Self-Evaluation of Diploma of Music Business 2015

Over the last 12 months my focus has been entering into the music industry. I started by enrolling into the Diploma of Music Business course in September 2014. My reasons for applying were
• I hated working 60 hours a week to do jobs I was not passionate about and did not like
• The horrible feeling I felt each day, going to work for a company that treated me so well and me just feeling like I could do better
• I was tired of trying to find work in the corporate and government workforces because my parents thought it was a good idea for me and believing what they were saying was best for me
• I hated the fact that I was so passionate about wanting to work with musicians, play music and have a life that was filled with me doing music in some way and I was not doing anything music related.

By early January 2015 I had been accepted into the Diploma of Music Business. I was so excited. It was the first step on my path into a music career. I then enrolled into the course and stuck around for the orientation.

From February until now has been almost like a blur. I have been so busy completing assessments, going to class, going to concerts, putting on gigs and working a part time job. However, writing this blog post has given me time to see just how much I have accomplished. My accomplishments include
• Putting on a metal gig at The Civic Hotel called Brutalism 101: A Lesson in Brutality. I had the help of Brendan Preston, Meg Phillips-Jones, Danika Tierney and Melissa Defiddes.
• Attending the Peter Garrett book launch
• Attending my first Music conference. This was the WAM Conference held between the 5 & 8 November 2015.
• Started managing a hard-rock band called Kraill.
• Attended a songwriting sundowner called the MISS Session: A Songwriters Tale.
• Been apart of the Richmond Street Records Management Committee as an Administration Manager.
• Volunteers for RTR as their receptionist and at an event called In The Pines.
• Helped in launching Richmond Street Records for 2015
• Was the Artist and Repertoire person for Wabisabi. This allowed me to help them get onto the Richmond Street Records Compilation CD
• Helped with the 2015 Music Department Graduation and Richmond Street Record Compilation CD launch
• Completed all assessments (I am putting this as an accomplishment as it is sometimes really hard to get motivated to do an assessment)

Whilst looking back at all that I have learned and accomplished in the last year, I have become more focused on where I want my music career to head. I want to eventually own my own music publicity business, manage a couple of bands, get back into playing flute and piano again and teaching flute and piano. I have chosen this path for a few reasons. These are:
• I love playing flute and piano to an audience and would love to excel in that area
• I love the business side of the music industry and the challenges it provides me with
• I would like to work with bands and solo artists but I don’t necessarily want to manage them all. I would prefer a fee for service in which a publicity company offers.
• I would like to be able to pass on all the amazing things I have learned onto other people.

As I am only starting to get myself into the music industry there is so much I still need to learn. Things I would like to learn are
• How to set up a music business in Australia and overseas
• How to manage a band and the best ways in which I can do this
• More about the different jobs within the music industry
• The best ways in which I can market myself, my business and the bands I manage.

I would go about learning all this by
• Enrolling and studying a Advanced Diploma of Music Business
• Completing the Tom Hess Music Career Mentoring Program
• Completing my AMEB theory and practical exams. This will allow me to teach music in schools.
• Learning on the job. This can be done through managing a band and through interning in the music industry.

There are so many other things I will possibly be able to learn along the way. Some will be things I never expected.

Interview with Matt Johnson from Walking Horse

Speaking to Matty J from Walking Horse in regards to starting his record label. I have found that these interviews I have been conducting with music industry professional interesting, as although they provide answers that are similar they do offer some differences.

The questions that I asked are:

  1. What does Matty J see are the advantages and disadvantages of owning Walking Horse?
  2. What motivated you to start Walking Horse?
  3. What are the major difficulties in owning Walking Horse?
  4. What doe they consider to be the key personal attributes required being a small business owner?

The advantages of Walking Horse are that Matty J has autonomy in how he does his works, has flexibility in how much or little he works and what projects he wants to do and the ability to work with artists he likes. The disadvantages of owning Walking Horse is keeping on top of cash flow, the responsibilities of owning a small business and managing the workload.

