In association with Believe Digital 8-9th June at Richmix center in Shoreditch.
After what can only be described as a successful first day, the second day promised to be just as inspiring with another series of talks geared around the rock music industry. With a new batch of panelists scheduled to appear today, we had just enough time to register and get several cups of coffee down us, as some of us were nursing a hangover from the Rocktails and Cocktails event held last night – thank you Jagermeister!
Again, both Seven and Steve opened the days talks with their keynote address and having listened to people’s comments, they reiterated to the crowd that this event was for their benefit, so should anyone have any questions they should speak up,or forever hold their piece!
Long Live Rock
MODERATED BY: Scott Rowley – Editorial Director TeamRock (Classic Rock Magazine, MetalHammer , Prog & The Blues Magazine)
Billy Anderson – CEO TeamRock.
Mark Palmer – Managing Director UK Nuclear Blast Records.
Adam Parsons – Siren Artist Management, Black Star Riders.
Keith Hagan – Co-Owner SKH Music (US.)
Howard Corner – General Manager ADA and Warner Label Services
Toby Jepson – Singer – Little Angels / Gun
With the wealth of knowledge that Scott Rowley possess, he was the perfect person to chair this panel especially when you consider the panelists that featured for this talk. Nuclear Blast is a fantastic record label, who are signing a wealth of talent globally so to hear the thoughts of Mark Palmer on the future of rock was very interesting. Again, the discussions turned to the viability of getting your music played on the various formats available to bands and how they go about doing so. Billy Anderson agreed that times are changing and as a result, also acknowledged that radio stations like his, need to evolve if they are to continue helping bands make the big time. Not wanting to give too much away, he skirted around how he plans to achieve this but the general impression I got wasthat Team Rock Radio are looking to develop something similar to Apple Music and Spotify formats, which could be very exciting for the champions of rock music.
PRESENTED BY: Music Glue
MODERATED BY: Chris Cooke – MD and Business editor CMU Daily
Paul Barton – Managing Director PledgeMusic UK.
Arthur Brown – Singer / Artist (The Crazy World of Arthur Brown)
Mark Meharry – CEO Music Glue
Don Jenkins – Commercial Director Raw Power Management.
Tom Carson – Music Manager Jagermeister
Roy Jenkins – Owner Noise Merchandise
Dan Weller – Musician / Producer – Sikth
I’ve got to admit, trying to remember everything that was said in every panel is proving a challenge, as I didn’t take any notes because my hands were full, but this panel stood out as being one of the most enjoyable to witness, simply because Arthur Brown was on the panel. This panel aimed to educate the crowd on the best ways a new, up and coming or even seasoned veteran bands can do things for themselves. With sites such as Pledge Music now available, it’s never been easier for a band to self-promote or self-fund the creation of new albums or tours etc, as Paul Barton discussed. However, having successfully completing such a campaign, Arthur Brown pointed out that you need to be realistic what you offer your fans in order to get them to pledge. You don’t want to be in the middle of recording or touring a new album, then have to go and play in someone’s living room to honour your agreement – but this could also be very fun! Arthur then went on to explain that he and his band had to go down this route to finance his latest album as he couldn’t get a record deal because of some choice words he said publicly! haha, however, as a result of the Pledge campaign, he did, in fact, secure a record deal, due to the success of his pledge campaign.
Taking Care of Business
PRESENTED BY: PRS for music
MODERATED BY: Andy Ellis – Senior Manager, Education & Outreach Membership and Rights.
PRS for music PANELISTS:
Simon Winters – Prager and Fenton LLP Music Business Accountants
Andrew Sharland – Partner Clintons Solicitors
Mandy Aubry – Head of Client Relations Fintage House Music Publishing
Gideon Mountford – Head of Video(UK). International video business Development at Believe Digital
Being a rock star can be seen as a glamourous way to make a living, but if you’re successful, the chances are that those bands also have a pretty good grip on the less glamourous side of the business. On first appearance, this panel seemed the least interesting to me but as the talks started, I could actually relate to them and saw the benefits of what I do and as such, could implement some of the advice that these guys were giving. Did you know, if you’re in a band and are set up as a business, you can actually claim the tax back on all band related purchases, providing you keep the receipts? I also discovered there are ways to claim expenses back if your band are lucky enough to tour around Europe or even the world! I was also very interested in what Andrew Sharland had to say with regards to legal matters when dealing with contracts with record labels etc. Not everyone can afford a solicitor of this man’s stature, but if you’re a member of the Musicians Union, you can get sound advice from these guys and generally for free, off their website.
