Adelaide-based Craig Lock has merged his marketing background with experiences as a musician and made it a winning concept in music stable Five Four Entertainment. As a master multitasker, Craig provides a wide range of skills and experience pertaining to many parts of the music industry. Read on to see what a week as an artist manager, venue booker and event producer can look like!
I’m the joint owner of a company called Five Four Entertainment which I started with Ross Osmon in 2010. The company operates in a number of different areas of the music industry, primarily being management of artists (Tkay Maidza, City Calm Down, LK McKay, Vincent Sole), booking venues (HQ, Fat Controller, Adelaide Uni Bar, The Ed Castle, The Crown and Anchor, The Exeter), Running events and festivals (Laneway Festival, Oh Yes, Stonecutters, Flinders University O’fiesta, Spin Off) and club nights (Transmission indie Night, Taking Back Saturday emo/pop punk night).
My primary role is to look after the artist management side of our business. I also take on the producer role for Laneway festival in Adelaide and am generally across all aspects of the business day to day.
The time I start and finish working each day varies and I got in mid morning today and went straight into a meeting about a new festival we started called Oh Yes. The event was announced mid August and takes place on September 29th which only really gives us 6 weeks to promote and sell the tickets. We have a weekly meeting with the team working on marketing where we recap ticket sales for the week and discuss weekly marketing actives we are rolling out as well operational aspects of the event. Tickets are selling better than we expected so far so everything is going well on that front! After that was over I started the ongoing battle of trying to stay on top of my emails! I’ve come to realise this is a battle I can never win so I just do the best I can each day and I find that nothing generally gets missed! Some of
After that was over I started the ongoing battle of trying to stay on top of my emails! I’ve come to realise this is a battle I can never win so I just do the best I can each day and I find that nothing generally gets missed! Some of the things that I’ve been bouncing back and forth on this afternoon are setting up a writing trip for Tkay in LA for October. We have some good writing sessions lined up so I’m adding more as her labels and publishing companies come back to me with ideas. We are also working on some new limited edition merch designs for Tkay to be released in September. There’s a few issues with the artwork sizing that I’m working through with her merch-supplier to try and get the samples of the shirts made. I spent a bit of time following up some leads for Laneway festival ahead of 2 hours of planning phone conferences we have tomorrow with the national Laneway team.
Late in the afternoon I downloaded some new mixes for the City Calm Down album and also a couple of new singles by L.K. McKay. I’ll listen to both of these intermittently through the week to see how they’re sounding and make some notes. I finished off having a quick flick through some new acts on triple j unearthed and Facebook ahead of BIGSOUND in the coming week.
Started off the day going over my emails that came in over night. Generally there will be a few requests/questions that I need to deal with from overseas labels or publishing companies for Tkay. I’ll also check the ticket sales for our festival. We head down to Wayville showgrounds at 11am to do a site walk through and plan the layout for the Oh Yes festival. Whilst I’m there I also do a call with Tkay’s US Label Downtown to discuss the release of an upcoming feature she has as well as the next album/music cycle and the planned October writing trip. After lunch, I spend a couple of hours in phone meetings discussing the 2018 Laneway festival. We are getting on top of site organisation and plans for 2018 plus getting ready to announce the lineup and put the event on sale fairly soon. It’s coming together really well this year so I’m excited to see the reaction!! In the afternoon we also discuss some last minute marketing strategies for City Calm Downs current tour. They have a sold out show in Melbourne on Friday and another show in Adelaide this weekend that’s selling well and we want to give it a final nudge towards selling out!
Today was a pretty standard day of attempting to respond to pressing issues as they occur as well as dealing with longer term planning for artists and events. I always find that’s the battle where issues that can be perceived as more pressing can outweigh what could be more important long term jobs on the to do list! Some of the things covered were: running some Halloween club night events in Adelaide for 500+ people, balancing up the cost of radio adverts for Oh Yes Festival, keeping on top of Tkay’s merch designs and October writing trip plans, setting up some more writing sessions in Sydney for Tkay after she plays Snowtunes festival and following up on some public transport costings for Laneway 2018.
