Sounds Phenomenal - A History
Street Level Muzik
The Music Industry Conference
1998 saw the group’s activities pick up pace, building
on the momentum gathered since its inception. A comprehensive programme of
activities was devised that consolidated the work already achieved and built
Having applied to the Arts 4 Everyone scheme, as
supported by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of England, Sounds
Phenomenal was granted £3100. This funding was channelled into the Street
Level Muzik series of events, a collection of workshops activities that ran
between February and July 1998 and culminated in the first Music Industry
Conference, at the Brighton Media Centre.
A broad workshop programme was constructed that consisted
Musiczone and Frenetix Soundscapes Drop-in
Praxis MIDI music course
DJ and mixing workshops
Sound Technology Workshop for Women
Graffiti Art sessions
This innovative project was aimed at demystifying the
industry for those looking to enter it and intended to bring representatives
from the music business face-to-face with musicians themselves.
…the biggest and most popular event of the ‘Street
Level Muzik’ programme. The idea for this event came out of the ‘Sounds
Phenomenal’ meetings and the group brainstormed who and what they would like
to see happening on that day. A youth worker and one of the group took
responsibility to follow up the idea and spent a huge amount of effort and
hard work networking, communicating with potential seminar leaders and working
on the general logistical demands of putting on a conference like this. There
was a tremendous response to the idea of the conference and the speakers were
enthusiastic about taking part. The Brighton & Hove Fringe Festival were
also extremely supportive, designing and printing all the advertising for the
event, devoting a whole page in their programme to the conference and
providing their box office for selling tickets. ‘Sounds Phenomenal’ also
had a slot on SURF 107 radio to ‘plug’ the event. On the actual day of the
conference, SURF 107 advertised the event at hourly intervals, with the
conference also receiving coverage in The Guardian’s ‘The Guide’! The
stewards were all from ‘Sounds Phenomenal’ and over 300 people attended
the day at the Brighton Media Centre.
An exciting variety of speakers from the music industry took part in seminars that offered to demystify and help navigate the maze which is the music industry, from setting up a label, dealing with A&R, to exploring arts funding and learning about accredited training opportunities.
The response to the conference was tremendous. People who came in just to look spent the whole day going from seminar to seminar. One of the industry people who initially said he could only come for an hour stayed the whole day, providing advice and support at an ‘open table’. Musicians and artists were networking and making new contacts and everyone was positive about the seminars themselves. A number of participants offered their help with any follow up events, and already Sounds Phenomenal are being contacted to plan and organise another music industry conference in ’99.
There was clearly a gap in
the music and arts field that was met by the Music Industry Conference. The
overwhelming response from music industry experts, musicians, bands, promoters,
students and those wanting to develop a career in music indicates a strong
desire for more of the same. Currently, the Sounds Phenomenal group are
brainstorming what speakers/experts they could invite and there is also plans to
make it a two-day event, with seminars on one day and ‘master classes’ on
another, with a more structured space for networking.
‘Street Level Muzik 1998’, a report by Jonathan Foxton, Gary Cox, Denis
Below is the programme for the day:
|Theatre – Brighton Media Centre||
– Brighton Media Centre
money for bands – a crash course on how funding systems work &
doing a budget.
|11.00-12.00||Justice?: What the New Deal means to unemployed musicians.|
Dance Parade: DIY
event kit – the inspiration for and roots of the Dance Parade.
Of London University: Top
lecturers from Making Music Work course, covering many aspects of
industry (UK & global industry, music & law, and marketing.
Future & Mosquito: Setting
up a successful dance label, info on registering, pressing &
Goffe (Roni Size’s manager) about the success of Heavyweight &
how to get a publishing/m’ment deal
107 & Earshot: How
to get into radio broadcasting, with a focus on youth formats.
people behind the successful label & what goes into running Skint.
Managers Forum: How
to get into management & what managers look for in bands.
& MCPS: Performing
& Mechanical royalties, sample clearance & other subjects.
from Nude Records: How
to get into A&R, & what A&R look for in up & coming
Feedback from some of the participants who attended
included the following responses:
How did you feel
the day went, what was good about it and how might things be improved?
enjoyed the day and found it
very informative. I noticed varying degrees of preparation regarding the
speakers and wonder if they were all ‘primed’ enough as to what was
expected of them (just a thought) The staff were all very pleasant and should
be pleased with themselves”
and also succinct speakers, who were well chosen What else can I say?
Basically I’d like to see more of this. Thanks. A good day.”
conference was well organised,
in a relaxed and comfortable environment (although some softer seats for that
long session in the gallery would have been nice). Conference stewards were
friendly and helpful, often giving valuable input into the discussions”
of the sessions were interesting, informative and entertaining. Good work
Sounds Phenomenal and thanks for the free tea and coffee. Improvements:
perhaps all day tickets at a slightly reduced rate, with attendees
specifying beforehand which sessions they want to go to, so that numbers in
venues can be organised.
More free hand-outs — notes from speakers etc”
good, but don’t run two things against each other as you miss important
very good, useful information. Simon from Heavy Weight top of the bill.”
as a new person to the biz it was a great introduction. It would be
really useful to have a Brighton network list of names and contact details of
good, very useful. Nice to meet other people doing the same thing. City of
London women was very good - good overview of the industry with a health
degree of cynicism. Roni Size, manager interesting. Skint - not very helpful,
more promoting their own stuff.”
day. Helped clarify many points for me as someone just starting in the biz.
Hope to see more in the future - is it possible to cover music biz lawyers?
Well done and thanks a lot.”
- I felt very relaxed and at home, even answering questions. I thought the
event was for youngsters, I wasn’t sure as I only saw some publicity the day
before - but it was great and well worth coming - to get feedback and contacts
for next year.”
participants, very attentive and open to questions and discussion. Sounds
Phenomenal, very hospitable, Rod, who
looked after the course, very helpful. I had a great day.”
“Brilliant day - loads of excellent information and great to see some famous Brighton faces speaking about what they do. Thanks!”
one, much needed information, more of it on a regular basis!”
thought it was well organised,
good hospitality always goes down a treat, cheers. My only thoughts are that
this is a great idea and you should make them happen more often”
- saw 4 seminars - IMF, PRS, MCPS Heavyweight and City of London. They were
all very informative and helpful. More of the same would be excellent. Good to
meet other people in music industry who were attending the seminars. Network
was excellent - very informative speakers and very helpful. Longer sessions
would help the question/answer sessions.”
Q2) Do you have any ideas for other similar type events which Sounds Phenomenal could do? What else would you like to see in a Music Industry Conference?
“A more regular event would be good!”
would be good to have some artists speaking, or giving a presentation talking
about their experiences. Perhaps someone from a major label and someone from
an independent label.”
Record companies - independent and major. Songwriting.”
representatives from the major companies of the music industry.”
open workshops so different people in Brighton can meet up and advise each
other. Well done - great!”
to have an event where different musicians could bring their tracks to hear
each others stuff- if you do this let me know!”
marketing. Developing a Publicity strategy course in itself. Run making music
weekend course in Brighton.”
of the same, bands talking about their experience of the industry.”
for people involved in music, e.g. gig venues, promoters, labels etc. It would
be good to see more encouragement/contacts for people starting out.”
some more specialised
question and answer sessions for people setting up their own projects so they
can make a list of questions and really use the workshop.”
media bods, record companies, video bods, publishers, promoters, venues,
for pop video makers. Cheers!”
© Sounds Phenomenal, 2003