A Week In The Life Of… A Music Publisher, Matt Tanner

Matt Tanner

Matt Tanner is one of the busy team at Native Tongue Music Publishing- an exciting business based in Melbourne doing some great work for their artists nationally and internationally. We begged the perennially busy Matt Tanner to give us a glimpse into his working week, so glad he said yes! Be sure to read through to the end for his highlights, lowlights and words of wisdom. And thanks Matt!

Job Description
I am the Creative and A&R Manager at Native Tongue Music Publishing. We work with a roster of about 350 Australian and New Zealand artists and we represent over 30 international publishing catalogues. My role as Creative and A&R Manager sees me deal in identifying, signing and developing songwriting talent, marketing and promoting and licensing the copyrights we represent to music supervisors, advertising agencies, directors and producers, along with liaising with record label A&R managers about up artists and projects in writing phrases that we might be able to get our writers involved with.

Because yesterday was the Labour Day public holiday in Victoria, today is a very busy start to the week with lots of catching up to do with a day away from the office, but I make that a little more difficult for myself because I do MMA training on Tuesday mornings. So when I do get into the office, I have to dive straight in.
I have a meeting with a brand new Native Tongue artist and manager. So new to the company that we sign the agreements at the end of the meeting. Of course the agreement has been negotiated over the past couple of months but its nice to be able to really get started working together. We discuss projects on the horizon for the artist and what kinds of things we can help co-ordinate.
I have an afternoon phone meeting to review co-writing sessions from the week prior with a couple of our songwriters. We always review co-writing sessions so we can give feedback to management or A&R teams, and well as continue songwriting development. Sessions went really well. Management and A&R teams are happy and most importantly, the artist is happy.
Lots of emails to take care of so that takes me through until about 730pm, at which time I head into the city to go to Courtney Barnett’s new album launch and exhibition. The venue is packed and the show is great as is the exhibition of Courtney’s artworks, which are hung around the room.

It’s an early start this morning. I leave home at 6am to get to the airport and catch a flight to Sydney.
I have an APRA Songhubs Committee Meeting this morning. I manage to have a conference call walking from Central Station to the APRA building, only getting lost once.
The Songhubs Committee meeting is a long one today. Lots to get through and lots of great Songhubs events to review.
The meeting concludes mid afternoon, allowing a late lunch meeting with an Artist Manager that we work with, catching up on the artist’s movements around the recording of a new album.
Following this, time to check out a new studio that we have started using as a writing space for co-writing sessions. It’s definitely going to be a great space for our artists to be creative.
One last meeting for the day with a Music Supervisor we work with. I find out about lots of new projects that are either current or that are in development – all of them need music and it is up to us in the creative department to find the right tracks within our catalogue for the supervisor to use in those projects.
I head to a second Courtney Barnett launch in 2 days. Tonight is at a cool, little gallery space. We have invited music supervisors and agency clients to the event tonight so I get to catch up with a bunch of people that we usually only have contact with on phone and email.
I have to jump in a taxi and race to airport to catch the last flight home to Melbourne, and I just make it.

It was a late night last night but an early start this morning. Back to MMA training today.
Straight in to the office after training and right on time for our weekly General Meeting. All departments meet once a week for a full overview of activities and developments, both creative and administrative in order to keep across everything that is forthcoming and to plan new initiatives and strategy.
I have a long phone meeting with a couple of songwriters to discuss future writing and production plans.
Followed by another phone meeting with major label A&R to review writing sessions from the week prior, and based on those sessions, further sessions for their artist with our songwriter.
We have a late afternoon Creative Meeting. We review pitches and new placements. We’ve had some great sync placements in the last few weeks and a lot of new ones that we’re looking to confirm in the next few weeks. Sharing the news with our songwriters that we have confirmed a new sync is always a good moment.
I race home to have a family dinner, it has been a few days since I’ve seen my family!
The day is not finished though, I head out after my daughter has gone to bed to see a new band we’re working with called The Meltdown at Shebeen in the city. The band is great, and the support band were a surprise too – I’ll keep my eye on them.

I’m looking forward to the day today because I only have one meeting scheduled, which means I’ll be able to clear a backlog of emails and get some music searches done for our clients.
I drop my daughter off, battle the Punt Rd traffic, and settle in at my desk with a big pot of green tea to start the day.
First up, I have a meeting with our Licensing Manager, Kate Mills, and General Manager, Jaime Gough, to discuss on going creative and licensing projects – including sync in TV commercials, a number of episodic TV uses and an independent Australian Film.
I go from the office to a dinner in the city and then onto a huge hometown show for Kingswood. The whole office goes en masse to the show and we’re a bit excited because we get a whole booth to ourselves! We have been working with Kingswood for about a year and it is so great to see them fill The Forum to capacity. Such a great show.

Traditionally a day off, I head out to an all age show to see a band play. We don’t work with the band, but we hope to. It has been a long time since I went to an all age show at a rehearsal room way out in the suburbs. I’m almost positive that I look like an undercover cop.

Nah mate, not today!
I team manage a football team and today is our first practice match of the year – I’ve got the smell of freshly cut grass and deep heat in the nostrils!

Everyday brings the opportunity to work with multitudes of wonderful, talented people, and exciting new projects.
Forming friendships, creative partnerships and watching artists develop over a career and ultimately, being able to contribute to those careers.

There really aren’t too many low lights. Late nights maybe? Even those are usually fun.

Words of wisdom
Work hard, and be respectful. Be respectful of people’s time, peoples need’s and people’s abilities.
And give back as much as you take.

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