Later on in the night, Tkay was playing a special surprise performance of Simulation with the Adelaide Youth Orchestra at the opening of the new Adelaide convention centre. The event was attended by government officials including the Premier as well as potential clients of the new convention centre space as a showcase for it. The show was pretty amazing they had a 70 piece orchestra rearrange Simulation with Tkay singing live with them. They also had a hologram behind Tkay of some of the song’s lyrics and animations. The song went well and it got a great response from the crowd. Afterwards, a Hologram version of SA Premier Jay Weatherill delivered the opening speech for the centre. Overall a little different to the normal Tkay show!! After the show Tkay, myself and some of our staff and crew went out for a late dinner. We discussed important topics like the if sparkling mineral water is naturally occurring or just carbonated after bottling.
Another day another email as they say, a hell of a lot of what I do is emails, phone calls, messenger conversations. My girlfriend often jokingly says that all I do is talk shit to people all day which probably isn’t that far from the truth it seems! I’ve also been looking into a touring idea for Tkay later this year which we aren’t sure will happen or not as yet. I spent some time talking to her agent, Rob G, about this amongst other potential bookings. Ill usually talk to Rob once every couple of days as there’s always a lot happening in that space for Tkay! Beyond that nothing super specific really happened, it was just a day of solving problems, making sure the wheels were moving on everything and trying to keep on top of emails!
Today’s job I wanted to try and focus on what I would be doing at BIGSOUND the following week. For the last 2-3 years, I’ve had one or even two acts that I managed playing at the event so there’s always been a clear goal for the conference. This year I don’t have any bands playing and want to try and make the most of being in Brisbane with the rest of the industry. Being based in Adelaide we often don’t meet many people face to face even if we have been dealing with them regularly for years over emails or the phone! I had an intern look into every act on the bill and see which ones were not managed as yet and those that already were. I want to try and check out the acts that are not already working with management to try and see if there’s anything I think is amazing! I also have a few more established acts on the watch list just to put into the memory banks for any future bookings we might need to do. There’s often a lot of value being onto something really early and having seen them play live and understand what the act is about.
Today I also tried to focus on going back over all of Tkay’s publishing syncs she has received in the last couple of years and collating them all into a file for future reference. Tkay’s labels and publishing companies do amazing work in getting her music placed in adverts and TV shows so there’s been quite a lot of them to collate.
Usually working on the weekends in some form or another is pretty standard, I try to keep it to a minimum where possible and this weekend was fortunately one where I did very little work. The only thing that would pass off as work was going to see City Calm Down play their Adelaide show at The Gov on Saturday night which was really great.
Challenges and Accomplishments
At this point one of the main challenges is staying on top of everything we have going on, making sure everything works well and nothing goes wrong. At times it’s hard to keep track of everything but it’s also exciting! This week there wasn’t anything in particular that felt like a huge accomplishment. Some great things did happen in retrospect but at times it can all rush by in a bit of a blur and it’s hard to really enjoy each moment.
Highlights of the week
One of the things that I love about what I do is the flexibility in the job, it’s not the kind of job that you need to necessarily operate strictly 9-5 every day. I think on a week in week out basis I’d end up doing a lot more hours in this kind of work but I do appreciate things like being able to run an errand before going to work or during the day without having to ask anyone for permission or worry about it.
The flip side of the highlight of the job is that it’s often very hard to switch off and stop working. Because of the global nature of what I’m involved in, there’s often emails and phone calls to be done at all hours otherwise opportunities will be missed or responses on questions will drag out over days at a time.
Words of Wisdom
Have a go! That’s probably the main thing I can recommend to people is you need to dive in head first with all of your energy and passion to have any chance of succeeding in the industry. It’s the kind of field where demand for jobs greatly outweighs supply so you’re not going to waltz into work or opportunities unless you have done a lot of learning and ground work off your own back. I’d also recommend being prepared to fail a lot. No matter who you are in the industry or what you have done it’s certain that you have had some pretty epic fails along the way. They can be both morally and financially draining and often you can feel embarrassed and ashamed of them but you need to find the strength to push through them and learn from them. Survival in the early years of a career is often very difficult but it does get easier over time!
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