From mentors to managers to publicist fees: takeaways from EMC and ARIA Masterclass

Monday, 02 Dec 2019

(L-R, Label-Free panel: Arlo Enemark, Kayex, Lawrence Huskinton, Pia Del Mastro)

It’s been a busy few weeks of learning, absorbing, and taking copious notes of all the hot tips and gems of wisdom shared at both the Electronic Music Conference and the ARIA Week Masterclass. Here’s our round up of all that industry knowledge. 


How to match your message to the social media platform

Tips from Kirsten Muller, Oxford Arts Factory:
1. Focus on two platforms, rather than six, and do it really well 
2. Facebook is headline news
3. Twitter is for conversations, discussion, and frequent (like really frequent if you like) posting
4. Instagram – don’t go crazy on the feed, show your creative side
5. IG stories – be raw, use it as a behind-the-scenes
6. Test and experiement: see where you're connecting and go from there

There is a place for 'traditional' media

Content that can't be skipped like street and cafe posters and community radio ads should factor into your plan, said Christopher Brailey, M&C Saatchi at the Content panel.

Making songs in a sea of bangers: pick the mood and tone and follow it

Ebony Morrison who writes, records and performs as Chase Zera talked about how committing to a vibe keeps you from using every sound and effect in the world. And when it comes to lyrics, sometimes "the shapes of words can be just as important as the lyrics." She suggested trying to build your lyrics from the melody and sounds you are working with. 

How to discuss songwriting percentages

Ebony said, “As much as you can in a polite way, try to talk about that at the start. Never feel afraid to say 'Hey, what are the splits going to be? Whose projects are we working on? Are there going to be production fees?'" 

And she shared a rule of thumb: "When I think of songwriting, I think of it as writing a song - chords and lyrics versus sound design and mixing, which is changing a sound."

Warner UK's Scott Cohen on the importance of (owning) data

Scott stressed the importance of data but how, ultimately, the music industry is:

A) giving platforms access to their data (streaming services, social media), and

B) doesn’t really have predictable or actionable data, e.g., What is a playlist placement telling you? Why are you paying Facebook money for your post to reach your fans?

Label-Free panel: where do you spend your campaign money?

After you pay for studio time, mix/mastering and artwork, what do you invest in to get the music out there? For the panel, it’s sometimes a case of learning what not to spend on. And while most artists want to invest in publicity, the price point for local campaigns is tricky, not overly flexible and generally hovers around a $2.5k-$3k mark for a full campaign

The key values of being a self-releasing musician

Xelon Entertainment/Noisehive's Arlo Enemark shared these three crucial points:

  1. Be organised - checklists, schedules, contacts database, media database, art assets
  2. Be prolific - lay out your next six singles, create templates for cheap and easy processes
  3. Reach out - all the time (to everyone): radio media, FB, friends, playlist curators, text message. Always say thank you! 

When and how to drop new music?

If you have an EP coming, Arlo advises to not drop it all at once. Stagger the singles ahead because algorithms like regularity (of course they do) and this method helps if you have gotten onto Spotify users' Release Radar and Discoverly Weekly. Another point made by the panel about the power of self-releasing is you can call the shots on timings to go with your tour or a festival launch, and not have to shift around with a label's other priorities.

APRA AMCOS members can join with the coupon code: APRAFRIEND to save $75 off the signup fee.


(Tuma Basa, Director of Urban Music, YouTube Music interviewed by Hau Latukefu)

The idea of the ‘third culture’ and intercultural competence

Tuma was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, spent his childhood in Iowa and his teen years in Zimbabwe, before heading back to Iowa for university. He talked about the importance of being able to look at things from other’s perspectives and being interculturally competent. 

And he elaborated the concept of the 'third culture,' the hybrid mix of someone with dual cultures. “It might be where your work ethic or other values come from. It’s not a social stigma anymore, it’s an advantage.

“Australia is heavily populated by second and third generation immigrants and it’s an advantage  they can relate and connect. It’s up to the music industry to catch up. And not treat diversity as a buzz word.”

"Can you be my mentor?"

Tuma gets DMs from hip-hop artists from all around the world asking him to be a mentor. His advice? 

“Mentoring is a serious relationship. Don’t just ask for mentoring. Share what you are working on, let a mentor relationship come organically. Don’t be a liability. You do your thing, and at critical times you keep the relationship open with your mentor.”

A masterclass conversation with Chuggie

From the “rotten thieving a**holes” of the secondary ticketing market to taking a risk on the guy from Take That, ARIA’s Industry Icon honouree Michael Chugg candidly covered a range of topics, including the demands of the industry on families:

"It’s tough on families in this industry – you get a whiff of success on something, and you have to travel the world and give it a shot.”

Managing success in 2019

Regan Lethbridge of Lemon Tree Music and Lonely Lands Agency gave insight into the Tones & I story so far. 

It’s her vision and art and we join the dots.

"We try to plan two years ahead. Put in enforced breaks. That’s super important and sometimes overlooked. There’s peaks and troughs, especially in a long career. There are tough times for sure."

Is it even possible for an artist to be sell-out in 2019?

Association of Artist Managers Executive Director Cath Haridy: "It comes down to a set of subconscious tick boxes in my head, but it’s up to the artist. I’m there to point out the potential pitfalls. It’s all about the artist and their set of beliefs and what they are willing to bend to. It’s very different to 15 years ago when the decision to support a brand was a negative."

Get the balance right: business, band and family

Jeremy Furze talked about how The Teskey Brothers will take six months off when a band member’s baby arrives next year. “There’s a lot of pressure on fathers to keep touring, a lot of expectations,” Jeremy said and the band came together to agree on how to schedule for that.

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