Advice for myself on my journey of writing

Over the last few months I have been thinking a lot more about my future, particularly my career and what I would like that too look like. I have always wanted to work in the music industry, however what area in the music industry has always changed. Since I have started studying at Curtin University, I have come to the realisation that I am really enjoying studying journalism and web media. I am finding myself wanting to graduate from uni and become a journalist as well as working with artists and bands providing PR services.

I found myself looking up ways to enhance my skills within public relations and journalism. Whilst looking up these skills, I found myself writing lists of the skills and knowledge I need to possess by the time I graduate. With these lists written, I was researching ways I could best implement them. This has lead into the writing of this blog post; the advice I give myself on my journey of writing (and to those who are interested). For most of this writing journey it will be directed at the music industry, however it may expand into other areas depending on if a topic sparks curiosity.

So here it goes; my advice to myself…

  • Write because you love the topic otherwise don’t bother.
  • Be confident in what you write
  • Be open to change and be willing to adapt when needed
  • Meet all your deadlines
  • Write everyday…. this may be hard but I will definitely be trying my best
  • Write before the world wakes up
  • Take every writing assignment offered to you
  • Have someone give you a topic. Write everything that possibly comes to mind in a five minute span. (this is supposed to train the brain to think and write simultaneously… or so I have been told)
  • Involve yourself in the music making process. This could be hanging out with musicians in the studio or backstage.
  • Do a lot of interviews
  • Go to a lot of shows and review them
  • Write album reviews
  • Analyse an album and pitch to http://333sound.com
  • Write a personal essay exploring the connection you have with a single song
  • Frequently visit blogs that interest you. For me this is music blogs as I am passionate about music.
  • Spend an hour or so going through your Twitter feed of major music publications
  • Create an artist profile/s
  • Create an annotated mixtape for a friend.
  • Study music scenes. I would look at bands/musicians I like, where they created their music, other bands/ musicians in the area and what the local music scenes are like
  • Write music for yourself. One day I may be able to share with the world, the works I am proud of.
  • Create and maintain contacts within the music industry and as a journalist.

Whilst this advice will hard to achieve, with hard work I believe that I will become a better writer. I will become more confident in myself and will have picked up skills necessary for a career as a journalist and public relations services.

 

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.

Breakfast with Peter Garrett

Monday 19th October 2015, Western Australian Music or WAM held a Breakfast with Peter Garrett at the Duxton Hotel. This was to launch the long awaited autobiography called Big Blue Sky. The breakfast brought about Garrett talking about parts of his life in a question and answer format allowed for the audience to have more of an understanding of his music career, his environmental activism and is political career.

It was extremely interesting breakfast to have. Hearing Garrett speak about what Midnight Oil stood for and the political and social aspects that affected him; most of which he wrote about in his songs. Also to have band members who had very similar views and how this helped to create songs with the same meaning for all of them. As Garrett moved away from Midnight Oil, the public saw his activism towards the environment and his shift into politics, especially that of the Labor Party. It was particularly interesting to hear about all the work that he had done with the Labor Party that the public had not heard of. Policies and changes that he had started which had been taken over by another party member. To hear him speak about culture and the arts and how it was difficult at times, due to the backlash received as a result of being in Midnight Oil. This was often due to differences of opinion.

Garrett is a highly intelligent and speaks very articulately to his audience. It is captivating to listen to him speak, especially about the things that he is so passionate about. A truly inspiring man, one that makes me more passionate about wanting to make it into the music industry and be highly successful. He makes me excited to want to read his book, see what his life has been about and hopefully be able to take some of what he has done professionally and apply it to my own career… This is something I will keep you updated with in the future; when I have read the book and found things I want to apply to my career.

Definitely recommend seeing him speak next time he does a talk or function of some sought. Breakfast with Peter Garrett

Interview with Bourby Webster, Director of North Street Music

As you may or may not know, North Street Music provides a variety of different services to musicians. These include

  • Concert Promotion
  • Venue Programming
  • Session Musicians
  • Artist Services which include Business Skills courses and consulting, performance training, festival programming, representation/ management
  • Studio and Recording Services

Having spoken with Bourby late last week, she has provided me with incite into owning a business within the music industry. I asked her four questions, in which were

  1. What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of owning North Street Music?
  2. What motivated you to start North Street Music?
  3. What are the major difficulties in owning North Street Music?
  4. What do you consider to be key personal attributes required for small business owners?

