes to the artists providing the exceptional service, not to the business.
Our education branch has been in development since our formation in 2011. While the importance of school visitations, offered assistance in recruiting for schools, and basic donated services to string programs cannot be overlooked, Symbiotic has been laying the groundwork for three main projects regarding education. First, our Director of Education has been designing musicianship classes aimed at teaching the basics of aesthetics and musicality. These classes are made available to beginners, adults and students alike. The idea is to create options for the general public, and for our students to be able to learn about non-playing music issues in an affordable, effective setting. These classes take place at Musik Innovations, north of Pittsburgh.
Our second project is incredibly exciting! Starting Winter of 2013, Symbiotic will release its first set (over 90 pieces!) of school oriented orchestral works by teacher/composer Richard Neukom. These works have been tailored for unique public school string teacher settings over the past 35 years as Richard himself has developed his program from the ground up. The works will be presented as downloadable content and each work includes an outline of its pedagogical elements.
Lastly, Symbiotic Education has developed a particular curriculum for private students. Symbiotic lessons include online resources, studio classes, group musical outings, studio recitals, and an overall sense of community that plays a vital role in developing a fostering environment for our students, as opposed to one based on unhealthy competition.
NeuKraft Music is Symbiotic’s sheet music publishing division. Through NeuKraft Music, Symbiotic releases educational music by Richard Neukom, the collected works of composer Sean Neukom, scores and parts for the music of the Symbiotic Chamber Orchestra, and licensed arrangements of radio hits and pop songs. The function of NeuKraft Music is to implement a mechanism that allows more direct and streamlined distribution which, in turn, allows each product to have more competitive rates.
Neukom Studios is run by Symbiotic founder and CEO, Sean Neukom. The idea is to create a non-commercial, in-house studio that allows Symbiotic, and its various artists, to create highly produced albums while retaining the autonomy to evolve how those albums are distributed and used. Most important, however, is that Neukom Studios allows Symbiotic to evolve how profits from album sales are sought after and how ownership and profitability can be most beneficial for the artist, not the label or parent company.
Artists with Symbiotic include a professional string quartet, a solo violinist, a pair of composers, and a chamber orchestra. Each artist is self-sustaining, meaning each artist is responsible for what they are performing, how they’re performing it, and where they’re performing. Being an artist with Symbiotic simply means you subscribe to a certain sense of musical and business ideals, and choose to do so using the Symbiotic brand messaging. In addition, several of the artists with Symbiotic make up the one Symbiotic Collusion musical outfit: The Symbiotic Chamber Orchestra.
The SCO is the culmination of what Symbiotic’s artists have to offer. Musically, the SCO develops and presents music that challenges what we think of as ‘classical’ or ‘pop.’ This is done through how the music is composed, how it’s performed, how it’s recorded and how the product ties to aspects of music we all know, while at the same time introducing new frontiers.
The SCO is made of Freya String Quartet, members of Eldertone on guitar and drums, and bassist Amanda Rice-Johnston.
The Symbiotic model is based on earning a sum of profits not through any one large endeavor, but through many aspects, or divisions, working individually toward a whole. The whole is the brand Symbiotic Collusion. While this is in no way a new concept, the application of such business concepts to musical and artistic ends (while not diminishing the perceived artistic value) holds its own by way of innovation. Our ultimate goal is to help pave the way for music and art to hold their important role in society in the face of failing organizational models.
“Symbiotic Collusion and its artists believe that an ever-improving product stems from competitive edge. With that, we strive to foster a healthy competitive environment between ourselves and other businesses of the same nature.”