Lisa Bishop has worked for 25 years in the private, public & not-for-profit sectors across a range of industries including retail, transport, tourism, health and the arts. As General Manager of Music SA, Lisa brings a wealth of management expertise in the fields of governance, accounting, strategic planning, marketing, human resources and risk management. She has held leadership roles in government, has over 20 years experience as a Company Director and holds a Bachelor of Economics (Accounting) and a Graduate Diploma in Management (Arts). Lisa has most recently worked in film and TV, including the SBS TV series Danger 5 and has had a long association with the Media Resource Centre where she devised projects to develop emerging filmmakers and grow screen culture in SA. Lisa has first-hand knowledge of the trials and tribulations confronting SA musicians, having performed as a vocalist in Adelaide bands for 20 years. See what Lisa gets up to during her working week!
I am the General Manager of Music SA, a not-for-profit company devoted to supporting, promoting and developing emerging original contemporary musicians in SA, helping to nurture their career paths from the garage to the world stage. We run a whole series of exciting initiatives including education workshops, consulting sessions, performance opportunities around town, a website and socials, as well as the South Australian Music Awards and Umbrella: Winter City Sounds – a major city based live music festival in Adelaide. Music SA is also a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) offering nationally accredited courses in music and music business. As the General Manger I am responsible for RTO compliance, securing money (sponsorship, grants, philanthropy, fundraising), managing staff, reporting to my board, speaking with the media and keeping projects on track and within budget. My job is also strategic so I am often busy dealing with industry wide issues, liaising with local and national stakeholders all working cooperatively to better the contemporary music industry for artists and practitioners.
After taking my son to the dentist and dropping him at school, I arrive at the office to welcome our new Intern Jessi. I introduce her to the Music SA team and we go through her induction kit. The Chair of my board and myself managed to talk philanthropist Peter Hanlon into funding an annual intern for five years and Jessi won the opportunity from a wide pool of candidates. I then head off to Parliament House for a cup of tea with the Shadow Minister for the Arts and we chat about the 2018 election and the importance of a contemporary music policy. The afternoon involves a two hour information session with 50 emerging music curators and promoters as we chat about creative ideas to program as part of this year’s Umbrella: Winter City Sounds live music festival. Can’t wait to see what Steve’s program looks like – these people have awesomely creative ideas! Clear my inbox, write a list of priorities for the week and then head off to a Fringe show called Werewolves with my fellow Adelaide Fringe board members. So much fun I am going to run the same show for my staff and board.
Woke up early for a huge walk with the dog then spent the morning in the office writing simple Venue Factsheets that we will use as resources for an up-and-coming workshop called “Working with Venues”, to be run with the Australian Hotels Association. In Adelaide live music is key to a musician’s livelihood, with 80% of gigs played in bricks and mortar venues. Then my Marketing Manager Skye and I popped into Channel 9 and the SA Tourism Commission to talk sponsorship and marketing plans for Umbrella. At 6pm it’s off to the Grace Emily Hotel, to celebrate the induction of this iconic live music venue into the Adelaide Music Collective Hall of Fame. Left early to attend band practice (I sing). Collapsed into bed at 11pm and it’s only Tuesday!
Off to Fowler’s Live for a Live Music Summit being run by the Adelaide City Council. Heard from a really interesting panel of guests including Hannah from the City of Melbourne, John from the Live Music Office and the Director of Music Programming in Germany. Back in the office to meet with a female musician who wanted to discuss her experience of sexual harassment in the music industry. Music SA’ s Industry Development Manager Emma is planning a workshop around these issues in April. Finished writing an insurance sponsorship proposal for Aon then met with my Umbrella staff Nicole, Steve and Skye to go through priorities. Left at 6pm for a function at the Town Hall to welcome UNESCO guests visiting Adelaide during the festival season. Adelaide has been designated a UNESCO City of Music so lots of opportunities to discuss international collaboration.
Dropped the kids at school with a quick classroom visit and then spent the morning clearing my inbox. Had a teleconference with the Australian Music Industry Network (state and territory representatives from peak music bodies) and discussed the LOVE LIVE MUSIC competition and plans for a new development program for artist managers. At midday went down to visit the Minister for Education Simon Birmingham with the incredible folk at APRA AMCOS who run the Song Makers program. The Minister was very receptive to the idea of teaching song writing in schools. Went back to the office for our weekly staff meeting in the courtyard of the The Jade nightclub. I love my team – they are so switched on and hard working, always out and about seeing local music. Travelled to the ABC radio studio for an interview on 891 with afternoon presenter Sonya Feldoff who runs a “live music this week” session where I get to spruik local musicians playing around town.
Morning meeting with Maria from the Australian Independent Recording Labels Association (AIR). She’s in town to plan for the national AIR Awards to be held in Adelaide as part of Umbrella music festival. So exciting! Spoke with Music SA’s Head of Training Matt to go through RTO enrolments and compliance issues. Then met with the Adelaide Beer and BBQ festival to talk about their music line-up and cooperative marketing opportunities. Cleared my inbox and updated the Cashflow Statement with February actuals. Then headed off to the Clipsal After Race Concert to see a hip hop line up including Seth Sentry and the Hilltop Hoods. Music SA ran a competition called Bands on Track to find local support acts to play along side the headliners at the Race Concert. Finished the night off with another Fringe show with the guys from APRA AMCOS and the Music Development Office.
Always chasing money. Being a not-for-profit actually means being a not-for-loss so I am constantly trying to find money to run the programs that support musicians. Writing grant applications can be very time consuming. A good General Manager needs to be financially literate and watch every dollar. Personally the biggest the challenge is finding time for my family, particularly when there are so many after hour functions and a need to keep your finger on the pulse by attending local gigs. Fortunately, this long weekend is all about WOMAD so I get to take my kids along with me. It’s our annual family music outing.
People, people, people. If you love them then the music industry is a great career choice.
I’m an introvert at heart so this job requires me to almost constantly masquerade as an extrovert. By the end of the week I am exhausted and just want some “me alone” time so that I can re-energise and be ready for the next working week. Often this is difficult to explain to my kids who crave my attention, especially when I am also trying to fit in exercise.
Words of wisdom
If you are planning a career in music management at a senior level then don’t be in such a rush to get there. Spend some time and a period of consolidation in more junior roles and you will develop the skills and knowledge to future proof yourself. In the music industry this often means volunteering long hours. Being in senior roles requires making decisions about people and money and this often demands a good handle on the politics of a situation. Be diplomatic and professional. The music industry is small so only ever say something about someone that you would be prepared to say to their face. Don’t buy into bitchiness when it’s so much more gratifying to work amicably to achieve goals. Also keep your expectations reasonable, work hard and find yourself a mentor who is older and who you respect. You can sometimes feel isolated in a senior role so it’s good to have someone to chat to when you need advice. Most importantly, recognise that you are only ever as good as the team you surround yourself with, so make sure you take the time to recruit the best people. This is true for artists as well. Your support team is vital to your success, so too is your ability to remain professional and friendly to everyone … from the stage crew to the journalist asking that annoying question, to your fans and your manager. Enjoy!
Did you enjoy this Week In The Life Of? Read more HERE