The reasons in which Matty J started Walking Horse are:

  • Matty J knew an artist he like and wanted to start the label to help out
  • Garreth, who is Matty J’s business partner is an amazing graphic designer and photographer and wanted to find him work

The personal attributes that Matty J believes should be required to own a small business in the music industry are:

  • Tenacity
  • Being okay with irregular cash flow
  • Empathy
  • Being comfortable with uncertainty

Yvette Myhill networking interview

As part of the WAM conference, certain delegates were invited to do a networking speed date session with members of industry. Yvette Myhill is the Executive Director of the Association of Artist Manager’s (AAM). I wanted to speak to her in regards to managing Kraill and what is best to do. Firstly, she congratulated me on managing a band and starting a career in band management. YAY!!!

She basically just did an overview of what the AAM does and how AAM could help me as an emerging manager.

What AAM does:

  • Work side by side with organisations to educate and mentor
  • Lobby on behalf of music and managers to the government
  • Representation of managers on Music Industry Panel

How AAM can help me as an emerging manager:

  • Exclusive events and panels
  • International conference and industry discounts
  • Additional excess baggage through Virgin and Qantas
  • Discount bookkeeping and business management services
  • Discount on insurance

Basically was just a huge selling of why I should sign up for AAM. Has me convinced to sign up.

Richmond Street Records Blender Compilation CD

In order for bands and artists to be able to get on the Richmond Street Records Blender Compilation CD had to go through a submission process. The following process is what was used as the submission.
1. Get all students to submit tracks by Thursday 10th September 2015 at 5pm.
2. Voting by Richmond Street Records Management Committee on 11 September 2015 – 15 September 2015
3. Boom Radio Focus Group for submissions on 18 September 2015
4. Data entry for Boom radio submissions on 20 September 2015

The songs that were chosen were for the Blender Compilation CD are:
• Fall into the Dark – 404
• Velvet Moon – Nicholas Dangen
• Eaglewings- Wabisabi
• Sold my Soul – Scout
• Fireflies – Soapy Cactus
• Follow my Soul – Federico
• Heartbeats – Iridescent
• Seasons – east of Eden
• Side by Side – Tuscany
• Oyster – Compost Collective
• Tell me Why – friends for foes
• Hold On – Bad Habit
• Now – Tone Pilots
• Running in Circles – Distant Thinking
• I’m Out – Occasional Symmetry

I believe people who are working closely with the artists as well as people who would use their tracks for radio airplay justified the song choices because they represent votes. It shows a representation of people who are starting to work in the music as people either through radio, managing a band or representing a label.

Once the songs were chosen, the class into a song order arranged them for the CD. This took a while due to difference in opinion with a few people within the Diploma of Music Business class wanting certain songs in a certain order. From the arrangement of the songs on the CD the process to get the CD to print is as follows:
1. Get in contact with graphic designers for quotes
2. Choose a graphic designer to design artwork for CD
3. Listen to tracks to ensure no copyright has been violated of not offensive words have been used
4. Get track order in place
5. Send tracks to Diskbank
6. Get credits information of songs correct. This involved checking over the forms submitted with the tracks and speaking with the bands who are on the compilation CD
7. Send this information to the graphic designer

We received our copies of the 1000 CDs on Wednesday 11 November 2015 to the excitement of the Diploma of Music Business students at Central Institute of Technology and committee members on the Richmond Street Records. YAY!!

The Blender Compilation CD will be distributed from Thursday 26 November 2016 at the Central Music Industry Training Student Awards Night. The CD will be distributed through the following channels listed below
• At the Rosemount. As people enter the event, it will be handed out. There will also be people walking around the venue with CDs in their hands.
• On Central Institute of Technology’s Leederville campus
• CD Baby/ Tunecore as a free album
• In local businesses who have supported the event or support local music
• Through AMRAP. AMRAP will send out the CD to community radio around the country.

