Music

EMC Connect Melbourne

June 30, 2019

While Sydney is the Electronic Music Conference’s home, the event has also been hosting EMC Connect mini events in Brisbane and Melbourne. I’ve never been to EMC proper before but have heard incredible things. When they asked me to be involved with EMC Connect Melbourne, my answer was absolutely said hell yes.

The Growth Guides: Prioritising Community panel looked at how to build strong online and offline music communities, and what is key for generating support, real engagement and fandom (not just stats). The panel was facilitated by the excellent Arlo Enemark from Xelon Entertainment and Medium Rare Recordings. Joining me on the panel was Jerry Poon from The Operatives (actually a Bolster client), Xander Malual from The Listening Co and Juñor Ondaatje from AUDollars/R.E.A.L Music. Here are some of the conversations we had:

  • What’s your approach when Bolster clients want stats over prioritising a community or real fans? We actually get asked this fairly often. Some clients are hellbent on numbers like post reactions and Facebook fans, but we call these vanity metrics. We’ll always try to uncover the real life business outcomes behind these and focus on these for clients instead and find these vanity metrics follow anyway. (Real business outcomes might include people engaging with website content, clicking out of a Linkfire or purchasing a ticket.)
  • How do you find networks when you know no one? Go out to events, be nice, get to know people, offer to help and ask for help.
  • How do you keep your existing audience but find new people? We all had slightly different answers but my thoughts here… Look at it through two lenses: 1) what will existing fans like, and 2) what will appeal to new audiences? Put that in a Venn diagram. Aim for the middle so you aren’t alienating your current audience for the sake of growth.
  • What to do if you’re an artist and about to possibly get kicked out of Australia due to visa issues? If you’re a bedroom producer (especially if you’re a bedroom producer) you can literally create music from anywhere in the world.

Thanks to EMC Connect for the great conversation. Next panel appearance will be in Adelaide next month!

Indie-Con 2019

June 26, 2019

Returning to Adelaide next month for my yearly AIR Awards visit!

In addition to that the awards, I’ll also be in town for the Australian Independent Record Labels Association’s Indie-Con music conference. I’ll be speaking on the Tech Health for Indies panel on behalf of Bolster, along with my former Shock boss Mick Tarbuk (who know heads up Believe Digital in Australia), Bill Wilson (SVP of Operations and Innovation at Entertainment One) and Jacqui Louez Schoorl (Jaxsta).

Hit me up if you’ll be around for the AIR Awards or Indie-Con and want to be a canape buddy at the awards 🍸🍡 (I am always that person at events networking but actually just looking out for food trays coming by…)

Conference info and tickets here.

Splendour #5

April 14, 2019

The #SITG2019 campaign marks my fifth year of working on Splendour In The Grass via Bolster, and this year was pretty epic. Not only did we sell out the festival at a record capacity, but this time round Bolster’s Creative team also got involved.

It was business as usual for me this year running the paid digital strategy and advertising, working closely with Secret Sounds’ internal team on organic social. The art concept was by ARIA-nominated Lee McConnell (you might recognise his work with Jack River and Dunies). The Bolster Creative team then designed and built the website from the concept to make a pretty 🔥 site.

Happy Splendour 2019! See you at front of stage for Warpaint.

So, what’s on for 2019?

February 7, 2019

February. It’s that time of the year: people forget their NY’s resolutions, everyone’s back in the swing of things and data reports from the past 12 months start sliding into my inbox.

Here are some of my top 2018 report picks:

  • Deloitte’s Media Consumer Survey 2018: The 7th edition of this report surveyed 2,000 Aussies on how they consume media. What did they find? Weirdly newspaper subscriptions in Australia went up last year – perhaps a sign of uncertain political times. 91% of surveyed Aussies admitted to multi-tasking while watching TV. Young or rich people were more likely to purchase a voice assistant. Music only accounted for 11% of the average Australian’s digital entertainment time. And people were more likely to be cool sharing data with companies if they can see and edit what is being collected (no shit, hey).
  • We Are Social & Hootsuite’s Digital 2019 Australia Report: Australia had 18M active social media users, with 16M of those accessing it from their mobile devices. Using GlobalWebIndex data, users spent only an average of 47 minutes a day listening to music (I’d say this would be way higher for the average Bolster consumer though). Facebook and YouTube are now head-to-head, with both scoring at 79% for daily platform use. Oh yeah, and Pornhub was the 7th most visited site in Australia, with people clocking 10 minutes and 42 seconds on the website. Just so you know.

And now looking to the future. A lot of predicted trends for 2019 revolve around technology (specifically seamlessly fitting into our lives), wellness (bread 2.0 came up a few times) and ethics (environmentalism, sustainability, data privacy, corporate and individual responsibility).

