In its sixth year, Face The Music has brought together music industry leaders to discuss ideas and the issues affecting the industry.
With more than 44 panels, discussions, presentations, networking sessions and artists workshops, held over the two-day event, this is the perfect event if you are a budding musician, creative industries student or already work within the industry.
The What The Festival! panel featuring DIY touring expert Ian ‘Blink’ Jorgensen, Big Day Out co-founder Ken West, booking agent and festival promoter Paul Sloan, and Groovin’ The Moo’s Steve Halpin, discussed the current issues facing music festivals within Australia.
Paul Sloan declared, “Multi-genre festivals are suffering the most. No one wants to see their favourite act on a multi-genre festival.”
Always the optimist, Ken West rebutted, “I don’t believe there’s a crisis (within the festival market)…the Big Day Out is a gathering of tribes and always has been…the challenge is to not get (your event) loved to death.”
Blink Jorgensen, who runs his own festival but does not announce a lineup, added another reason why things aren’t quite working, “There aren’t as many headline acts…there are no massive new bands except from the pop sphere.”
Discussing the continual success of his regional event, Groovin’ the Moo, Steve Halpin suggested that “multi-genre still needs consistency…our lineup is all Triple J acts, the only non-commercial radio station available in regional areas.” It is clear that Halpin has found a niche and is sticking to it.
Unfortunately, West and Sloan took over most of the discussion, trading slight jabs at each other, while the arguably more interesting and forward thinking minds of Blink and Halpin, were not given the chance to voice their vision of the future.
Wanting to hear more from Blink, I ventured to his DIY Touring presentation where he discussed cheap, easy and sometimes illegal, solutions to touring artists. His jokes were coming thick and fast, and his advice, while it may have sometimes erred on the wrong side of the law, was ingenious, discussing tax dodging, Visas, camping and merchandise options. A highlight included a word to Aussie acts, “Don’t think anyone in New Zealand has heard of you…we couldn’t give a fuck about you.”
For more insightful touring concepts from Blink, check out his website: http://www.alowhum.com/
Marrying Income, Film and Television, was a panel of publishers and music supervisors discussing how an artist can make it big by licensing their music to film and television, including commercials. Hosted by Kirsty Rivers (APRA/AMCOS), the panel included Ian James (Mushroom Music), Matt Tanner (Native Tongue) and Tom Supple (Supplefox).
They discussed how a simple television commercial could set up an artist for success both locally and abroad. They discussed Clairy Browne and the Bangin’ Rackettes’ international success following Browne’s appearance in a Dutch Heineken commercial that featured her singing the band’s hit ‘Love Letter’. The group now has international licensing, a US record deal and has seen a spike in sales from iTunes.
My final panel for the day was In Conversation Michael and Matt Gudinski: A Spotlight On The Mushroom Group, bringing together the father and son team that run the most successful independent record company in Australia.
This was the first time that the two have presented together with Michael declaring ‘…it may never happen again.” This was just one of his many zingers in what was a hilarious discussion.
On their Future Music purchase, Matt stated that festivals “were the last major gap we had to fill.” While Michael offered his opinion why Australian music festivals are in crisis, “on a world scale, most countries don’t do touring festivals,” adding “Rapture is coming with Eminem and it’s a sit down show…what kind of a fucking festival is that?”
When asked about what is holding Australian artists back, Michael answered frankly “the fucking government” declaring that in order to help nurture new artists, the Australian government needed to step up and contribute more in funding.
The two also discussed their plans for Mushroom in Asia, premiered Dan Sultan’s new video and, in a moment that made the crowd “naaaaawwww” in unison, Michael gushed about how proud he was of his son and his passion for creating a new RSS reading software called ‘Purifier’.
I will leave you with a joke from Michael that perhaps got the biggest laughs and applause from the audience…
“What did Peter Garrett do when he got into politics? Fucked up a great band and fucked up his life.”
Face The Music is on again today (Saturday, November 16th) at Melbourne’s Art Centre. You can purchase accreditation at the door.
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