After hearing about this event last year, I kept an eye out and made sure I booked my ticket well in advance for this conference. Just a bit of background, the Summit is a business-development and networking expo for the music industry, which includes, workshops, showcases, live performances, and many opportunities to network with the who’s who of the industry.
Set to discover what the current trends were in online marketing, I packed my bag with business cards and headed off to the Sydney Exhibition Centre in Darling Harbour on Saturday morning. The morning consisted mainly of introductions and welcome speeches but the first valuable point of information took place when Grammy Award winner Imogen Heap took the stage and began a question and answer-type presentation, speaking about songwriting in particular and her journey as a creative artist. While all this information was quite interesting, I had many questions related to online marketing that I wanted to ask, and later on at the conference I got my opportunity.
The first chance to network arrived at lunchtime, and this took place in the main foyer, as we were served lunch and drinks. I met a few singer songwriters who had come from all around Australia, keen to develop their skills and to further their career in a highly competitive industry. I spent a lot of my time listening to how people had envisioned the future of their career and what steps they would take in order to achieve any goals they may have set out. Remarkably, not many mentioned growing an audience, marketing, strategy, or branding. Most of the focus was on quality of production and gigging. None the less, i made a bunch of awesome new friends and was loving my introduction to the Summit.
The first workshop I went to that afternoon was ‘My Music My Business’, presented by Aussie singer/actress Clare Bowditch and Indie label head, Tim Levinson (Elefant Traks). The room was full of anxious artists with pad and pen out, ready to gain insight as to how they should be running their business and most importantly, get out and be heard. I waited patiently for the time when the focus of discussion would be put onto online; this never came. Rather, the instructions all these eager artists received was; get out into the community and meet people face to face. While this is great and yes, it is a necessity, I feel as though limiting yourself to only doing this would only cripple ones chances to build an audience and engage with a wide audience of attentive listeners (brand building). I left disappointed.
Unfortunately I was unable to fit into the ‘Marketing and Promotion’ workshop so the next workshop I attended was ‘Crowd Funding’ (for info see http://bit.ly/KaXUrD).
While I have read a little about crowd funding, I was interested to see how this had been successful in Australia and how artists were spending money once they had reached the quota. I began listening intently as a gentleman by the name of Ben Richards began speaking…..at last, someone speaking about online campaigns and strategies! While he didn’t get into the specifics, he did outline the importance of budgets for marketing, so I made an effort to get to him at the end of the workshop. We had an interesting chat and he informed me of his own leveraged crowd funding site, ‘Ripplez’, which should be up and running quite soon. I’ll write a blog on it as soon as it launches!
To kick off the evening we were treated to ‘Welcome Drinks’ – 1hr of free booze to loosen up and encourage more networking! It was in this break that I was introduced to Will Barton – a presenter from the Marketing and Promotion workshop I missed out on. Will was representing ‘Mobile Roadie’ and was the creator for the official Apra Song Summit APP. We got to chatting and it wasn’t long before we agreed that there was a lack of emphasis on online so far at the Summit. Thus bore a new friendship and a new goal – Jaden Social to present at next year’s conference.
The evening ended with a series of live performances but unfortunately I had to leave to support three band from the Jaden Social family – The Money Go Round, The Griswolds, and Hey Geronimo.
I was really looking forward to what the Summit would have in store for me, and I wasn’t disappointed….. Stay tuned for day 2.