30 Under 30 April 30, 2020

TMN 30 Under 30: Meet your Sales & Marketing winners

TMN 30 Under 30: Meet your Sales & Marketing winners

With the finalists, 30 victors and Reader’s Choice champ revealed, it’s time to meet the winners.

After getting to know the Professional Services winners on Wednesday, it’s time to take a look at the three TMN 30 Under 30 heroes from the Sales & Marketing category.

Congratulations to Michael McGahan from Live Nation, Samantha Kariyawasam from Sony Music and Will Blackburn from Universal Music / BRING.

We asked each applicant to outline the biggest challenges facing the music industry and all 30 entries were unique and worth sharing. Responses were given prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.

This year’s are made possible thanks to six incredible sponsors, including APRA AMCOS, Eventbrite, MTV, Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music.


Michael McGahan, Live Nation

The music industry in the internet age is still valuable, but the challenging lies in a better distribution of this value to a wider reach of artists, professionals and organisations.

The social media age has brought with it a saturation of outstanding talent to mainstream eyes and ears.

Music as an art form has become more of a competitive space than ever before – consumers are spoilt for choice when it comes to recorded and live music. Especially when it comes to live touring, artists who want to play for their fans around the world are faced with the challenge of increasing touring costs and a saturated market.

More ‘good’ music to choose from is a wonderful thing, but the challenge lies in identifying ways of generating ancillary revenue in order to make touring feasible. Examples include brand partnerships that help make it possible to bring music to the masses or unique fan experiences curated with the aim of unlocking more value across more consumer touchpoints.

Finally, I believe the live music industry, in particular, is thriving but in a volatile 21st century, external and environmental factors could quickly and easily stifle consumers’ access to live music.

We’re challenged with building a system robust enough to withstand this volatility and uncertainty, because live music has always been, and should always be open and affordable to everyone.


Samantha Kariyawasam, Sony Music

My role at Sony requires me to focus solely on Hip-Hop, R&B and Korean artists.

At present, outside of streaming platforms, there are very few media outlets that will recognise my artists without a tokenistic approach – whether it be radio, online, TV etc.

I am absolutely living for the new social platforms popping up that are introducing the younger generation to songs that might not otherwise be getting playlisting or airplay. I’m excited to see the industry try and keep up with what the kids are into to further the reach of artists!

The workforce in Australia’s music industry doesn’t presently reflect Australia’s multicultural population. It’s important labels, agencies, and promoters make an active effort to be more inclusive as the new crop of talent from diverse backgrounds need to see themselves reflected within the teams they’re working with.


Will Blackburn, Universal Music / BRING

From an agency perspective, one of the biggest challenges are brands that badge artist culture – but do not contribute to the conversation.

But this also presents an opportunity for agencies like BRING to consider new creative approaches to artist and brand marketing which benefits everyone.

This industry is also challenged by brands’ desire for immediate reach over artist relevance. Too often we see artists boiled down simply to their social and streaming numbers by marketers, instead of considering the benefits of a long-sighted, nurtured partnership which may take a bit more time, but will pay off ten-fold for brands later down the track.

A huge opportunity in my work is to better educate brands on the importance of investing in an artist for the long run, not just a flash in the pan once they’re hot.

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