Face the Music: Marshall Betts

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Face the Music: Marshall Betts

Not many in the music industry can say that they started out working with names as big as Yoko Ono, but Marshall Betts can … and it was just the start he needed to increase his passion for the industry. “The biggest surprise I guess is really understanding how to deal with artists,” Marshall adds with a laugh.
“I think we all enter the industry as a fan, but once you start to work with some of the artists that you’ve been a fan of on a personal level and you start to get to know them as people and work for them it’s a whole different ball game.”
Almost instantly Marshall came to realise that working in the music industry wasn’t about hanging in hotel rooms with your favourite musicians while drinking martinis at all.
“Attention to detail is something that is extremely valuable in any profession, but especially in the music industry. I feel like we all have to be very detail-oriented and even when we’re looking over a contract, they’re 10-15 pages long, but the tiniest thing can really make or break a show or an artist’s career,” he says.
Ten years on since he first started and Marshall is now booking and representing artists such as Courtney Barnett, Veruca Salt, White Lung and many more and will be taking his knowledge to the Face the Music industry conference in Melbourne. Face the Music is a two-day event where those involved in the music industry come together in the form of workshops, presentations and discussions to professional and creative development in careers.
“There are promoters all over the world that I talk to once a week who I’ve never met and never really chat to on the phone unless something goes wrong. When you go to these events and everybody is there it makes it easier for everybody and your relationship with them grows exponentially,” Marshall says.
Given that Marshall is also from America it gives him a chance to share his knowledge of the American music industry while sussing out many of the talented musicians within Australia.
“I’m excited to get down to Australia and come across some of what I think is the best in new music coming out in the whole world,” he says. “If you look at showcase events like SXSW it is increasing with Australian artists and I just think it’s a really exciting time for Australia and Australian music and I’m really happy to get to know the people down there.”
Previously breaking into the American music industry is a challenge for even the best of musicians, the main being that it’s expensive merely to get there.
“You guys have got to come a long way, and you come to a country with not just four or five big markets, there’s 20 of them, and you have to have a team behind you to be able to break into all of them,” Marshall says.
“It’s a hard and daunting thing, but if you do it right and you put together the right team then it’s something that can easily be done.”
Though all of this is easier said than done – and surely is something that Marshall can speak deeper on, amongst other things, when he presents at the conference.
When&Where: Arts Centre, Melbourne – November 14 & 15
By Amanda Sherring