Top 10 Nuggets of Wisdom from Face the Music 2017

There was a lot on at Face The Music this year – almost 40 events were listed over the two-day program, including panel discussions, keynote speeches, workshops and speed meetings, not to mention the live music component. Here are the top ten most interesting nuggets of wisdom we were able to glean across a range of topics on different aspects of the music industry.

  • During the The Manager’s Special panel Charlotte Abroms, who manages the careers of Gretta Ray and Angie McMahon amongst others, said that examining the statistics provided by Facebook as well as Spotify For Artists can be useful in helping to determine which areas to book shows in.
  • Abroms also touched on the fact that artist curated content can often be of a greater value for publicity than engaging traditional media. During a recent regional tour for Greta Ray it was determined to bring along a dedicated videographer to create content for social media rather than an additional musician.
  • During the Roadmap to Touring and Performing in Germany panel, Silke Westera, who works as a concert promoter for the German based promoter FKP Scorpio, and Reeperbahn festival’s Bjørn Pfarr agreed that their country is a complicated market that is hard to break into without radio support. However, Sounds Australia’s Millie Millgate stated that Reeperbahn in particular offers a large amount of currently untapped opportunities for Australian bands and that she strongly recommends artists to go there.
  • Ash Sambrooks was able to provide insight of his own experience of managing New Zealand’s Fazerdaze, who have been working at building their profile in Germany over the last 18 months. Using statistics from their YouTube page he was able to ascertain European interest in the act, which has resulted in repeat visits to the region, during which time they have secured a UK agent and a deal with a German record label. “It’s been a very expensive year and a half,” said Sambrooks. “But you have to keep going back. You have to balance what works for them over here and for the team there.”
  • During the I’m Your Biggest Fan panel Hit Network radio host Ash London stated that it’s the broadcaster’s responsibility to not play artists who have been found guilty of abuse, as she herself has done with the likes of Chris Brown and R. Kelly. “If an artist still gets radio play it’s saying that you can do whatever you want and your career will be okay,” she said. “It’s about taking the power back.”
  • That panel also touched on both the ugly side of extreme pop fandom – the obsessive and often viscous online behavior of young followers of acts such as One Direction – as well as the positive. Writer Brodie Lancaster described Rainbow Direction, which is a group for One Direction fans who identify as LBGTQ+ to interact and create safe meeting spaces at concerts.
  • During the Starting a New Business in Music panel Parlour’s Matt Walters described hiring his first employee as being a major turning point for the house concert company. “I had an early stage burnout,” he said. “As long as you’re not hiring, you’re not building the business.” “Work on the business, not in the business,” agreed Leanne de Souza from the Association of Artist Managers.
  • When asked what he thinks of the appropriation of his band’s imagery by fast fashion chains, Marky Ramone answered, “Better that shirt than a Journey or Foreigner one.”
  • During the Best Practise Playbook for Putting on a Gig panel, singer Chelsea Wilson described the importance of having proper contracts in place when booking shows, as well as checking all of the details contained within. After being denied payment for a show she had performed, Wilson found that she was unable to prove that the person who had signed her contract represented the venue.
  • During the same panel rapper N’Fa Jones stated the importance of having your website up and running, as when he inquired about how to be booked to play at WOMAD, he was informed that the festival had attempted to contact him but his site was down…
Photo credit: Face the Music Facebook page.

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