It’s worth mentioning that each day had an hours recess for lunch, which was provided by the organisers but you had to be fast, as there were some really hungry people at this conference and the Indian food was top notch!
Live Part 2
PRESENTED BY: The Musicians Union
MODERATED BY: Horace Trubridge – Assistant General Secretary The Musicians Union
Adam Saunders – Senior Booking agent X Ray Touring
Ian Richards – Promoter Academy Music Group
Paul Ryan – Vice President The Agency Group
Kai Harris- Director Advance Promotions /Takedown Festival
Ben Hylands – Owner IAA Booking agency
Jim Morewood – Owner – Eccentric Gent Org Booking agency
The topic of “Buy on’s” was brought up in this panel, which I was aware of but never really understood. This is where a headliner looks to earn money from a support band to enable them to be a part of their tour. Although this may seem like a good idea for the headliner to make some extra cash, it’s not always deemed a good idea and can be a nightmare for promoters. Getting your band seen by as many people as possible will always be considered a good idea, but if you’re offered to be the opening band on the night, will your band actually get seen as you’re on early, when the venue is most likely not full? There’s also the compatibility of bands that buy on to a tour. If you’re a trash metal band, there’s not much point being a part of a tour if the main act is a prog act. This is something promoters are currently struggling with, with some of today’s tours! Seemingly, you’d think these guys couldn’t care less but how wrong you are. Obviously, promoters want to sell tickets for a show, so getting the best fit bands to support the main act is key.
Festival Focus – Wacken Open Air
CHAIRED BY: Moose – Head of Radio Team Rock
Ever wondered how Waken Festival manages to sell out even before they’ve announced any bands that will be playing? Well, so has every other festival on the planet, so to get an insight to this festival’s success, Rockcomm invited founding member Thomas Jensen along to ask him what he thinks their secret ingredient is.
The truth is that not even he knows why, but there are some factors that may have contributed to making this festival a must go to event for every metal fan. Back in 1990, when this first festival was held, it was the only festival in Germany to showcase metal music. The bands that played were all German bands, which helped to showcase the talent in that country. By 1998 the festival started to attract acts from all over the world and that helped to attract metal music fans from all over the world too. In the early days, the facilities weren’t the best as Jensen explained, but we quickly learned from our mistakes. I’m assuming, seeing as this festival is in Germany, some of that German efficiency they are famous for started to creep in and as the lessons of the past were learnt, they simply went from strength to strength!
Jensen gave us some incredible stories from acts that he’d dealt with over the years, he also admitted he’s always wanted to book Metallica to play Waken but as the band only like to venture over to Europe in June, he’s not willing to change the date of his festival to suit them, amazing!
Rockin All Over the World
PRESENTED BY: Flight Centre
MODERATED BY: Marco Gandolfi – Editor www.music-news.com
Dan Devita – Booking agent TKO
Andy Farrow – Managing Director Northern Music Company
Thomas Jensen – Founder & Owner – Wacken Open Air Festival
Wally Van Middendorp – In De Goot Entertainment Europe
Merle Doering – Booking agent – Dragon Productions (Germany)
In this panel, we heard a few more stories from Thomas Jensen (Waken Open Air) but we also heard about what some of the larger acts go through when touring the world.
