Melbourne-based Sabrina Roberstson is a beacon of light in the music industry! Wearing her many hats in music management, music publishing and music writing it’s obvious she was the deserving recipient of The Lighthouse Award by APRA AMCOS earlier this year. Initially joining Native Tongue Music Publishing as an intern, she has now made her self at home with the company as Creative Coordinator. Sabrina also spends her time writing at Mismatch.TV and managing Alexander Biggs at her management and publicity company Maths & Magic! She is also one of our esteemed video mentors here at Music Industry Inside Out. Check out her self-intro and links to her course videos here.
We had the pleasure of catching Sabrina for a Week In The Life Of during her time at CHANGES. Read on to find out how she juggles her busy schedule.
Your Job Description (in your own words)
I’m the Creative Coordinator at Native Tongue Music Publishing. My role encompasses a variety of responsibilities (licensing, servicing, writer relations, website & social media). Put simply, I’m the gatekeeper of music. I’m responsible for all music that we receive, and all music we service to music supervisors, producers, sub-publishers and international networks.
Outside of the full-time job, I also have my own music management and publicity company, Maths & Magic, and currently manage Alexander Biggs. I’m also the editor of a Melbourne music blog Mismatch.TV.
Monday hasn’t quite started the way I wanted it to. I find myself in a doctor’s waiting room before work. Tonsillitis, the doctor confirms. Armed with antibiotics I head into work and get stuck into clearing my inbox. I work through until lunchtime, until my boss Jaime Gough sends me home and I get a much needed afternoon nap in.
I’m currently a mentor for The Push Inc’s Music Industry Pathways and have arranged dinner with my mentee Kelly. The Push are an incredible Victorian youth music organisation, and as a previous mentee, it’s an honour to be involved as a mentor for the second year in a row. Kelly is working on a release plan and launch show for the act she manages, Telescreen, so over dinner we chat through her ideas.
I’m at work a bit earlier this morning to work on a brief from a music supervisor. I’ve sent it out to the catalogues we represent, and want to collate their ideas before our general meeting commences.
Our weekly general meeting is a chance for all the departments to give an overview of their activities. We Skype in Cecil Coleman (Client Relations) from our Sydney office, and Pennie Black (Licensing & Admin) from our Auckland office.
It’s not uncommon for me to do some management work on my lunch breaks (and early mornings, and late nights). Alexander Biggs is releasing a new single next Friday, July 13, and we just got the news that we locked in a premiere with Triple J. I’m also signing off final artwork for the EP.
In the afternoon I join Jaime Gough (Managing Director) and Hazel Gordon (Creative Assistant) for a meeting with a manager. He represents a couple of our writers and gives us a great rundown of what’s happening with each of them for the remainder of the year. We get to hear some early demos for a forthcoming record, and it’s very exciting.
After work, I head to the CHANGES delegate welcome event at Bakehouse. Kate Duncan (The Push Inc. CEO) and Helen Marcou (Bakehouse) do a brilliant job of hosting the night. The event is celebrating the launch of the festival’s inaugural year and also acknowledges the efforts of the team in pulling it all together. We get treated to a short set by Didirri, before helping ourselves to some delicious food.
I’m awake early for APRA AMCOS’ breakfast event. Head of Member Services Jana Gibson and CEO Dean Ormston give a fantastic overview of APRA AMCOS’ focuses for the next financial year before the conference kicks off. Having recently been awarded The Lighthouse Award by APRA AMCOS, it’s a brilliant opportunity for me to thank the team in person. (Plus I can’t say no to coffee.)
When I get into the office, I’m focused on sending Nikki Rastas (Copyright & Royalties Assistant) the final audio link for the Circular before my 10:30am meeting. The Copyright team are sending an update to our sub-publishers and need the audio to go along with the registrations.
Our Creative meeting takes place on Wednesday mornings. It kicks off with listening to a playlist of some recently received music, before moving into a discussion about upcoming releases, servicing, and recent pitches.
I get lost in emails, and before I know it’s 5:30pm. I leave work to help Alexander Biggs load into Yah Yah’s. After soundcheck, I go get some dinner before heading back to the venue. The room is full of new and familiar faces by the time Alexander and his band get on stage. Alexander plays a handful of new songs from his forthcoming sophomore EP, and I’m so happy with how they’re sounding.
This is the point where I give a shout out to my friend Gemma (check out her podcast Australian Jams). Knowing I’m still sick, she helps the band load out, gives me approximately 5 minutes to say my hello/goodbye to various people in the room*, and then drives me home and tells me to go to bed.
*It took longer than 5 minutes, and a bit of convincing, but I left as fast as I could. Promise.
I’m taking part in CHANGES later this morning, so I work from home for an hour and make a start on the inbox.
Coffee in hand, I catch up with Will Evans (Bandcamp), Bec Young (Collective Artists) and Georgia Cooke (Remote Control) before our Hear Me Out session starts. Over the course of an hour, I meet with 8 different musicians/managers with each playing me a song to discuss. Time goes really quickly, and before I know it the session is over.
I race over to catch the rest of the Music Passport: Live America panel, before grabbing some lunch and checking in on my Native Tongue emails. After lunch I sit in on the Music Passport: Syncing America panel. Native Tongue works with two of the international speakers on the panel, Markell Casey (Pulse Music Group) and Danielle Levy (Big Deal Music), and they both give great insight into their roles and the sync world.
From 3pm-5pm, I’m in management mode. The incredible team at Sounds Australia have organized some meetings for me with the international US delegates. Having recently returned from The Great Escape in the UK with Alexander Biggs, I can’t stress enough the importance of Sounds Australia, and how hard the team work.
My heart wants to go to the networking drinks to see Native Tongue writers High Tension perform, and then head to the Select Music showcase. But my tonsillitis has other plans, so I send my exhausted self home for the night.
I take the opportunity to sleep in and get into work a bit later. It’s the first week of July, so my main task today is reporting. This job takes up the majority of my day.
Normally on a Friday night, I’d be heading to a gig. There’s three on tonight that I want to go to, but focusing on my health is important, so I head home instead. I remind myself I’m seeing a gig tomorrow – Native Tongue writer Kuren at The Workers Club.
The week has been very busy, so once home I spend an hour or so replying to some management emails. Then call it a night.
If you need to understand licensing and copyright, why not check out our excellent course here! Sabrina is actually one of our esteemed video mentors
Challenges and Accomplishments in your week?
Getting sick was the biggest challenge. But for the most part, I was still able to achieve almost everything I wanted to get completed.
Highlights of the job
I work with some incredibly hard-working, and supportive people at Native Tongue. They’re like a second family to me. I’m proud to work with our talented roster of writers and catalogues, and I feel like I’m constantly learning in my role.
I also consider myself lucky to work with Alexander Biggs. He’s a brilliant songwriter, and I’m regularly inspired by him. I’m thankful for the team we have built around his music.
Lowlights of the job
Sometimes I wish I had an extra few hours a day.
Words of wisdom for people considering a job in your field
Surround yourself with those who push, motivate, and support you. Be mindful of those who give you their time, and give back to the community when you can.
If you would like to learn the ways of music publishing make sure to check out the course here!
And if you’re keen to read more stories about the kinds of work people do in their day-to-day music industry roles, head to the “A Week In The Life Of…” archives!