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Navigating the New Zealand music industry

New industry training initiative

in Industry by

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Music industry veteran Manu Taylor aims to make his educational initiative You’re The Future Of Music a regular event on the business calendar.

The scheme is designed equip artists and managers with the tools to navigate the global marketplace, with the inaugural event set for Auckland next month.

However, Taylor hopes it will be the first of many. “I’m aiming for maybe three or four a year,” he says. “So we’ll do the first one in Auckland but I want to move it around and take it to other places around the country as well.”

Supported by the likes of NZ On Air and APRA AMCOS, the first You’re The Future Of Music event will consist of two days of workshops, a keynote seminar and a showcase. The event is being will be split into two categories: the first, which will run November 1-3, will focus on the international market, and the second (November 3-5) will be devoted Maori creativity.

As well local music industry leaders and artists, the workshops will feature three international guest speakers: Luke McGrellis, vice president at Universal Music Publishing in Los Angeles, US indie artist and data analyst Shelita Burke, and Charles Kirby-Welsh, CEO and founder of the Kartel Music Group UK.

Taylor has been involved in the NZ music industry for more than 30 years and his career has included stints at WEA and PolyGram, and radio stations such as Mai FM and 95bFM. He currently runs the consultancy 45rpm and also manages artists such as Lontalius and SoccerPractise.

The new initiative follows on from a music showcase series of the same name series, which Taylor hopes will become a new fortnightly event for young new artists looking to perform in front of a live audience.

However, the focus of You’re The Future of Music is about preparing Kiwi musicians and their support teams for the ever changing music environment. He says he works with a lot of artists and other creative businesses, and believes a lot of them additional support.

“It’s not a panel and it’s not a speaking group,” Taylor continues. “It’s not me saying ‘this is how I did it, you should copy me’. It’s really about three things: having an understanding of where the audience now in the new music industry, having an understanding of where you sit within that, and putting together a 12 month plan that puts you with that audience.”

While many NZ artists will know what path they want to take, Taylor feels they sometimes lack the skills and knowledge to implement their vision. He says it’s vital that NZ artists and their support teams work out for themselves what strategies are going to work best for them.

“As well as artists, we want them to bring their managers along. When it comes to putting together a business plan they are not the people who need to do that. Their support teams need to understand what the talent want and need to understand what they’re focused on. They’ll then get a better sense of direction and strategy out of it.

It’s not us telling them what the path is, it’s for the talent to decide that themselves and then plan accordingly.”

Taylor is also excited about to be running a programme aimed specifically at Maori creatives. Maori creativity requires a different focus to general music, as it operates with different sensibilities and goals, he says.

As well as local experts, Taylor believes the first line-up of international guests will be able to provide some valuable insights into the music business, particularly Luke McGrellis, who has worked with global superstars such as Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. “He has a really good sense of pop and what makes a great songwriter,” he adds. “It’s really important that people understand that this is a global business. This isn’t a local cottage industry, so you need to be match fit.”

Luke McGrellis

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