A Week In The Life Of An… Online Music Distributor, Sarah Hamilton

Sarah Hamilton

Sarah Hamilton is international company Ditto Music‘s Client Manager for Australia, a FREEZA mentor, as well as one of the founders of the One Of One initiative, a web presence shining a light on women in Australian music.

Sarah is adept at switching between multiple roles in the industry: rolling out PR campaigns, organising digital distribution, sourcing new material from an A&R perspective, networking with others in the industry, as well as helping to manage musicians’ careers.

A week in Sarah’s life is as action-packed as you can imagine, but Sarah’s balanced attitude and love for her job shine through.

Monday

6am – wake up! My boyfriend Ben lives in the burbs (right near Ramsay Street actually where Neighbours is filmed and Toadfish Rebecchi used to hang out!) so I drive back in to my place in Brunswick to beat the traffic.

7am – go for a jog with my friend Elleni – a wonderful music and wedding photographer. About a year ago I decided I wanted to be a jogger – I did 5k last year and now aiming for 10k. I never (hardly) bail on Elleni because I like our chats about creativity, business, life etc and having that accountability means I get up even though I hate mornings. It’s a good start to the week as there’s a killer sunrise with hot air balloons.

8.30 – read emails over breakfast.

9.45 – at my desk ready for the day.

10am – get an awesome call from one of our artists who we did a PR campaign with, which has led to some amazing opportunities. This one is currently under embargo so I can’t speak about it yet, but he has huge things coming his way! He’s the only independent artist as a part of something, where everyone else has labels, managers etc. Goes to show that indies really can get great things happening if they create awesome music and get on board with people who believe in their music!

10.30 – 1.30 – emails, emails, emails. Putting together campaigns for artists, quotes, fixing up any distro issues, answering questions. We get weird and wonderful requests and no two artists/emails/days are the same. It’s a lot of fun.

1.30 – lunch at my desk while I read all about Apple Music, and what it will mean for the music industry. Crazy times!

2pm – go and buy new headphones. Mine broke on the weekend, and I cannot EXIST without music.

2.30-5.30 – phone calls, emails, setting up Beatport labels for our electronic artists. Contacting new bands and listening to stuff on Triple J Unearthed.

5.30 – meeting with alt country legends Raised by Eagles.

7pm – go to Ben’s place for dinner. He used to be a chef, so I’m pretty lucky! We are both so busy, we literally have to plan out our weeks every Sunday and figure out when we can see each other.

Tuesday

6am – awoken by Ben’s 3 kids – help them get ready for school. It’s pretty manic but also fun. Kudos to all the working parents out there though – not an easy gig!

9.30 – at my desk ready for work.

11am – Skype call with one of our artists in LA called Doctrin about a new PR campaign for an upcoming single and her release plan. Emails, calls, helping artists out. We have some awesome stuff coming through right now, so I organize some featured artist interview questions so we can put them up on the blog.

2pm – putting together plans for a new campaign we have coming up that we’re really excited about! Social media, PR, release strategy for an artist that reminds us of Ellie Goulding, but she’s from Sydney. Starting to map out calendars, when we will release, pre-orders, putting it all together into a structured campaign takes a bunch of work.

4pm – I also got asked to judge the Music NT Song of the Year Awards, so I listen to a HEAP of music from NT. Some of it is great! Lots of didgeridoos, also some really interesting fusions of electronic music and organic elements. Then some funny stuff about utes. It’s a fun soundtrack for the afternoon!

6.30 – Skype call with London office and Sydney artist. As we are an international company, we have heaps of out-of-hours Skype calls, but it’s great to connect with the guys in the UK and US.

7.30 – there’s a workshop in The HUB tonight – on grants, and touring. We work from a ‘music hub’ set up by White Sky Music Accountants – basically we share an office space with a bunch of other music companies including Client Liaison’s Manager, Bolster Music, The Seed, QSIC and Moshtix. It’s super fun. Today we did a CLASSIC office prank – a producer in the office had been waiting for a new computer to be delivered, it was today. We replaced it with an old retro box of a thing and packaged it all up again. He was SO excited and it was pretty hilarious when he opened up his ‘new’ computer to find a 1980s-looking chunky thing.

8pm – make sure all of the content for One of One has been added to the website, we have a photo ready to go, and it’s all lined up for Thursday’s post. Answer emails, social media, check in with a few ladies we have previously interviewed. Have a chat with Jo (currently in the USA) and Vader about any new ideas and answer any emails.