WAM Conference 2015

I found the WAM conference to be beneficial in learning information from music industry professionals as well as being able to network with them. Starting on Thursday 5 November 2015 was the WAM Awards at Jack Rabbit Slims. Amazing to such a crowd of talent and professionalism of the music industry. It was great to see who won each of the winners, win in their perspective genre or music position. The winners were
• BEST BLUES / ROOTS ACT – Morgan Bain – WINNER
• BEST COUNTRY ACT – Ruby Boots – WINNER
• BEST ELECTRONIC ACT – KUČKA – WINNER
• BEST EXPERIMENTAL ACT – KUČKA – WINNER
• BEST FOLK ACT – Jacob Diamond – WINNER
• BEST INDIGENOUS ACT – Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse – WINNER
• BEST JAZZ ARTIST – Ben Vanderwal – WINNER
• BEST METAL / HEAVY ACT – Voyager – WINNER
• BEST PUNK/HARDCORE ACT – Scalphunter – WINNER
• BEST POP ACT – Methyl Ethel – WINNER
• BEST ROCK ACT – Tired Lion – WINNER
• BEST URBAN ACT – Coin Banks – WINNER
• BEST WORLD MUSIC ACT – Grace Barbé – WINNER
• BEST ALBUM – Tame Impala – Currents – WINNER
• BEST EP – Tired Lion – Figurine – WINNER
• BEST SINGLE – Methyl Ethel – Twilight Driving – WINNER
• BEST RECORD LABEL – Spinning Top – WINNER
• MEDIA AWARD – Bob Gordon (X-Press Magazine) – WINNER
• GOLDEN WAMi – Andrew Ryan – WINNER

  • Winners of awards that were voted on by the public were:
    • MOST POPULAR ACT – Tame Impala – WINNER
    • MOST POPULAR NEW ACT – Koi Child – WINNER
    • MOST POPULAR LIVE ACT – Tame Impala – WINNER
    • MOST POPULAR MUSIC VIDEO – Tame Impala – Let It Happen – WINNER
    • MOST POPULAR VENUE – Mojos Bar – WINNER
    • MOST POPULAR MUSIC EVENT – St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival – WINNER

Friday 6 November 2015 started the first day of the conference. The Keynote where Sarah Tout interviews Fred Pessaro is the first seminar of the day. Fred is the editor at large for music at VICE. He provided some me with some useful information in regards to press releases. The useful information was

  • Know your audience
  • Know your media audience
  • Know how and how your audience will react to
  • Don’t send your press release out to everybody but rather send it to the right people
  • Bold information you want people to see first

The Biz: Starting a Successful Music Business was another seminar that I went to that did provide me with some information in which I could take away from. The Moderator was Scot Adam and the panellists that joined him were Tim Kelly, Bourby Webster, Adam Weston and Andrew Fuller. The information I was able to take away was:

  • Create a checklist for launches
  • Create a release campaign
  • Think about your brand and who your customers are
  • Have a structure in place to show income and expenditure
  • Have confidence in your business
  • Be upfront with your fees and don’t justify why you charged that
  • As your business grows focus on the things you can do and outsource the rest

The last seminar for Friday was Keep On Streaming. Sarah Chipman from Title Track was the moderator and the panellists were Andy Vincent from Spotify, Tim Kelly from Inertia, Mike O’Hanlan from Hipflask and Dan Cribb from themusic.com.au. What I took away from the seminar was:

  • Where each panellist looks for new music. This includes mates sending through links of bands/ artists they are into, digitally, pitching artists to labels, streaming, through who they have played live with and radio.
  • 25% of Spotify users skip after the first 5 seconds. As a result introductions in songs have become less important.
  • Australia is the 5 biggest English speaking country to be playing music on Spotify
  • What new artists need to do in order to sell/ stream music. They are
    • Understand the value of what they bring
    • Understand the problems they bring
    • How songs connect to their audience
    • There is no limit as to what you can do. Always push for more and what you can do to build it.
  • When servicing music overseas the area needs to be researched, it is expensive to send CDs overseas and that streaming is the best option to get your music overseas.