  • Shutterstock’s 2019 Creative Trends: a wrap of major trends right now (e.g. zine culture, which despite its very physical nature seems to be everywhere online), plus rising trends (like Kalamkari, a.k.a. Indian fabric painting). Also, elephants were the most searched stock photo in Australia? Go figure.
  • Eventbrite’s The Pulse Report: The ticketing platform surveyed 4K event promoters worldwide, including 600 on home soil here in Aus. Almost half the participants are planning on running more events this year, and 36% will increase their marketing budgets. Interestingly, just over half the peeps surveyed also claimed that marketing/promo was their top expense last year. Challenges for this year are finding new attendees (*cough cough* oversaturated markets), low budgets and increased competition (*cough* I repeat, oversaturated markets). Eventbrite’s hot tips for tech trends this year include – mobile event apps, cashless payments and live streaming events. Key things the ticketing giant wants its clients to start thinking are environmental sustainability and data privacy (including ticketing fraud).
  • 100 Pinterest trends for 2019: So what are people pinning this year? Oat milk, pegan diets (part paleo, part vegan), fashion bloggers in bike shorts, surprise destination holidays, sleep optimisation and body painting.
  • The 2019 Topics & Trends Report from Facebook IQ: In a similar vein, Facebook also had a look at the conversations happening on Facebook to predict which trends are on the cusp of breaking through. People are talkin’ about micro-plastics, snakeskin prints, K-beauty, eco-products, sustainable fashion, smart TVs, all things horror (eep), ASMR, soul food, turmeric, Wu Wei (a Taoist concept of effortless action), self care and glamping.
  • The Future 100: 2019 by JWT Intelligence: This one is juicy reading. It covers 100 trends and changes for the next year across categories like tech, travel, food & bev, beauty and lifestyle. Some of my faves include ‘woke luxury’, reframing masculinity, brand therapists, inclusive design, water connoisseurship, bread 2.0 and virtual influencers.

And lastly, let’s not forget The Simpsons. The true predictor of what’s to come.

Year In Numbers

December 24, 2018

Another year, another year in list form 😂 Here’s what my 2018 looked like:

  • Listened to 3,533 different songs on Spotify (down from 4,196 in 2015)
  • Celebrated my third year at Bolster in August
  • Read 8 fiction books (my favourite was The Vegetarian)
  • Went on my first ever solo holiday to Hobart in November
  • Moved desks three times at work to keep things fresh
  • Went to 8 music festivals
  • Went to Sydney five bloody times
  • Ate the exact same breakfast and lunch about 250+ times at work because decision fatigue (Special K for breakfast, brown rice, tofu and veg for lunch)
  • On a related note, got takeout exactly three times at work this entire year
  • Went to one wedding
  • Only rearranged the furniture in my bedroom twice this year which is fairly low
  • Had roughly 100 surprise visits from my favourite neighbour
  • Only posted on Facebook 14 times (but 268 Instagram Stories and counting because #bestpractice)
  • Played four gigs with Fever Land (more FL action in 2019 for sure)

On the first point, here are my top 100 tracks from the year. (Very glad that I ended up going to Meredith since The Breeders and Yaeji feature in this bad boy.) Happy 2018, and here’s to 2019 and people continuing to read this blog for reasons completely unknown to me 🍸🍹

Music Industry Pathways Program

November 30, 2018

Absolutely love the work that The Push does for youth in music, and was so honoured to take complete their Music Industry Pathways Program for 2018 as a mentor. Kate and Lou from The Push paired me with Johanna, a wonderful human being who also happens to be an incredible graphic designer working in the music space in Melbourne. Here’s us being cheesy:

P.S. info about how to apply for the 2019 program here!

Not All Streams Are Equal

October 31, 2018

Think of these three scenarios:

  1. A music aficionado with a Spotify premium account (of course) searches for ‘Scorpion’ on release day to hear what’s up,
  2. A person who kind of likes music enough to have Spotify but not enough to pay for an ad-free experience listens to Drake’s album because it’s on every playlist and you really can’t not listen to it,
  3. My uncle clicks on a Drake video on the YouTube home page thinking it’s the 60s hard rock band The Scorpions.

To be honest this is a bad example because Drake was always going to land the #1 ARIA spot and I don’t think any of my uncles like hard rock, but it highlights how not all streams on a song are generating the same revenue.

Half a year ago I posted about how Billboard in the States were changing their streaming rules to:

  1. Assign more points to streams from on-demand services vs. programmed platforms (e.g. Spotify vs. Pandora)
  2. Assign more points to streams from paid subscribers, then ad-supported, and then free users last.

Back home in Aus, the ARIA Charts introduced a similar rule last week to count streams from paid users higher than ‘free ad-supported’ streams higher. Here’s their official bit:

ARIA has confirmed that greater emphasis will now be given to paid subscription streams over free ad-supported streams on the ARIA Chart… The shift to a multi-level streaming approach to the ARIA Chart methodology is consistent with the global push to measure streams in a revenue-reflective and access-based manner. This new methodology replaces the current combined conversion rate, in which all streams are treated equally.

