BIGSOUND 2014: Thursday’s Inspirational Seminars

The second day of Bigsound 2014 has been just as informative as the first, and no doubt just as awesome as the third will be. The day was jam packed with guests teaching both the experienced and inexperienced their music wisdom, and how best to go about tackling the industry in the most effective way.


Sites can jump on bandwagons and write negative reviews because other blogs didn’t like it, but as Anthony Fantano of The Needle Drop pointed out, a band’s failure to break out doesn’t just boil down to a negative review online, but much rather due to actions artists take in every other aspect. The panelists unanimously agreed that Pitchfork is the most influential media in the music industry today, followed by NME. The seminar focused on how bands get buzz; from what media outlets to frequent and how it can affect a band’s creative output and the business side of these artists. The panel moved on from music media to discuss the fashion press. They believe that it has its place in music industry as a means for publicity, however it is fickle. This is because the fashion press release articles not as focused on the music, and so the fanbase is not necessarily music orientated and might attract people to the band that are not the intended audience.

The 11 Commandments: A Code of Conduct for Managers

This was my second seminar of the day, and it was loaded with useful information. It focused (as you can tell from the title) around the 11 most important aspects of band management, but as conversations go, it branched out into many other topics and opinions. This panel was impressive, with a cast consisting of The Church’s current manager Rick Chazan as well as their lead singer, Steve Kilbey, and a range of other expert managers from Australia. Steve is infamous for being difficult to manage. He recounted his first US manager who earned $20 000 a week compared to his measly $800. He is wary of managers, and has only now found a manager he truly likes in Rick. The banter between the managers was impressive and through their off-topic points, recollections and opinions, there was a wealth of information to be taken from their experience.

Mini-Keynote: Andrew Harris
APRA is one of the most important organisations in Australian music, and their sent their leading Principal Analyst along to Bigsound to break down APRA’s many services and roles in the industry. APRA ensures all businesses with licensing to operate in the Australian music industry stick to the rules governing their license and also to ensure all artists get their royalties from their original songs being played on various mediums. They also break down the various activities in airplay and other occurrences to find the statistics in the madness that is the music industry.
Andrew Harris spoke of the money splits and statistical analyses for bands get paid through their different incomes and successfully brought the concept across in such a way everyone in the room could understand it, along with a few sly jokes poking fun both at himself and the crowd.

Amazing Labels
This seminar was stimulating. Record label owners and managers spoke of their breakthrough moments with huge acts like Ellie Goulding and Bon Iver along with their humble beginnings as both a music industry professional and a record label. It was truly motivating to listen to, and I would not be surprised if a whole bunch of new labels launch over the next few months due to these inspiring stories and people. They talked about the benefits of forming professional relationships with PR companies, the perks and disadvantages of pigeonholing a record label to one genre and a whole list of other topics that would take pages and pages to write about.

So there you have it! A taste of just four of the seminars that were happening around Bigsound today. Tonight is the second and final night of Bigsound Live, and then tomorrow a keynote interview from Peter Noble, founder of Bluesfest kicks off the last day of Bigsound 2014.

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