Music Is Global - I Urge Our Industry To Think, Work & Collaborate Internationally.
Twenty years of music industry experience, in various positions and roles, has taught me a huge amount about the power of creativity, the highs and lows of entrepreneurial venture, and the importance of collaborative learning. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the notion of music being a universal language. I’m just as confident that we all recognise the virtues of being surrounded by a diversity of skills, opinions and experiences. And yet so often, I see new music businesses and emerging artists, thinking, working and collaborating in an insular and localised fashion. I want to urge you to think wider, to look further and to embrace the vast opportunity our global community of creators and entrepreneurs provides - a community of which you are a part!
One of the most transformative positions I’ve had the honour of holding in my career, has been that of Expert Board Member for Jump: European Music Market Accelerator. Co- funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Commission, Jump provides a framework for music professionals to develop innovative business models. It supports the music sector to adapt to recent changes in the market, encouraging it to work on a transnational level. Participants, coming from all over Europe, are given the opportunity to develop their projects and ideas and to benefit in parallel from an extensive training and a personalised tutorship. This collaboration of over 15 nationalities, working together to improve the industry we love, has been as inspiring as it is has been effective!
"I want to urge you to think wider, to look further and to embrace the vast opportunity our global community of creators and entrepreneurs provides - a community of which you are a part!"
So in that vein, how can new music business entrepreneurs and emerging artists work in an outward looking, transnational way?
Firstly, recognise that your insights, your views and your experiences are greatly important, no matter what stage you’re at in your music business journey. Everything you’ve learned, be it at the start of your career, or forty years into it, is useful and valuable. The most successful music business leaders recognise that learning never stops. They understand that ‘what got them here, isn’t necessarily, what will get them there!’
"Your insights, your views and your experiences are greatly important, no matter what stage you’re at in your music business journey. Everything you’ve learned, be it at the start of your career, or forty years into it, is useful and valuable."
The global impact of Covid-19 has led many music business conventions to move in whole or in part, to an online format. It’s now easier than ever to attend (virtually) international meetings of music industry professionals. I always recommend to my students that they read the music business press; Music Business Worldwide, CMU, MusicWeek, and attend industry conventions wherever and whenever they can. If you aren’t abreast of the current music industry happenings, you’re operating in the dark... unable to avoid potential pitfalls or take advantage of emerging opportunities.
Too often, start-ups, professionals and creators fall into an innovation vacuum by surrounding themselves with people that mirror and replicate who they already are! The reality is that building teams of differing talents, of varied experiences and of unique viewpoints is pivotal. Diversity doesn’t complicate the path to success; it clears the path to success.
Artists should heed the same advice. I began my music management career when the traditional method was to grow a local audience, then expand nationally, and then internationally. Whilst some of those techniques hold true, today the global market is much more accessible at every stage of the artist lifecycle. The vast amounts of data that social media and DSPs provide, may highlight an international market that is broader and more engaged than that of your domestic audience. Remember, the UK represents just 10% of the global music industry. It would be foolish to turn your back on the other 90%, especially if the data suggests they’re more receptive to your work!
Ultimately, what I want to champion in this post, is that: 1. your experience and knowledge is valuable to others, wherever you are in your journey, 2. you can influence, affect and direct music industry change on a global level, and 3. we can only find benefit from looking beyond our own society, culture, territory or genre when seeking advice, collaboration, wisdom and opportunity.
Music is a global language, and the industry that protects, promotes, releases, manages and administrates it, should be fluent also.