Face the Music Roadshow with Zac Abroms

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Face the Music Roadshow with Zac Abroms

It’s time to Face the Music… The music industry, that is. The Face the Music Roadshow promises an industry masterclass event featuring professional guest speakers for an evening of free advice and inspiration for getting your foot in the door. One such guest is Zac Abroms, music manager and founder of Viceroyalty, who manages sparkling talents such as Alice Ivy.

Let’s start with your favourite thing about the industry and working with people and artists?

I think that’s one thing I find special about working in music. In my experience, I’ve never seen an industry quite like the music industry in terms of the interpersonal relationships you build. We really do feel like a community, and we’re all willing to lend a hand when we can. We’re a very supportive industry. There’s always a little healthy competition, but everyone is championing each other’s businesses and artists. We’re all fighting for our artists’ due – to be compensated fairly, for the talents and what they do to put Australian music out there on the global stage. Although it’s hard work with long hours, there’s an amazing comradery there. I have made real friendships in the music industry that go so deep that they will last a lifetime.

Speaking of that camaraderie, that brings me to Face the Music. I hear it’s celebrating its tenth anniversary?

Face the Music had very humble origins. I wasn’t at the first event but I’m told there were only about 30-40 people. Then last year, there were more than a thousand attendees with several international speakers. Compared to other music conferences around the world, it’s still amazingly intimate. There’s a realistic expectation that you’re going to get face-to-face time with people at all levels of the industry. We never price a conference beyond a point that it’s going to exclude young people and people breaking into the industry from attending. At the same time, I’ve been in the industry for 10 years now and I’m excited about the interstate speakers and the international attendees coming to the summit this year.

Who would you encourage to attend the Roadshow in order to get the most benefit?

What I find super exciting about these roadshows it the diverse set of skills in the line-up. First is Bec Sandridge, who’s an incredible musician, songwriter, artist and an excellent role-model for young people. Bec’s career is exploding and eventually she’s going to be too busy to do these kinds of events. It’s a testament to her character that she’s taking time out to help others in the industry.

You also have Lydia Greenwood, who is a booker for Destroy All Lines. They are the biggest syndicated network of Australian nightclubs who support live music. They tour all kinds of musicians from local bands, to massive internationals. Her wealth of knowledge will allow her to discuss how to get your bands shows happening and how to snag bookings.

Then there’s myself. I’m able to speak to artists from the perspective of how they can secure artist management and the characteristics we are looking for in an artist. As a publicist, I can speak to them about branding and marketing that will aid their career from early on.

Between the three of us, that ticks most of the necessary boxes for all kinds of people who are hoping to break into the music industry, whether that is as an artist, a promoter or a manager.

What are your top three tips for someone who is hoping to break into the music industry?

Communication skills are extremely important. When you’re starting out in the industry, it’s important that you take a lot of time and effort with your phone manner especially. Many people in the industry are time poor, so the more efficiently you can communicate through email, the better. One of the biggest mistakes I see with emerging artists and managers is that they overcompensate for their lack of experience in their email correspondence. What I like to see instead is people who communicate succinctly. It’s also important to respond to your emails in a timely manner when you do get replies.

Never burn any bridges. Australia’s a small country and our music industry is even smaller. In 10 years, I’ve met with about 80-90% of people working in the industry multiple times. It may seem like a good idea at first to slag that promoter online who treated you unfairly, or to take a pot-shot at another band on Twitter. There will always be repercussions. In my experience, it’s always better to take the high road. Don’t worry too much about the people who have wronged you. Whatever you do, don’t put it online where it could come back to bite you further on down the track.

Lastly, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Don’t allow yourself to be forced into doing something if your heart’s not in it, whether it’s artistically or in the business sense. I’ve always led with my heart on every project I’ve gone into. No amount of money is worth doing anything that doesn’t sit right with me, personally. It’s always the better path to stick to who you are and your principles. Don’t sell out on yourself – we’re in a business of passionate people and you have to let your passion drive you.

Any final words?

I think that the opportunity to come to the roadshow for free is a rare one and I highly encourage everyone to get along. It’s a stepping stone to Save the Music on November 23 & 24 in Melbourne at the Melbourne Music Week Hub. Early bird tickets are now on sale at the Save the Music website.

When & Where: Courthouse Youth Arts, Geelong – September 26; The Vri Hall, Traralgon – September 27; Noble Monks, Shepparton – September 28; Horsham Town Hall, Horsham – October 2; The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine – October 3

Written by Stephanie Downing