Released – Labels and Distribution
PRESENTED BY: Believe Digital
MODERATED BY: Toby Jepson (Little Angels)
Lee Morrison – General manager UK Believe Digital UK & SVP Rights Management Believe Group
Dan Tobin – A&R Director Earache Records
Dante Bonutto – Label/ A&R Manager Spinefarm Records
Rob Ferguson – Owner Founder Transcend Music
Nathan Barley Philips – CEO & Founder Basick Records
Alex Branson – SVP and Managing Director International – Ingrooves UK
Rob Collins – Managing Director – Cooking Vinyl UK.
Did you know that vinyl sales have had a resurgence in popularity amongst music fans lately and as a result, more bands are looking to put their new music onto this much-loved format? It’s even worth mentioning that CD sales are declining, when they were released everyone saw the end of vinyl, all but one person, who bought up all the old vinyl pressing plants in the hope that one day, a day like today would come and low and behold it has. As a result, there is now a massive waiting list for bands to get their music pressed onto vinyl!
Dan Tobin, of Earache admitted he discovered a band in a Spotify playlist and as a result of hearing them, he managed to sign them to his label, who currently sees a great variety of acts, several of which are topping the charts worldwide!
The general advice that came from this panel was that if you want to get signed, there are many ways you can get your music heard but these guys are so busy, they barely have enough time to listen to the stack of CD’s they already have on their desks, so think smart and do something different to attract their attention!
PRESENTED BY: The Rock Train
MODERATED BY: Mark Davies (the Rock Train)
Ian Camfield – DJ/Presenter XFM Radio Rock Show
Sophie K – DJ/Presenter TeamRock Radio (New Bands show)
Eugene Butcher – Owner Big Cheese Magazine & Vive Le Rock
Paul Anthony – DJ/ Presenter Planet Rock Radio
Kylie Olsson – TV & Radio Presenter – Sky TV / TeamRock Radio
This panel by enlarge, are responsible for airing new talent on their respective radio stations. Like the last panel before them, they too get inundated with new music but rarely get the chance to listen to them all but they do listen to them as they have to know their stuff, as the listeners can always spot a fake. If, like Paul Anthony, you’re old school, he loves nothing more than getting a well-presented CD in the post as that’s where he discovers his new music. If you’re up with the times and have your music available on Soundcloud, You tube or Spotify etc, then send your links to youngster Sophie K, as that’s how she likes to discover her music. It’s quick, easy and a wealth of other information can be attached to a band page if it’s kept up to date.
Either way, this panel were discussing ways in which new music can be discovered, whether that be through radio, magazines or streaming sites, so I asked a question, which had been discussed quite a lot these past few days “Is radio still a viable format to discover new music, or has Spotify killed the radio star?” Chair, Mark Davies believes a band likes nothing more than to hear their music on the radio, where Sophie K believes the more dated media formats need to evolve and get with the times! This was a great panel, chaired by a great guy, who I can safely call a friend – well done Tosh!
With the conference drawing to a close, it was time to reflect on what we’d learnt. Someone stated that none of the panelist got anything from this conference, yet many of the people they work with on a regular basis were at this event, so it was a fabulous opportunity for them to reconnect with friends old and new. For me, I feel the guys who appeared on the panels all did an amazing job and are already earning the respect of the music industry, as they are living proof that you can be successful in this industry. For them to give up their valuable time and share with us their valuable advice, people should see this as a great opportunity to learn and develop the skills that may stay with them for years to come.
If this event goes ahead next year, which I truly hope it does, I feel more bands in the rock genre should seriously consider buying a ticket to this conference as it truly was an eye opener for many!
With all the talking over, it was time to let off a little bit of steam and watch some bands at bar Oslo – as well as sinking a few more beers. Having made many new contacts, this gave me an opportunity to talk with them about the whole experience and how people could see themselves moving forward.
Seeing as this was a rock music conference, it was fitting to see acts such as Chemia, a great rock and roll act from Poland who are doing well on the live circuit. The One Hundred, who I thought were amazing, as did Sophie K. The Qemists, managed by Seven, who headed off to play Download and the Black Spiders, who are a very successful rock band and will be playing Hard Rock Hell in November. Sadly, I had work the next day, so I had a train to catch to get home, so apologies to them, but I’ll hopefully see you play HRH 9 in November!
Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)