Chris Horvath

Thirty-something years experience in all things musical... and still diggin' it.

Chris Horvath has been an active speaker in the music industry for many years. He is experienced at teaching both students and professionals about the things and situations they will have to navigate in order to sustain a career in music. He is passionate about sharing his many years of experience and doing whatever he can to make anyone's road to a life in music an easier one. Chris has given talks and done master classes at:

  • USC Thornton School of Music
  • UCLA
  • Berklee College of Music
  • Sibelius Academy - Helsinki, Finland
  • Grammy In The Schools
  • SONA Summit
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • UWLA Law School
  • Association of Music Producers
  • Audio Engineering Society
  • ...and many others

Chris has also appeared on many panels at music business seminars and conventions and is available to speak at yours. If you are interested in having him speak or present a Master Class, please use the CONTACT PAGE.

Click on the titles below to learn more about some of the presentations Chris has to offer.

“The Money You Make From The Music You Make; Tracing Actual Earnings From 5 Pieces of Music”

Good for: Anyone interested in writing music for a living – whether in film/tv or songs and albums.

Theoretical understanding of how money is made from music is one thing, but seeing real world examples are another.

Students will hear a clip of music and then are shown ACTUAL BMI statements, Invoices, and flow charts which demonstrate how that piece of music made money from Performance, Mechanical, Licensing, and Creative Fees.

Examples analyzed are:

• Pop Song from an Independent Album Release

• Cue from a TV show

• Television Theme Song

• Film Score

• Library Track

Also addressed is what the future may hold for creators of music as the music business transitions to streaming only delivery. Streaming revenue from some examples above is also shown and analyzed.

(This talk can be presented in approx. 1.5 hrs, plus a 30min Q&A. NOTE – Visual Projection and Stereo Audio appropriate for the size of the audience is required.)

“8 Realities You MUST Accept To Have A Career In Music”

Good for: Upper semester college students or young professionals involved in creation of music for albums, film, & television but not primarily focused on being an artist.

Everyone has preconceptions and ideas as to what the "real world" is like. But in most cases these are MISconceptions, and people don't understand the reality of a life in music until they've experienced a lot of hardship and struggle, which can hopefully be avoided by understanding and accepting these 8 Realities.

This talk is designed for the person who is either just starting out or someone several years into their career but feeling frustrated or stalled. Points discussed in this highly interactive talk include:

• Your Career Is NOT About You

Music is ultimately a service business. Understanding and accepting your place in the process will save a lot of frustration and help you sustain a long term career.

• Your Attitude & Relationships Are FAR More Important Than Your Talent

The music business is not a talent contest. It’s more like an unmarked social minefield where you might not know you’ve made a wrong step until it's too late.

• Guard Your Creativity With Your Life; Because It IS Your Life

You are not a “factory” and music is not a “widget”. Learn the importance of staying at the top of your game and finding a balance between your “art” and your “craft” (and truly knowing the difference).

• Mind Your Own Business... Because Nobody Else Will

You can't continue to create music unless you get paid for the music you have already made. Understand the importance of balancing your musical-self and business-self without affecting your creativity.

• You Will Be Ignored, Rejected, & Criticized; DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY!

Dealing with negative feedback and outright rejection of your best efforts is tough on anyone. Learn how to keep a perspective on criticism and bad news – even when the people delivering it are wrong.

• Nothing Lasts Forever; Including Your Career

Your career will end, and probably before you want it to. So prepare for it… both financially and emotionally.

(This talk can be presented in about 1.5 hrs with a 30 min Q&A. NOTE - Requires projection appropriate for the size of the audience, but no audio.)

“Composer Conundrums - Real World Situations You May Soon Encounter… If You Haven’t Already”

Good for: Young professionals involved in creating & producing music for film, tv, advertising, and albums.

Every professional composer or producer, regardless of their status or age, is constantly faced with business situations they aren’t sure how to handle. This is especially true of younger creatives because they lack the perspective & experience that comes with a longer career.

In this highly interactive talk, the audience is presented with several real world situations (which actually happened) that they will probably face at some point. They are asked how they would navigate to the best result. Chris will help guide them but also add road blocks and cause them to think on their feet. Actual creative fees from each example are discussed as well.

Some situations and areas covered are:

• Cutting a deal to re-record a master of a hit song for a TV Theme (Sample is attached below)

• Navigating a serious breakdown in communication or conflict with people you work for

• Writing for a Music Library on spec or for low money

• Being sub-contracted to write a commercial and what happens when you win/lose the job

• Writing a piece of music based on a “temp” that the producers love but can’t use

• Placing a song in a film but your co-writer won’t agree to what the producers are offering

• Making the best of a very low budget indie film that requires a lot of work

Students will also receive a handout that contains some typical projects and the deal points (outlined in easy to understand terms) in the associated contracts.

(This talk can be presented in 1.5 – 2 hrs and is highly interactive. The descriptions of the situations are sent in advance so students can decide which ones they’d like to focus on and have time to consider their answers. A sample is attached below. No multi media needed.)

#1 - The Re-Record

You are asked to re-record the master of the song “Where Is The Love?” by the Black-Eyed Peas for a new reality dating show being produced by a major TV Production Company. The song is being used as the main theme for a pilot that will screen in order for the network to test the viewer market. They have licensed the song rights from the publisher(s) for this project and they will pay for all vocal talent, but you must play all the instruments or pay any needed musician costs.

