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DIY: Music Business the Independent Way

DIY: Music Business the Independent Way

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“Work with your audience and publicist to build your profile and engagement”

‘Authenticity is key’ to building your brand and promoting your work, say industry professionals at ‘BASCA’s DIY: Music Business the Independent Way’ event, part of the EFG London Jazz Festival.

As media platforms continue to change beyond all recognition, it’s becoming increasingly tough to obtain arts coverage through traditional formulas. This is particularly true within the jazz genre, as jazz critics continue to disappear from the scene. Nicky Thomas of Nicky Thomas Media works with artists who aren’t part of the mainstream to help them find new audiences.

Nicky says that it’s increasingly harder to merely publicise yourself around one event or gig, and recommends exploring angles you may not have deemed as important. She says: “Getting arts coverage is tough and artists can sometimes be fixated on one particular aspect of their work. Often though, there is another angle the artist hasn’t considered important or relevant and that’s where the publicist will see the vision, or find a great story.”

She adds: “Ask yourself – where do you fit in and how do you stand out, in the context of your industry?”

Nicky also advises analysing certain trends and current topics that are on the agenda in the press. For example, mental health issues have become more prevalent over the past few years – this helped gain coverage for Jocelyn Pook’s piece ‘Anxiety Fanfare and Variations for Voices’, commissioned by the Anxiety Arts Festival. Ask for endorsements and garner support too from writers, VIPs, All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) and philanthropists who have an interest in your genre of music.

Composer and performer Peter Edwards (who sits on BASCA’s Jazz Executive) works with a publicist alongside his own social media activity to promote his work. He describes engaging your audience as a ‘process’ that you can facilitate through You Tube, SoundCloud, Periscope, Spotify, or your own label.

He says: “The internet is a conversational platform, don’t just tell people to ‘buy my CD’ as you wouldn’t have that conversation in real life.”

He adds that it’s important to ‘be authentic’ and consider what your story is – brainstorm ideas, think about why you write and why anyone should listen to you – find the hook and the meaning in your music.

Associate Director of Serious Martel Ollerenshaw, and Nina Condron, Business Development Executive for Horus Music also spoke at the event. Nina discussed the organisation’s services, which specifically support songwriters – these included its publishing department that works with You Tube to ensure songwriters receive ad revenue from their music.

Serious’ publishing company ‘In All Seriousness’, represents composers across a wide musical spectrum, who work in many different fields of music – from film, television, theatre, classical orchestras to sound design and installations, and cross-genre collaborations. They currently publish works by Jason Yarde, Andy Sheppard, Ayanna Witter-Johnson and Sheema Mukherjee, among many others.

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