The life of a musician can be a tough one, and it can be even tougher when you try and make it on your own. A word of advice, DON’T! We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the music industry is a collaborative one. As much as you want to succeed as an individual, the best way to make an impact is work with, and not against your fellow music industry peeps.
But the big question is, who do you need on your team to help you progress your musical career? We sat down and asked some seasoned industry pros. These guys (and girls) are especially equipped to answer the million-dollar question; as some are sitting on the panel for “Got Music? What Next?” a discussion event running as part of the upcoming Brunswick Music Festival, organised by N Music Victoria.
Who are these professionals, you ask? Drumroll please….
JUSTIN RUDGE– Venue Booker, Spotted Mallard
I’m a venue booker. I love my job, but it can be a very thankless task at times! The level of attention to detail required to avoid issues on show day, to the sheer amount of people in regular contact can be quite daunting. The joy is watching artists build, exposure to new music, and seeing a full room enjoy a show you have booked. My job is to make people happy!
TRISTAN LUDOWYK – Label Director, HopeStreet Recordings
I’m a co-founder of a record label, as well as a recording engineer/producer (and musician). As the label manager I look after everything from A&R to royalty accounting, vinyl manufacture to artist mentoring.
VANESSA BASSILI – Venue Booker, Howler
I am a venue booker. My role is to book acts into our band room and liaise with artists/their teams to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible for everyone involved. This requires keeping up to date with a huge spectrum of artists who would be suitable for our sized room, coming up with ideas and pitching them to bands/agents/promoters, having a good ear and knowing what will work well within the space is vital. Being a venue booker involves a lot of calendar management, clear communication and of course having the ability to see around corners, problem solve and remain calm!
LAURA IMBRUGLIA- Project Marketing Manager, Music Victoria
Music Victoria is an independent not-for-profit organisation and the state peak body for contemporary music. We are here to represent musicians, music businesses and professionals, and music lovers! For a small yearly membership fee (starting at $33/yr for individuals), you can access our raft of aforementioned discounts, plus gain access to our regular workshops which teach you help to build a sustainable career. We also advocate on your behalf, to ensure Victorian music is celebrated, protected and promoted.
SIMON WINKLER – Music Coordinator- Triple R
Triple R is an un-playlisted radio station: Everyone plays only the songs they want to, exactly when they want to. My role across the week is to work with other staff and volunteers to assist broadcasters to access new releases arriving at RRR. I communicate with artists, managers, labels and other representatives about their music, and make it available to everyone in either physical or digital form. In a general sense, the Music Coordinator is responsible for overseeing Triple R’s music resources and content, supporting staff and broadcasters and listeners with any music-related matters.
The five pros gave us four answers, the fab four if you will, that are needed to create a musician’s support system and a top-notch team.
Step one: make sure you have a manager. Yes, we know you know what you’re doing, but it definitely helps to have someone a little more experienced at the helm. Plus it frees up time for musicians to focus on the creative pursuits that fuel their career.
“A manager is someone who can represent the band well, even if it’s just one person in the band who can identify what is needed, (whether it be booking gigs, travel organisation, promo or finances), they can come up with a plan and delegate tasks to spread the load. Having one point of contact for everything big and small minimises double ups and allows artists to focus on the important stuff – their craft”. – Vanessa Bassili
Step two: sort out your social media and pick a publicist. Having someone to help manage your online presence and actively promoting you and your music is key to getting yourself out there! We all know how important a professional network is, and a publicist will help generate opportunities for you to connect and make sure the music is heard.
“Having someone experienced in this role is pretty much essential in 2018, and they should work across every aspect of a musician’s career” – Justin Rudge.
Step three: tap into the wisdom of those who came before you and seek out a mentor. Having a mentor is something that can help to guide a musician through different steps on their journey, and the best part is that there is no right or wrong way to go about a mentorship.
“A mentor is really important. If you meet someone who you admire in your field and they seem like they have a bit of time for you –try and acquire them as a mentor. A mentorship can be one off or ongoing, structured or be as casual as an email exchange or a cafe meet up. Listen to the people who have been there before you – they have done a LOT of trial and error in their career and they’ve got wisdom to share with you (often for free)”. – Laura Imbruglia
“Someone you need on your team when building a career is a mentor, someone who can listen, offer insight, provide guidance, and knows when to let you learn through your own successes and failures. In radio I’ve been lucky to have many mentors who’ve supported through advice, training, education and inspiration over the years”. – Simon Winkler.
Step four, consider a publisher. A music publisher is a business that works with songwriters and composers. They support their writers’ careers to maximize royalties, and take a share of this money in exchange for their services. They’ll look into connecting a musician with protentional avenues to use their music, helping their music “work harder” and generate more income.
“As an artist becomes more established, a publisher can be really valuable both financially and creatively”. – Tristan Ludowyk.
You wouldn’t argue with the wisdom of such experienced industry pros, now would you? You can check out our library of courses to learn a little more from our own industry mentors, If you’re over Brunswick way, you can check out the Got Music? What Next? event here, and buy tickets here.