They want this to sound as close to the album version as possible.

Two producers from the show want to be at the vocal session because they want to make sure it’s exactly as they want it. The show will pay for one day in a nice studio that is close to the network offices and very client friendly so the producers will feel comfy (it wouldn’t be appropriate to bring them to your fully functional but aesthetically challenged home studio).

You will deliver the standard mixes and splits and they are asking for a few simple cut-downs and transitions as well.

The total fee they are offering is $3,500 for all deliverables.

Your thoughts?


Creative Aspects:

Business Aspects:

“Is The Gig Worth Doing?” How Lower Paying Work Can still Benefit You At ALL Stages Of Your Career.

Good for: Upper semester college students or young professionals involved in Composing, Writing, and Producing music for artists, film, tv, and other media.

All Composers & Producers, regardless of their stature, work on a wide ranging pay scale. Saying “yes” to high paying and high profile projects is an easy decision. But what about when the pay is at the very low end, or even non-existent? This is a dilemma musicians constantly face, especially in the early stages of their careers.

Doing lower paying work isn’t always a bad idea, and there can be many reasons to say yes. This talk will offer ideas on how to make decisions that best serve your career with a “play the long game” mindset.

Students will hear several pieces of music, discuss the thinking that went into taking on each project, and most importantly, be shown actual invoices and detailed financial information as to how much was earned in each situation.

Points discussed in class will include:

• Examples Of Project Pay & Expenses

With each example and situation, you will see what the actual pay was, as well as high/low pay ranges for similar projects. A PDF of additional actual project examples will be posted in the chat.

• What Exactly Is The Gig, & Is It REALLY For Me?

Clearly understanding what the job requires, as well as being realistic about your attitudes, abilities, and work flow is crucial in choosing your projects and being able to consistently deliver great work.

• Non-Monetary Benefits and Compensation

Sometimes there are reasons to do a gig that have nothing to do with money. Learn to find the “silver linings” that may not be so obvious.

• Making A Lot Out Of A Little

Learning and inventing ways to make your creative work benefit you (and bring you money) beyond the project at hand.

• Low Level Negotiation Ideas

The less they are offering, the less room there likely is for negotiation. Learn to think “win/win” and find areas where you may be able to negotiate things that will benefit you but cost the client very little, or nothing.

(This talk can be presented in about 1-1.5 hrs with a 30 min Q&A. NOTE - Requires projection and stereo audio appropriate for the size of the audience.)*

“The Business of You: Your Systems & Infrastructure”

Good for: Upper semester college students or young professionals involved in Composing, Writing, and Producing music for artists, film, tv, and other media.

Even as an independent contractor working alone, having various systems in place that support the operation of your business are important, and will ultimately save you time while making monetizing your work easier.

This talk will address the importance of developing a good infrastructure for your business in the early days of your career, which will help build good habits and best practices over time. Topics covered will include:

• Contact Lists and Communication Notes They say “it’s a business of relationships”, so creating a database of contacts with complete information, sorted by category, with notes, is an important tool to help you stay in touch with your people.

• Invoicing & Income Tracking Developing a system that generates invoices for all services and items you provide that also tracks your income & revenue categories, which helps you see where you can capitalize on your strongest revenue streams and improve or manage your weakest.

• Budgets and Project Bids Creating a system to easily budget out a project and submit bids. Establishing basic rates for various services you provide. Estimating costs and ensuring a profit margin for each project.

• Media Log & Library Composers today can create and produce more music faster than any previous generation, with each piece of music likely having multiple versions and mixes. This calls for an organized data and file management solution. With the multitude of opportunities to place your music (often more than once), having a system to catalog and quickly access your past work is a key component to being able monetize it.

• Contract Templates While not always necessary, it’s a good idea to have your own basic agreements ready such as: Talent Release, Music License, Project Contract, Purchase Order, etc.

• Banking, Business Entities, & Taxes The function and benefits of a DBA, Business Bank Account, Business License, LLC, etc., as well as basic tax preparation that can be done throughout the year.

(This talk can be presented in about 1.5 hrs with a 30 min Q&A. NOTE - Requires projection appropriate for the size of the audience, but no audio.)

“The History of Music Publishing… In A Little Over 60 Minutes”

Good for: Songwriters, composers, lawyers, music business executives who deal with music publishing and copyrights, or anyone interested in the history of American popular music.

Music publishing is one of the hottest and most profitable areas of the music business. And while today’s songwriters and composers understand the current structure of the business better than most previous generations, few have an understanding of how we got here.

Where most “history of” presentations can be dry and feel like a law school lecture, this lively and visual talk is just the opposite. The audience is taken from the beginning of the 20th century through today, using benchmarks of popular music styles and changes in technology to illustrate how things changed even when laws didn’t.

Also discussed is the impact of streaming and digital delivery of music and how it is affecting the way music is consumed as we move forward.

This talk is a fast but fun look at how the business of the popular song was born; from before radio and broadcast, to becoming a multi-billion dollar industry through the era of the CD and into the digital age.

For those who want a comprehensive “tasting” of the publishing business, this is an hour well spent.

(Approx. 1hr talk plus a 30 min Q&A. NOTE – Visual Projection and Stereo Audio appropriate for the size of the audience is required for this presentation.)