The advice I got is as follows.

The advantages of owning North Street Music was that Bourby

  • Has complete control over what she does work wise. There is freedoms in what she wants her North Street Music to focus on
  • Has the ability to fulfil a dream of hers
  • Has flexibility in hours and choice of what projects she wants to work on
  • Is able to take full responsibility of she does
  • Is able to choose who she employs

The disadvantages of owning North Street Music is that Bourby

  • Has to do everything herself
  • Has to do all operational and strategic planning
  • Has no holidays

Bourby had a few inspirational motivations for starting North Street Music. These include

  • Wanting to make a difference within the music industry in Australia and the UK
  • Wanting to help musicians out
  • Wanting to share talent and
  • Wanting a job that meant something to her

She does have difficulties with owning her own business. These are

  • Working with musicians. This is difficult as she finds it hard to help people who don’t know how and cant help them. As a result, Bourby runs business skills and music event skills course to up skill musicians.
  • Finding ways to survive. As Bourby owns her own business, there is no guaranteed income.

Personal attributes Bourby considers key are

  • To be brave – Business owners need to be able to pick up the phone to anyone and to face things you don’t know or understand
  • Be unbelievably disciplined – need to ensure everything is completed by deadlines and to keep on top of all tasks at hand
  • To be incredible with time management
  • To love admin

Just listening to Bourby speak I could hear her passion for the music industry and everything that she does through North Street Music. She is a wonderful example of the person I would aspire to be… hardworking, dedicated and passionate about what she believes in.

Interview with Graham Wood – Director of The Ellington Jazz Club

Located on 191 Beaufort Street, Perth, Western Australia, The Ellington Jazz Club provides an array of jazz and contemporary talent in an intimate environment. Artists/ bands who have performed at The Ellington Jazz Club include

  • Jamie Oehlers
  • Libby Hammer
  • Carl Mackey
  • Helen Shanahan
  • Sydnee Carter
  • And so many more

Having spoken with Graham Wood late last week, he has provided me with incite into owning a business within the music industry. 4 questions were asked and he provided awesome answers for each. Questions and answers are as follows

  1. What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of owning The Ellington Jazz Club?

Graham’s advantages were that it he wanted an opportunity to showcase local musicians and provide a good environment to do so. His disadvantages were

  • High risk
  • A lot of work and planning
  • Having a benchmark for musician playing standards
  • Keeping an eye on reality versus the music industry
  1. What motivated you to start The Ellington Jazz Club?

Graham’s motivation for opening The Ellington Jazz Club was due to a lack of venues within Perth who don’t play non-rock music.

  1. What are the major difficulties in owning The Ellington Jazz Club?

Graham stated quite a few different reasons as to what the difficulties of owning The Ellington Jazz Club. These are

  • As a live performance venue Graham is trapped between being close to city and accessibility to the venue
  • Cost of rent versus the location. The closer The Ellington Jazz Club gets to Perth CBD the more rent costs, however on the other hand being to far away from Perth CBD means that traffic in and out of the venue is potentially compromised.
  • Never ends. There is never a night off
  • Always has to be music, audience and staff within the venue
  • The Ellington Jazz Club has to be successful most nights in order for it to continue keeping its doors open
  • Artistically, The Ellington Jazz Club has to occasionally compromise and play commercial music to provide what people want
  1. What do you consider to be key personal attributes required for small business owners?

Graham provides a few great points that are required for small business owners of venues. These are

  • Have to have strategic vision & plan
  • Goal about what you are doing. This goal needs to be communicated to staff and the audience
  • Have good brand
  • Ensure that marketing and business plans are in place
  • Venue owners have to be in it for long hall

Listening to Graham speak about The Ellington Jazz Club, it is clear that he puts a lot of time and effort into ensuring that Perth has an amazing venue for musicians to play at.