Amy Hetherington is Marketing and Communications Officer for MusicNT, the Northern Territory’s state music industry body. MusicNT supports and provides for the growing music community in ‘The Top End’, with a vast program including music industry and skill development workshops, the Bush Bands program, Desert Divas & Sista Sounds, intune music conference (dates on our event calendar), and the National Indidenous Music Awards. Amy’s busy role with Music NT requires her to be across all these big projects and more to run MusicNT’s social media, promotions, photography and video production. And she manages to do it all part-time!
With a bright, can-do attitude that comes across even in her writing below, Amy clearly cares a great deal about serving her community, having worked on National Youth Week and regularly running free Media Makers workshops to inspire young media workers. She was a finalist for the Pride of Australia Medal in 2013 for her work at Media Makers, was chosen as NT state finalist in 2014’s Australian of the Year Awards, and she also doubles as a filmmaker, recently taking home Best Music Video at 2014’s Fist Full of Films for Budju, the fun-filled clip for indie rockers Pole Top Rescue. In addition to all this, Amy is currently involved in development and coordination of Top End Comedy, Darwin’s online comedy scene hub…and even recently won NT’s Raw Comedy Final with her solo stand-up routine. Phew. I want to have this lady over for a cup of tea – could she be any more inspirational?
Amy details a week in her fun role, below…
I’m not going to lie – I’ve got a pretty sweet gig. As the Marketing and Communications Officer for MusicNT, my role is to help promote, support and celebrate the Northern Territory music scene. MusicNT is the peak body representing and servicing the musicians and music industry in the Northern Territory – an extremely isolated, diverse and passionate music scene. We run workshops, programs and awards to engage artists and support their musical careers from grass roots music workshops for Indigenous women in remote communities, to the NT Song of the Year Awards and intune music conference. As the Marketing and Communications Officer I have a varied gig that covers everything MusicNT does. It includes running 10 social media channels, maintaining websites, writing media releases, providing marketing advice for NT musicians, taking photos and producing video content, engaging with key stakeholders and spreading the word about the immense talent in the NT with the rest of Australia… yeah, like I said, it’s a sweet gig.
I’m only part-time at MusicNT so my work is fit into three days…. Three very hectic days.
Then onto Social Media. I jump onto Facebook and check any communications, engagements and issues. I schedule posts for the week for the five Facebook Pages I coordinate and make sure there’s flexibility there to add new news as it comes up. I also keep an eye on Facebook Groups such as Darwin Music Scene and Alice Springs Music Scene to answer any questions and provide advice – these groups are like a forum and there’s always something happening.
This week the monthly MusicNT eNews goes out so I get cracking on that. I create content on the MusicNT website such as news stories on grants, showcase applications, festival spots and competitions and link these stories into the eNews. The eNews goes to a couple of thousand musicians and music industry peeps, so it takes time to get right – nothing worse than a typo!
Today I’ve also contacted a bunch of NT artists to encourage them to submit songs to FRESH MiNT. It’s a monthly zine I coordinate that features five fresh tracks from the Territory each issue. I love this initiative, it’s a great way to showcase some of the NT’s hottest new acts and I get to hear all the new music coming out of this place.
The rest of the day consists of emails, phone calls, drafting media releases for upcoming events, updating the website and answering questions on social media. In the afternoon, I help the Territory Jazz and Blues Festival judge their Young Support Act competition, and tee up a bunch of radio spots to promote the opening of the NT Song of the Year Awards. To finish off, I design a poster for a Electronic Music Workshop that MusicNT is running in Alice Springs, and create some sponsors banner images for the National Indigenous Music Awards website.
I don’t usually work these days, but this week I’m heading to Alice Springs. These are the driving days to get 1,497km down the Stuart Highway. The NT’s such a huge place, and we look after artists from the Top End to the Central Desert region (plus the many communities in between). MusicNT has offices in Darwin and Alice Springs, and for the rest of the week I’m working out of the Alice office. This allows me to focus on Alice Springs projects, and it means I’m in town for the epic Wide Open Space Festival!
Because I’m in the Alice Springs office, I take advantage of having the Central Australian team around me and work on the projects that they focus on. This begins with promoting registrations for the Bush Bands program. We get applications from Indigenous bands from across Central Australia for this program. It’s an opportunity for remote bands to learn skills from music industry, participate in intense rehearsal sessions, and then perform in front of thousands at a huge concert in Alice Springs. Today I’m contacting as many people as possible to spread the word about applications. I’m also teeing up radio spots and news stories to extend that reach.
I then move onto promoting the NT Song of the Year Awards. Entries close on June 1, but in true Territory style everyone will leave it to the last minute to enter! I spend today contacting artists and encouraging them to get their entries in, and also contacting the artists who are working on new music to give them the deadline – a little bit of encouragement to finish those recordings.
I spend a bit of time today helping the Alice Springs team with some external documents and reports – I’m the formatting queen here – and make sure all our communications, documents and forms have the same style, language and layout (the joys of branding).
In addition to this, registrations have now opened for the intune music conference and I’m setting up the Eventbrite forms and the making sure the website is ready for showcase applications. I’m also working on a promotional video for the conference to explain to musicians and music industry workers why they ought to attend the conference. I’m a filmmaker/photographer by trade, so I always have my camera with me for MusicNT events and document as much as I can – it all helps to create meaningful, engaging content that shows off the great music we have in the NT.
I continue with the social media, updating the website and media releases. I provide a bunch of venue contacts to some touring artists and help a heavy metal band from Alice Springs write a media release. Good week.
This weekend I go to as many live music gigs in Alice Springs as I can. Got to make the most if it while I’m down here. There’s a great energy in town, with the NT Festival season about to kick off.
I love this gig. I love the music and the people in the NT. I love the flexibility MusicNT offers me with part-time work (I run a little filmmaking business on the side). And I love the MusicNT team – they work really hard to create a suite of programs that are much bigger than our small not-for-profit organisation.
I mean it when I say this: the MusicNT 2015 Program is bigger than Ben Hur. We have so many initiatives and support so many artists… it’s hard to fit it all into three days. I’d love to be able to help everyone and promote everything… but I’m certainly learning the value in being strategic, and the importance of knowing your limitations.
Words of Wisdom
You can’t keep everyone happy. As hard as I’ve tried, it’s just not possible. There’ll always be someone who disagrees with a program or an initiative, or someone who feels that they’re missing out (especially with awards and opportunities). And although these people can be the most ‘vocal’, it’s important not to get caught up in the negativity. You’ve got to take time out to see the positive difference you make and the people who appreciate your work.
Watch Amy’s TEDxYouth talk below!