Meet our delegates! We are pleased to present just a few of the industry's finest who will be joining us for the 15th edition of the festival. Every year, POP welcomes music supervisors, festival bookers, record label heads and more from all around the world to experience the magic of Montreal and what our fest is all about, participate in panels and make a musical discovery or two. We asked Kevin Halpin, Laura Katz and Ben Blackburn to share their most important tips when it comes to doing their job, as well as getting their attention.
Booker - Torstrassenfestival
I'm not saying that you have to be a thick skinned, hard nosed, no bullshit master negotiator to get the job, but, based on my experience, it would seem that such attributes don't hurt. If you're coming into the position unequipped with the above, for better or worse, you'll pick them up soon enough.
OK. That's the bitter side of things. Now that that's out of the way, let's address the question of "How To Program A Festival" from a more practical perspective:
Communication is key to a lot more things than just running a festival, so you can take this one on as a life lesson in general. People want to know things. Let em know. Come clear. Share ideas. Veto ideas. Brainstorm ideas. Point is, things will be greatly simplified, and later issues later resolved, with a deep and thorough exchange of emails.
2: Cast A Wide Net
Just as you, in whatever booking capacity you might find yourself in, have specific ideas about how you would like your event to look, you have to remember that each and every band and artist and their management also have their own ideas and wants too. Clout and cash can usually make the two visions align. However, if you're short on either, you're to to have to cast a wide net so as to make the chips fall into place.
3: Stay Within Your Budget
I know that it can be tough to dream big without spending big, but if you want to be in it for the long haul, you have to keep a sober eye on your budget.
There are, of course, a couple more things to take into account. Keeping these three in mind will hopefully keep you in the game long enough that you can worry about the other stuff when the time comes.
I first entered the music industry by co-founding a music blog called Crack in the Road while at university. The blog allowed me to meet people working within the industry through my discovery of new music, and facilitated my first job working in music PR and radio plugging. My journey to A&R was indirect, however I found that as A&R is such a center point to an artist's career, it was important to understand as much the wider industry as possible.
A&R focuses primarily on the discovery of new musical talent, and the signing of talent that is deemed promising enough to progress through to the recording and release of an album. At Virgin EMI I focus on discovering a range of genres and styles, while always concentrating on finding the best songwriting within those sounds.
Once an artist is signed then a series of processes begin in building and galvanizing an artist's career, including finding the best people to record and produce their music, alongside building the aesthetic and marketing/press plans moving forward.
The best way to get the attention of an A&R in my opinion is to make sure you are working on more than just your music. While the quality of your music is priority number one, it's important to take the initiative as much as you can in getting your music out into the world, building your artist profile, and gigging as much as possible.
If you're looking to work in A&R, similar rules apply. Demonstrate how passionate you are about music and the wider industry through any medium that suits you, and remember that the A&R job may not be your first role within the music industry.
Head of Music Supervision, Los Angeles - Cutting Edge Group
Do all your music submissions go unanswered? Do you wait impatiently staring at your computer screen waiting hopelessly for feedback? Here are some hard truths about cold emailing and a few suggestions on how to make the process better and perhaps more successful.
How to submit music to a Music Supervisor (well, this Music Supervisor):
- Never attach anything. No audio files, no images, no .pdf press kits, nada.
- Do link to downloadable audio.
- Make sure that your downloadable audio files are all tagged with metadata, especially your name! We need to know to whom we need to reach out when we want to use your song. This basically comes down to not putting stumbling blocks in your own way. Make it easy for the supervisor to find you.
- If you’re tagging your music in iTunes, don’t put in a star rating! Those should reflect my own opinions.
- Be absolutely clear on what rights you own/control and which ones we’ll need to get elsewhere. If you only own the master, for example, make sure to tell us!
- If it’s a cover, definitely tell us!
- Don’t follow up. We all get hundreds of emails a day and by following up, you’re just adding more to that pile. Feel free to send new music, though.
- Don’t expect a response. It’s sad but true that we just don’t have time to respond unless we’re interested / can find a use. There are plenty of times when I like the music but just don’t have anywhere it will fit. That doesn’t mean I won’t think of it in a year when the time does finally come around.
OK, so that’s a good start. It will get you far. We will thank you (well, we will be thankful)!