Review: Indie Week

By Vivian Li, Featured Photo via Indie Week

Indie Week, which ran from November 7 to November 12, 2017, consisted of various workshops to help emerging and established independent artists achieve their goals in the music industry. I attended two panels, “Getting Your Songs on the Radio” and “Music Publishing”, with each consisting of industry professionals and a wealth of advice for aspiring musicians.  

In “Getting Your Songs on the Radio”, Steve Coady (of Warner Music Canada) moderated a panel with Bob Willette (the midday host and Music Director at 94.9 The Rock), Sarah Burke (a member of the programming team at Sirius XM Canada), India Corna (RPM Promotion), Cara Heath (With a Bullett), and David Marsden (NY The Spirit). Tackling the title topic, each panellist provided a series of suggestions for aspiring musicians seeking airtime. Heath stated: “The competition is fierce. You have to know where you’re going. Artists these days have to be open and make an impact.” Despite this, Burke revealed that they occasionally decide on which songs to play based on Youtube streams. That being said, according to Burke, it all comes down to whether a musical act aligns with the station’s brand. Meanwhile, Marsden advised aspiring musicians to focus on their music first. “Have what you want and to hell with everyone else”, he stated. “Then somewhere, someone is going to pick up on it.”

Corna added that having a good reputation, good reviews and a following on social media will help an artist when they are trying to get a song on the radio. She mentioned that the best time to get to the radio programs is close to the end of production.

On giving a piece of advice to aspiring musicians, each panellist had their own particular view on the subject.

Heath advised that they be realistic, true to themselves, and do their art to the best of their ability, while Burke stated that it is important to be balanced, not over-exert, and focus on a final goal. Corna also added that it is important for the artist to always have sincerity and gratitude, to build a great team, and to stay around the people who support and believe in what they are doing.

It was interesting to note the common theme of expressing artistry versus adhering to a business model- although the two can be reconciled, this tension is a constant presence within a musician’s career.

The “Music Publishing” panel consisted of Amy Eligh (Arts & Crafts Music’s Director of Publishing and Licensing), Bryce Seefieldt (Administrator at Warner/Chappell Music Canada), Moe Berg (Artist), Chris Robinson (Red Brick Songs), Mhairi Holmer (Ole Media Management), and Andy Curran (El Mocambo Records) with moderation by Robert Singerman from Lyricfind. In the panel, Singerman stressed the importance of having a good music lawyer to ensure you sign the right contracts. Eligh agreed with Singerman’s point, as he said that artists should be careful about 360-degree deals, and to sign publishers with a solid infrastructure capable of dealing with the artist’s rights.

However, the general advice of the panellists was for musicians to explore all options and avenues with other artists in order to magnify their network. The music industry is hard, but not impossible to strike into.

The panels were overall very informative, providing an insider’s look at the business of the music industry, with tips on seeing through its smokescreen when trying to explore its turbulent waters.

 

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