I attended the Brighton Music Conference to give me a broad vision of my future regarding the music industry.
This was held in Brighton Dome on 28th April 2017 from 10:30am to 5:30pm, it took us forty minutes on the train from East Croydon to Brighton on the Thameslink train with a group of peers from my college. We met the professional key people who work inside of the music industry about their experiences, the businesses, the record label/company and the future of their ambitions etc.
The conference talk I really enjoyed the most is when I engaged Throwing Shade who is the female DJ/Producer works for NTS Radio and she is part of Ninja Tune. She said she wanted to be a lawyer, before she turned her attention to music and accidentally fell into the music industry. I personally see her music as electronic in her own personal style.
I was shocked to hear about her part of the story when some people, like men, can’t see her as a producer but more as a musician as this is an ongoing issue of sexism in the music industry. I can see I do not support sexism as I am not one of those men can do everything, but respect equality and diversity and the idea that anyone can be anything, whatever they want.
When it was the Q&A part where everyone from the audience asked questions to each panel member including Throwing Shade. One of my peers questioned Throwing Shade about how he should set boundaries when he’s about to sign the contract with the record company without selling himself out and being controlled like a puppet. She replied back with advice to my friend in terms of setting a boundary, he would need to either set his free will structure and read the contract to make sure he is happy with the terms and conditions set out in the contract. Therefore, this would prevent any arguments and disagreements between both parties.
I can name one DJ/producer who was in the situation that he nearly lost the full rights to his songs to the record label thanks to his manager who mislead him when he was 17 years old. That person is no other than Martin Garrix. The Dutch DJ sued his former manager Eelko van Kooten for “false and misleading information” during his signing to Spinnin’ Records and MusicAllStars Management. Garrix left Spinnin’ Records in 2015 after disagreements with the record label over ownership of his music rights and he was constantly fighting for his music to revert back to him. In the end, Martin settled with the label that they transferred his music back to him and as part of the settlement agreement, Spinnin’ would “retain an exclusive licence for an undisclosed, limited period for all tracks released before August 2015.”
There are many opportunities for artist(s)/group(s) to start somewhere like posting original songs on YouTube or SoundCloud and playing it live to the public in festivals, nightclubs, discos and parties etc. Some artists started their career but they may encounter struggling to get himself/herself a big break to get recognised by any record labels that specialise in dance music genres. I think the best way to start is to start from the bottom like performing in small local disco venues until you climb up step by step to get to the top like the big festivals and at the same time you can produce a song or two to post it on your YouTube or SoundCloud, whichever suits you the best.
Also I liked the discussion about how other songwriters get royalties if some wrote one line or a quarter of the song or two you’re involved. Well it depends if anyone contributes and suggest any lines to go along with a song that’s meaningful, then they can get royalties if they’re credited on a lyric sheet and it depends how much you wrote, the more you’ll receive from PRS for Music for instance. I can understand that every songwriter can receive royalties depending on how much they wrote and how many other people were involved. They can have a fair percentage depending on how much each person wrote and contributed. However, always make sure you’re the main person who comes up with your original ideas and never allow anyone to change it without your permission. You can’t always say “yes” to every change, you have to step in to take control of your song to not allow anyone to change it too much. Otherwise, you’ll lose your song to the hands of different songwriters.
To conclude this report, I really liked the conference and it really opened my mind to understand all the responsibilities of jobs roles and the reminders for myself how to stay safe and look after myself when I am in these situations if anything occurs during my career on the horizon up the road. In hindsight, there are going to be some tough times, so keep your head up so you don’t suffer in defeat when things don’t go according to your plan of how you want to envision your ideas. Through my experience of DJing, I may encounter some threats but that didn’t stop me continuing my purpose to keep the crowd entertained and amazed. I produced some songs, but I am still learning some new advanced techniques and skills, and in the future, I may want to get my songs out there by making sure I got all of my songs copyrighted to me with evidence I made them, so I will be ready if someone steals my piece(s). I would like to use the advice that Throwing Shade offered to my friend, read the contract from the record label before you sign. If that doesn’t agree with you, then there are other offers that may apply to you.
Brighton Music Conference, Academy Theatre. Available at: http://www.brightonmusicconference.co.uk/academy/ (Accessed on 02/05/2017)
Billboard, Martin Garrix Sues Ex-Manageer. Available at: http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/dance/6760688/martin-garrix-reportedly-files-lawsuit-against-ex-manager-spinnin (Accessed on 14/05/2017)
Billboard, Martin Garrix & Spinnin’ Records Settle Lawsuit Over Music Ownership Rights. Available at: http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/dance/6784856/martin-garrix-spinnin-records-settle-lawsuit (Accessed on 14/05/2017)