Saturday 7 November 2015 started with a seminar for Social Media. The Moderator was Anton Maz from WAAPA and the Panelists were Janelle Morse from Morse Code PR, Andrew Mathwin from Clarity Communications and Troy Mutton from Pilerats. This seminar answers the question ‘How can I increase reach and better engage with fans?’, as well as what is best to do and what not to do.

How can I increase reach and better engage with fans?

  • Know your audience and what they like. Think about the age of the audience and what they do.
  • Entertain people/ audience. Make sure it’s aligned with what you do.
  • Needs to be consistently personable.
  • Inspire your audience.

Info I got out of what is best to do and what not to do are:

  • Start with using just Facebook and Instagram
  • There are particular times of the day and the week to post on Facebook. In Australia 6am – 9am, 6pm – 10pm and on weekends is best time to post content. Internationally 3pm is the best time to post content.
  • Test and learn your budget
  • Don’t just boost post on Facebook. Take the time to learn ads manager
  • Get influences to talk on your behalf
  • Do not post negative status’
  • If in a band, use ‘we’ instead of ‘I’
  • Address negative comments
  • Response time to posts should be within a couple of hours and should be personal
  • Research cheats for Facebook.
  • Get friends onto Triple J Unearthed to review and listen to music
  • Have a variety of content coming on Facebook. Create a 30 day plan and post behind the scenes and gigs
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things

The last seminar of the day was called Recording: To DIY or Not To DIY. The Moderator was Anna Laverty, Coel Healy from Camp Doogs, Daniel Cribb from TheMusic.com.au and Mike O’Hanlon from Hipflask. There wasn’t too much I got out of this seminar as I found that Anna Laverty was the only one who could provide info and incites. What I could take out of the seminar was:

  •  Producers work on time management, budget management, know how long it will take and plan of what you want and when.
  • Focus in amazing songwriting rather than an amazing recording.
  • Provide references before the recording process starts
    • Get the books Mixing with the Mind by Michael Stavrey and Mixer Man

Peter Gauzelli networking interview

As part of the WAM conference, certain delegates were invited to do a networking speed date session with members of industry. My first session was with Peter Gauzelli from Department of Culture and the Arts. I spoke to him in regards to working with a band to get funding for a tour and an album, what is the best option to do fist for bands that haven’t been together for very long and briefly what needs to be provided.

He gave me some great tips on avenues to put forward to the band I manage; Kraill. These were
• Focus on getting more fans in Perth and regional Western Australia.
• Get merchandise done and out to sell to fans
• Focus on writing and recording an album before trying to tour over east.
• If I am to go for a grant on behalf of Kraill, I should apply for a grant for an album rather that one for touring.
• Get Kraill known on Triple J Unearthed by getting fans to listen, download and review

In order for Kraill to be able to focus on getting more fans, I asked them to be more active on social media. In particular I wanted them to focus on Facebook and Instagram as I wanted them to engage with more with their fans. 40% of posts are to be related to their music whilst the other 60% is general interactions. Photos of them at gigs and with fans are to be posted on both Facebook and Instagram. At gigs, Kraill will need to interact with their fans before and after their sets.

I have also started enquiring about merchandise places in Perth to get merch for Kraill. Once the designs have been done and stock has been ordered and received, it will be sold at gigs and online. Merch that Kraill want to get are
• Shirts
• Bottle open key ring
• Stickers
• Beanies
• Car sun shades
• Water pouches
• Inflatable can holders (for pools)
• Flashlight key ring

I was able to go to Kraill and propose these ideas to them. As a result, I was able to meet with them to start trying to put the tips in place. I started with getting Kraill to ask their fans to listen, download and review their tracks on Triple J Unearthed. As of today (Friday 13 November 2015) Kraill are sitting at number 80 (out of 100) on the overall charts and 22 (out of 25) on the rock charts. Kraill are pretty stoked about the result.