10.30pm – bed. I used to stay up until 1am most nights but can now go to bed a bit earlier. Try to read a book so I’m not staring at my computer screen more than I have to!

Wednesday

7am – jog with Elleni.

8.30 meet my friend Cassie for chats and a meeting. She was one of our last One of One interviews – a busy lady who does a million things so we grab a takeaway coffee and she drives me to work so we can chat!

10am – meeting with an exciting new band who have built their own studio, been working on material for 5 years. They’ve got their album finished and now they’re looking for the next steps. Positive, great meeting about what we can do to help at Ditto.

12 – 2 emails!

2pm – lunch at desk and read some blogs, check the Twittersphere.

3 – 4pm – artist meeting with a wonderful artist that can count Ryan Adams as a fan – Krista Polvere, to discuss her latest release.

4-5pm – meeting with Semplesize – a Melbourne blog that we love.

5-6pm – more emails and a few calls.

7pm – dinner with some old workmates at a burger joint in the city. They’re going so well, it’s ace to see them so happy! My friend Jarrod just proposed to his girlfriend at the The Corner Hotel (where they met) so I pump him for all the super sweet details. I’ve just started a weird, super restrictive diet called the Low FODMAP diet (it’s full on) so I have a burger in a lettuce bun and feel like a bit of a dick.

10pm – home for a (relatively) early night.

Thursday

9.30am – at my desk answering emails and some calls.

11am – meeting with Mel from Stage Door – we are sponsoring the ‘Stage Door’ competition, so she comes in to pick up some certificates and flyers etc.

1pm – lunch with my friend Tilly who I actually met at Big Sound! We go with our awesome vegan intern Etti and Anthony who works with me on an adventure to the newly opened Smith and Deli – a vegan Deli in Fitzroy. I’m not vegan but I love trying new food, it was great!

2.30pm – setup labels on Beatport, emails and put together some release plans and strategies, along with some quotes for bands.

3pm – post our One of One interview with Jane Gazzo and do all of the social media posts. Our One of One process is a well-oiled machine now, and there’s 3 of us doing it (Joanna Cameron, Vader Fame and myself) so we have the system down pat!

3.30pm – emails. I live in emails.

5.30 – artist meeting with The Ugly Kings – these guys are great! We talk strategy and release plan, and what we can do at Ditto. They show us their unreleased video – it’s awesome and we get excited.

6.30pm – dinner with my mentee, and a few other mentors and mentees. I am a FREEZA mentor, as are a few friends, so we thought we’d have a dinner so everyone could meet each other and network and all that biz.

7.30pm TRIVIA AT THE PUB! I love trivia. We have a group from work that go and it’s super fun. I’m generally not super competitive, except when I play trivia. It’s a bit scary.

10pm – drop by the Evelyn for one of our bands – Jack and the Kids. They’re great guys and it’s a really good set.

Friday

7am jog with Elleni.

9.30am – at my desk, working on the blog posts, newsletter, getting some things ready for the following week as I’ll be away in Darwin at the Music NT In Tune Music Conference. I work on my presentation – we do guest lectures and presentations pretty regularly, but I need to make some changes already because things change so quickly in the digital world!

12 midday – my brother, sister-in-law and nephew have driven up from Canberra to visit me. I’m so excited! We grab lunch and I give them a quick tour of the office – my 2 year old nephew Isaac is the cutest thing out, with his blonde hair and blue eyes.

1pm – artist meeting.

2.30pm – emails.

3pm – meeting with a label that I met at a panel session – he has some great bands he’s working with, so we discuss how to get them to the next stage.

4.30 – 6pm – get the newsletter sent out, work on some PR strategy for new clients and wrap up the presentation. Try and ensure things are ready for me being away next week, I have great people on the team – Anthony and Vader – so I know the Ditto Oz office is in great hands!

7pm – would usually have some drinks and see a band, but my family is in town so I hang with them.

Saturday

As above. I miss my family heaps, so when they visit me, I soak it allllll in! A friend’s awesome band Darts is playing at Shadow Electric and I would usually go, but I instead read my nephew bedtime stories, hang with my bro and his wife. It’s a very wholesome and lovely Saturday night!

Sunday

Say goodbye to my family after an amazing brunch at East Elevation in Brunswick, and head to the Community Cup for some football that I don’t understand, a sausage sizzle and some live bands. It’s a beautiful day for the Cup with the sun shining!

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