‘It should be accessible for everybody’: Geoff Trio on Australian Music Week
“The music industry can be daunting for someone who’s starting out – which is why Australian Music Week was started five years ago,” says its founder and director Geoff Trio.
Australia Music Week (November 6—10, Cronulla Beach, Sydney) has since continued to grow in leaps and bounds.
This year, for instance, almost 800 acts applied for the 150 showcase slots over three days.
The first keynote address is by US-based cult hero Bob Lefsetz.
But AMW retained its grassroots appeal, and as Trio emphasises, “I’ve always wanted to make it accessible for everybody.”
Major venue operator ASM Global has come on board with an investment in resources to bring on partners to keep ticket prices low.
Australian Music Week also works at coming up with initiatives where delegates and artists can network.
“The music industry is essentially about relationships,” Trio spells out. “Most definitely having a drink or a chat in a comfortable place is crucial.
“You can exchange dozens of emails with people but a relationship only moves faster when you meet face to face and have eye contact.
“Because AMW is on the beach, everyone’s a lot more relaxed, people give their time, and artists feel comfortable walking up to an executive and introducing themselves.”
The approach has worked. Bluesfest director Peter Noble has booked half a dozen acts after meeting them at AMW, going along to see their gigs and being mightily impressed to book them straight away.
Bands have been signed by agents or got overseas tours.
William Crighton got noticed by Canadian delegates and found himself booked at gigs there.
Trio adds, “Ruby Fields, Skeggs, Hein Cooper, they all played AMW early on and we’re now seeing them making waves a few years later.
“A couple of bands came back to me this year and said ‘we must play again’. I asked for their reasoning, and they said we just did a festival which is one of the best gigs we’ve ever done and it came directly from AMW.”
This year will see coming into effect one of Trio’s long-time vision for the event.
“It’s to create a community for delegates and artist to be at one event.
“I’ve been to the New Orleans Jazz Festival a few times and we are this year activating a big stage on the beach to create a jazz-style event on the beach for all genres.
“I like the way the festival works with the community.
“It finishes up early, about 7’ clock and everyone heads off into the restaurants and bars and the post-festival atmosphere is amazing. “
A 2019 drawcard is Bob Lefsetz, whose often unpopular predictions about the internet and the music industry are now proving true.
He’ll be part of the focus on a podcast festival. He’ll record several live podcasts with high profile industry identities – including artist managers, label executives and at least two artists – for The Bob Lefsetz Podcast.
Sydney-born and Nashville-based filmmaker and concert promoter, Jeremy Dylan, will interview an artist for his podcast My Favourite Album while Nate Goyer presents The Vinyl Guide.
For newcomers, there’s an introduction to the music industry called The Music Industry For Dummies.
Similarly, one of the interactive workshops is Hypothetically Live where agents, promoters, venue bookers, festival programmers, managers, digital marketers, publicists and the artist work step-by-step through touring plans, venue and promoter deals and creative showcase ideas.
The radio panel (to be announced) looks like having a mix of community and commercial radio reps.
Trio doesn’t buy into the argument in some sectors that radio is becoming an irrelevant medium.
He says, “Radio’s still a place where many people hear new music, although they might go to Spotify after they hear it.
“But radio is definitely still a taste-maker. And, it might not be said, but it still has a big influence on the live scene.”
80 speakers over 20 panels will cover management, First Nations, women in music, labels, distribution, mental health, country music, Americana and more.
Other attractions include the Sydney premiere of The 80-minute documentary Tommy Emmanuel –The Endless Road, directed by Jeremy Dylan and produced by Jaime Lewis.
AMW also partners with the Association of Artist Managers as the AAM presents the initial workshop for the flagship mentoring program Co-Pilot and its new First Nations Mentorship Program.
$1 per every ticket is going towards Support Act. Ticket buyers can also donate more when purchasing tickets.
For full details of the panels, speakers, workshops, masterclasses and showcase artists announced so far, head here.