This post is part of the Fair Play Guide series of posts we have been publishing over the past week.
International showcase conferences and festivals e.g., SXSW and Midem, can offer artists a valuable gig – an audience of industry professionals, often including labels looking for new acts to sign.
However, a lot of the delegates may have an idea of who they want to watch, based on recommendations, and so these shows are generally more useful to artists that have already caused a buzz, even if it’s only locally or on a relatively small scale.
Showcases can be invaluable to acts who consider their music to be popular on an international level, or part of a genre or scene that has a hub or strong market somewhere other than the UK. Although potentially career-breaking, international events can be extremely expensive, and require a great deal of organisation.
- Have an idea of what it is that you are looking for. Without this, you’re potentially playing a very expensive overseas gig.
- Plan early, in order to apply for any available funding opportunities.
- Be aware of visa requirements and work permits.
- Make the most of your time at the event. In the months leading up to it, research delegates, and contact people that you feel may be good to meet.
UK-based events e.g., Sound City (Liverpool), The Great Escape (Brighton) and Go North (Inverness), are generally more accessible and affordable for emerging acts that don’t have the support of a label and/or manager.
As with international showcases, there are far more artists performing than there are delegates in a position to offer recording / management / publishing deals, but the conferences operate on a level whereby artists can easily network with relevant industry bodies.
The Fair Play guide, a document compiled by the MU in response to pay-to-play shows and co-promotions, will be officially launched at Generator event next week – “Live Music: Working with agents, promoters & DIY”. The guide is the definitive companion for anyone involved in their own promotion, offering advice in terms of recognising good deals, and information surrounding band competitions, showcase events and things to avoid.
Guest speakers at the event will also discuss: earning royalties from gigs, getting national gigs and how to find an agent.
Daryl Robinson, MAMA Group
Jay Taylor, Ruby Lounge
Kelly Wood, MU Gig Section Secretary
Amber McKenzie, ITB
Ross Millard, The Futureheads / Split Festival
Henry Carden, Ten Feet Tall
Info and to register: