In The City 2009 - Day 2 Summary
Blog by Louise Dodgson under Artist Managers, Music Training & Careers, Selling & Distributing Your Music
Day 2 of In The City and with bleary eyes and fuzzy heads we embarked upon another day of panels, starting with...
Break On Through
It was refreshing to be confronted with a panel entirely made up of music industry ladies. As the title suggests the topic they were broaching was getting a foothold in the music industry with insights coming from panellists Jessica Koravos, MD at AEG Live, Claudia Jericho of Cologne’s music business convention c/o Pop, and general manager of Oasis’ record label Big Brother Recordings, Emma Greengrass. And with such successful music industry representatives sat before us, I hope never to hear another sigh about there being no females making their mark in the music industry!
As you would expect the general consensus was that hard work, hard work and then some more hard work was the proven route into the music world. The discussion touched on qualifications versus work experience, and overall I think the verdict leaned towards work experience. In a hugely competitive business you do have to be prepared to put in the work for free to prove your worth. If you don’t someone else will! Passion, enthusiasm and a strong work ethic will give you a good standing but you have to be prepared to go that extra mile. So, whilst this panel didn’t share anything particularly ground-breaking, they certainly did hit the nail on the head.
Something From Nothing: Making It Happen Without A Budget
Who needs record labels? With representatives from Sellaband and Pledge Music on the panel there was plenty of food for thought for artists & bands who want to release their own music without going down the route of getting a recording contract. Rather than being a last resort services such as Sellaband and Pledge Music really can be a viable alternative to chasing a record deal, and can help artists can forge a sustainable career .
As you may or may not know, Sellaband is a fan-funded model that can count Public Enemy’s forthcoming release as one of their more recent success stories. However, they deal with bands and artists of all levels and to date have 34 artists on their books who have managed to raise $50,000 to assist them with recording, releasing and marketing their music.
Pledge Music is the newest service of this ilk around and with a similar outlook to that of Sellaband, they aim to help artists connect with their fans in a meaningful way. They hope to do this by giving bands a platform to offer their fans choice, whether it is different formats of releases, bundle packages, limited edition merchandise and so on. The site’s founder Benji Rogers claimed that the average spend per fan was $93. The most important point he conveyed as the key to sustaining a music career was for bands to build significant relationships with their fans by asking them directly what they want and catering to that. In a nutshell, making them feel special. Your dedicated fans are effectively your army and will act as an advocate for your band so if you look after them, they will in turn look after you.
During this discussion a few points were raised by a member of the audience who turned out to be the manager of The Boxer Rebellion, the first unsigned band to reach the top of the download charts. With hands-on experience of bringing a band to market with no budget, he was subsequently invited to join the panellists on the stage and share his experiences. Encouraging artists to be entrepreneurial, his main points of advice regarding a band’s relationship with their fans included hooking up with similar artists and bands to offer attractive bundles, and don’t forget your overseas fans – there are more territories than the UK alone and if you draw more popularity in another country then perhaps that is where you should focus your attention. Finally, and echoed by everyone else on the panel, listen to your fans!
First stop on the ITC Live train this evening was at the Fierce Panda showcase to see Taxi Taxi, twin sisters brandishing a guitar and accordion apiece. This was actually very welcome affair for the second evening of an already hectic schedule and with the tiredness starting to kick in; pleasant, chilled out and refreshing. Ethereal vocals and they executed a cracking cover of Daniel Johnston’s True Love.
Crystal Fighters were hotly tipped for the Monday evening and there was definitely a buzz in the air when we arrived at Chicago Rocks for their slot. A very manic affair with lots of sweaty topless drumming and dancing, they definitely had heads nodding in the crowd, not to mention some full on raving from some folks. Definitely worth checking out if you get chance!
Then a mad dash across town to see Ou Est Le Swimming Pool at Ruby Lounge. Some crazy 80s electro sounds, but unfortunately they don’t seem to be doing it anywhere near as well as the likes of Chromeo. I’m afraid to say they really didn’t live up to the hype for me...Ou est le exit?
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