I’ve recently spoken to a few emerging artists who have all told me one thing. They felt completely lost taking the first steps in the music industry and wished they’d had some more coaching at the very beginning.
It’s not enough to just write a song anymore. You need to know how to contact journos for coverage, where to submit your music for streaming, who to approach about playing gigs or when to promote your songs for the best audience reach.
If you don’t navigate that business side of your profession very well yet, the Indie Musician Summit is your go-to event this November.
As an independent muso, you most likely don’t have a manager, label or team of people that can take care of all the admin, marketing or organisational stuff for you. So it’s natural that you might feel overwhelmed having to do everything yourself. Or even knowing what it is that you have to do. But you’re not alone.
It doesn’t come as a surprise. After all, it tends to happen to anybody starting in a new role or company. But the music business, in particular, requires a set of skills and knowledge going beyond its nature.
Unfortunately, there’s no one universal guide for emerging musos telling them exactly which steps to take and in which order to successfully establish themselves as recording and performing artists. There’s no magic formula for making it in the business, either.
But best practices do exist. Because you can’t do certain things before completing other tasks if you want your music to be heard at all. You just need to do some research. A lot of music publications and organisations run workshops and/or courses covering many aspects of the industry.
Once you start reading up on that topic, however, a lot of tech vocabulary and industry-specific jargon will come up. For instance, do you know what a DSP is? Can you explain the difference between mechanical and performance royalties? Is your electronic press kit ready? Have you set up a bank account and registration number for your music-related income?
Hopefully, you’ve come across the above terms and activities already. But if not, this is exactly where the Indie Musician Summit might come in pretty handy. It will equip you with practical tools and expand the knowledge necessary to navigate your music career as an independent artist.
Sounds like the right event for you? Then let’s dive into some details.
WHAT IS THE INDIE MUSICIAN SUMMIT?
The Indie Musician Summit is an industry gathering for independent artists that need more in-depth guidance in understanding how the business works. It’s “a way to get loads of free information and resources from people in the music industry who are actually doing what they are talking about.” The event’s purpose is to serve the independent artist community around the world and to convince emerging musicians that they can do it.
The idea was born at the beginning of the pandemic, and the first edition took place already in 2020. There were about 550 international registrants, 29 speakers and 6 featured artists last year. This is exactly what makes it a great opportunity to network and meet like-minded people from the industry.
The Summit is made up of chats with speakers, practical info and resources, artists’ stories and special performances.
WHO IS THE EVENT FOR?
Unlike other music industry conferences that bring already established artists and the music business people together, the Indie Musician Summit focuses on getting started. It addresses the “foundations” level because there are still many people who don’t know the basics.
The Summit “has been put together specifically for independent musicians, songwriters and artists who are in the first few years of pursuing music as a career.” If you’ve never studied music nor the music business, this event is for you. Or if you like to play your guitar and would like to make it your career path, you should also sign up to participate.
In 2021, it has become even more relevant as BIGSOUND – the annual Aussie music industry’s conference – got cancelled.
Plus, both Australian musos and artists from overseas are welcome to participate.
WHEN & WHERE DOES THE 2021 EVENT TAKE PLACE?
This year, the summit will run for three days between 11-13 November 2021 (Thursday-Saturday).
It is an online and on-demand event, something like a Netflix documentary for independent musos. That means you’re not limited by time and/or you don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night if you’re not based in Australia.
All the videos are pre-recorded. At 9 am (Melbourne time) each day, the speaker and artist performances videos will go live on the event’s page. They will be available to watch as many times as you want for 24 hours. At 9 am the next day, those videos will be removed and the next days’ videos will be released for the next 24 hours.
There will be approximately 10 to 12 videos every day, and you can pick and choose which ones you want to watch.
WHAT IS THE ALL-ACCESS PASS?
You can register for the event and watch the summit videos when they’re available on the website FREE of charge. But if you want to have access to all this wealth of knowledge and advice for life, you can purchase what is called an ALL-ACCESS PASS. That way you’ll also get access to “bonus interviews and training NOT included in the free registration tier.” Basically, it’s like an upgrade to first or business class when flying long-distance.
The ALL-ACCESS PASS is $45 for those who purchase it before the event starts at 9 am on 11 November and $90 after that cut off time. 1 December is the last day to avail of the upgrade.
The organisers also emphasise that there will be no refunds.
WHAT TOPICS WILL BE COVERED AT THE SUMMIT IN 2021?
The idea behind the Summit is to both provide practical info on navigating the music business as an independent artist, and share actual experiences and inspiring stories. This year, the focus is on three areas: making music, marketing music and music mental health.
Topics like how to connect with a producer or how to project and develop your voice fall under the first category. The second area will focus on websites, PR or digital marketing for indie artists specifically.
Part three is slightly different. Here, the organisers have placed particular emphasis on personal stories. The chosen speakers will talk about some techniques they use to take care of themselves and their mental health in the music business.
WHO ARE THE SPEAKERS?
Over 20 speakers, both from Down Under and overseas, will contribute to the Summit this year. They are either experts in their respective fields or really good at what they do (not necessarily strictly music-related). Amongst them, you’ll hear music managers, producers, podcasters or mental health charities reps.
There will also be a few musos drawing on their own experiences in the business.
WHO IS PERFORMING AT THE SUMMIT THIS YEAR?
In 2021, the organisers had a really hard time choosing featured artists because of the amount of talent that expressed interest in performing. They received over 30 applications.
In the end, nine emerging musicians will be featured at the Summit this year. Not only will they play a few songs each but also talk about their artist’s journey. So there’s a good chance the delegates will be able to learn some practical tips from them, like how to engage with their fans.
HOW CAN I GET THE TICKETS?
Free registration is needed to participate in the summit and get access to the videos on the platform when they are live for their respective 24 hours. The short form is very straightforward. And once you do sign up, you’ll be added to a secure mailing list. That way you can also get updates from the organisers (unless you unsubscribe from it).
CAN I NETWORK WITH OTHER DELEGATES BEFORE THE SUMMIT?
Yes, you can. There’s a group on Facebook specially dedicated to the 2021 Summit. Access to it is granted after you register.
Additionally, on the night of 10 November, and before the event officially kicks off, there will be a live opening party on Facebook. Anyone who has registered for the Summit is invited to join in. The organisers have planned a few performances and giveaways (i.e. of the ALL-ACCESS PASSES) for that occasion.
WHO ORGANISES THE EVENT?
Westwood Management is the company behind the Summit. The two Ladies who lead it, Kate and Amelia, are also singer-songwriters that have years of experience as indie artists under their belt.
Their philosophy is providing “accessible music management and coaching for emerging artists through free resources, paid training and 1/1 coaching.” The Summit is just one of the useful events they put together for up-and-coming musos.
Kate will be also speaking at the event. Her area of expertise is the music release process, and she will be sharing her handy single release checklist with the audience.
To summarise, in the Summit organisers’ words, “The time is now to take control of your career – whether as an artist, songwriter, musician or a million other industry roles.” Maybe not everybody who takes their first steps in the music business can replicate Tones And I’ success right away. But this event is definitely a step in the right direction.
Cover image: supplied
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