Friday 4th May @ The British Music Experience
SOUND CITY+ is the festival’s bustling music business conference, which pays tribute to Liverpool’s history as the gateway to the global market on many levels, from trade and industry to the British music invasion of the 60s. The British Music Experience, in Liverpool’s historical Cunard Building, is the perfect setting for Sound City+ this year, featuring a day of panels, workshops and In Conversation sessions that allow leading industry figures to dissect some of the most pressing issues in the business in 2018. Below are some of our highlights – but you can find a full programme rundown at plus.soundcity.uk.com.
Tim Ingham (Music Business Worldwide)
When it comes to the music industry, there isn’t much that TIM INGHAM doesn’t know. The founder and publisher of ‘industry bible’ Music Business Worldwide (MBW), Ingham has been a respected and critical music industry commentator for a number of years. Previously Editor of British trade paper Music Week, Ingham has turned MBW into a successful online source of analysis and insight on developments in commerce, manufacturing and legal issues that directly affect artists. Founded in 2015, MBW launched its first subscription print product – the premium quarterly magazine Music Business UK – in 2017, servicing the global industry with news and jobs across ever more diverse issues.
A recent interview Ingham conducted with Carl Hitchborn, of artist management house and record company High Time, went viral, racking up over 110,000 shares. The interview dug in to Hitchborn’s success in building High Time – which Ingham describes as “one of the UK’s most talked-about and disruptive new music companies” – from a completely different template to traditional label and music businesses. Hitchborn began his career working in his parents’ bakery in Norwich, and when he decided to transpose his “direct-to-consumer” approach to business model from the world of baking to the music industry, he was initially scoffed at. But his success with High Time, spearheaded by indie outfit The Hunna (who are signed to High Time across management, records and publishing), has had some people thinking again about the outdated structure that the music industry is based upon. “I realised very quickly that literally nobody in the music business knew what they were doing,” Hitchborn told Ingham in the interview, “And I thought, ‘What even is this industry? This is the most insane thing I’ve ever seen in my life.’”
As well as commenting on developments in the sector for MBW, Ingham has written about the music industry for the likes of The Guardian, The Independent and NME. His recent coverage of Spotify’s flotation on the New York Stock Exchange has been an insightful series, breaking down the mass of complicated economic processes to explain exactly what the figures will translate to in terms of revenues for artists. He has also conducted important research into the shares held in Spotify by Sony and Universal, and what Spotify’s going public means for their portion of the loot. Across all of his commentary and fascinating interviews, Ingham acts like a watchdog for the industry, pointing areas for concern for diversity and representation – and also giving praise where it’s due.
In 2014, Ingham was named one of the world’s 500 Most Influential Britons – and one of the 20 most influential British music execs – by The Sunday Times and Debrett’s.
Outside of MBW, Ingham is a Non-Executive Director of IMPEL (Independent Music Publishers e-Licensing), which enables independent music publishers to collectively license their Anglo-American mechanical digital rights on an international basis.
What’s clear is that Tim Ingham is in it for the artists. If there’s one person who opinions on the inner workings of the music industry you need to hear, it’s his.
Future Music City
Liverpool’s music community have long been pushing the agenda of how to better protect and invest in one of the most defining tenets of the city’s identity. In March 2018, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor STEVE ROTHERAM announced the formation of a Liverpool City Region Music Board. The board will mirror the structure of – and hopefully the success of – the London Music Board, which in only two years of operation, has achieved huge successes, including scrapping form 696 which penalised grime nights. Steve Rotheram will be interviewed by Bido Lito!’s own CRAIG G PENNINGTON about the future of these proposals in a panel session at Sound City+. Joining them are AMY LAMÉ – London’s first Night Czar and spokesperson and advocate for nightlife in the city, who’s headed up campaigns to protect Fabric and LGBTQ+ venues in the capital – and YOUSEF, an artist who’s found global success as a DJ and producer through his Liverpool-via-the-world house music empire.
The Imposters Session
At a recent Both Sides Now discussion event in Liverpool, imposter syndrome was continuously flagged as an issue that affects everyone working in the music industry at some point. As a field that’s extremely competitive, feeling as though you’re undeserving of your place and that others will realise you’re not good enough is sadly commonplace. It’s also a lot more difficult to feel that somewhere is your place if you can’t see yourself represented in aspirational positions, which is why KeyChange – PRSF’s initiative which encourages festivals to realise a 50:50 gender balance by 2022 – is so important. As a KeyChange partner, Sound City are committed to achieving this 50:50 split in their programme, and they’ll be tackling the toxicity of imposter syndrome with soul artist TAWIAH and life coach FIONA BUCKLAND, who’ll be discussing how to spot imposter syndrome, offering an artist’s perspective and delivering practical advice on managing it.
Pinning down tour dates in Europe can seem daunting enough, but especially now that the future of free movement across the EU is cast into doubt. It’s not all doom and gloom though – a programme to provide more international touring opportunities for UK and European artists has just been set up. The Innovation Network of European Showcases (INES for short) brings together a mixture of international showcase festivals and Gigmit – Europe’s largest gig and artist database – with shared goals of connecting innovative industry hubs and strengthening and unifying the European music market. Representatives from four of the festivals involved (Sound City, Waves Vienna, Live At Heart in Örebro and Midem in Cannes) will get together at conference to discuss opportunities for artists to play at international showcases, as well as consider the industry differences and similarities in each country and what it takes to break through to an international crowd.
Though best known as label boss at Creation Records and for his work with Oasis, over the past two years ALAN MCGEE has been working closely with Musicians Against Homelessness to raise money for homelessness charity Crisis. Set up by Emma Rule in 2016, the MAH founder reached out to McGee as a well-respected music business head and he agreed to get involved and become their patron straight away, becoming spokesperson for their campaigns – a role he brings to Sound City+ – and helping out with putting together line-ups and developing relationships with venues. Their latest campaign, Royal Bedding Day, will see venues across the country host gigs on the day of the royal wedding with proceeds going to Crisis, after it emerged that the leader of Windsor and Maidenhead Council had written to Thames Valley Police to try and remove homeless people from the area on 19th May.