It doesn’t quite say if they are treating free streams without ads differently though (for instance, Bandcamp which is on its list of stores that count). Also Australia won’t be treating on-demand and programmed platforms differently, but I’ve always found that a bit contentious (because a lot of plays on Spotify come from playlists or radio so that’s still a lean-back listener, see Drake example 2).

It’s a weird time for trying to measure popularity for new music because how people consume music is constantly changing, but it’s a good move for ARIA (and other charting companies) to recognise that not all streams are equal. In fact, ARIA only started including counting streaming in its album charts in early 2017, with their streaming conversion factor to weight streaming appropriately with downloads and physical format.

BIGSOUND: Edition Seven

September 12, 2018

Wot wot

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This year marked my seventh time up in Queensland for BIGSOUND. Here are some things that happened:
  • Ran a workshop with Bolster‘s Director Anthony Zaccaria on understanding data and being able to pull out actionable insights from a bunch of numbers.
  • Got attacked by a BIGSOUND monster. See above.
  • Finally watched No Mono live after months of hearing my friends gush about them. They were GREAT.
  • Went to watch No Mono’s second showcase, but accidentally walked through a Bin Juice set on the way and was blown away. Absolute music highlight of the whole conference. I didn’t end up catching No Mono again.
  • Asked a question at Darren Levin’s content panel, and then had a complete stranger in the loo afterwards tell me I had a lovely voice. (Not sure if she liked my question.)
  • This gem from Alex’s data panel, from the moderator Chris Carey: “Data only has an answer if you have a question to ask.” So figure out why you are looking at the data (what’s your artist’s top city, or the best retailer for record sales, or the top track this year, or good targeting ideas?) and then look at the data. Was fitting with the panel focusing on how there is so much bloody data available to us now, but people aren’t necessarily getting any extra value here. 
  • Got my own hotel room in a twist of fate because my roomie ended up breaking her ankle before flying up to Brisbane. Broken bones suck but privacy is pretty great.
  • The most incredible views from the Bolster boys’ hotel room.
  • Drunk conversations at the Eventbrite party comparing investing to advertising optimisation. (Give me a whisky and ask me about this.)
  • Heard a certain media person on a panel claim to simply take brands’ money and then bury their paid editorial with other content as their ‘native content strategy’… NB: person in question is not a Bolster employee, client or partner.
  • Pretty sure the Bolster espresso martinis were pure rocket fuel. See below.
  • Not getting completely sick! This is a BIGSOUND first for me. (I do feel not 100% and have been avoiding humans this week, but hey, this is still a big win.)

Bolster x BIGSOUND x Brisbane x…. Beverages 😏 #bigsound

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BIGSOUND 2018

August 12, 2018

The final BIGSOUND 2018 announcement is here… and I’m super excited to be speaking this year! Just casually listed with other Ps like keynote speaker Paul Kelly and the incredible Patience Hodgson. #notfangirling

With Bolster, I’ll be doing a workshop on data, metrics and reporting. Specifically on understanding advertising and social media metrics, why you should care, and how to figure out if you actually did well. Metrics are not a one-size-fits-all situation. Different campaigns have different benchmarks to begin with, and even within a campaign, different ads, targeting or channels can be/should be used for different purposes. For instance, is this $1,000 you’re spending here to drive awareness to prospecting audiences, or to drive conversions to high intent users who already know about your product?

The workshop will be at The Judith Wright Centre on September 5 (day 2!). More details here!

P.S. Bolster Co-Director Alex Zaccaria is also doing a panel on data, Creative Director Nicky Humphreys is on a design/branding panel, and Bolster Content Director/LNWY.co Editor Darren Levin will be speaking about content creation.

P.P.S. Also annual reminder that I have terrible eyesight so please say hi if you see me because I probably can’t see you.

2016 Year In Review

December 27, 2016

2016 was a very weird year for everyone involved. Hey there, Brexit/Trump/Bowie/Snape/Malcolm Turnbull! On a more personal level, I had some shit things happen to me too (i.e. having my flu misdiagnosed as meningococcal and getting sent to the ER) but otherwise, some pretty sweet things happened to, including:

  • Celebrating an entire decade of calling the world’s most liveable city home.
  • Running a BIGSOUND Conference workshop with Alex for Bolster that ended up being the most popular workshop at the whole conference by far.
  • Getting to play five shows at Canadian Music Week with Darts, and successfully navigating LAX with 22kg of music gear.
  • Back on home soil, getting the chance to play some amazing Darts gigs this year, including opening for Tiny Little Houses, Bully, Bleached and Polish Club, plus playing Volumes Fests in Syd.
  • Finding a FREE HAT.
  • Figuring out what I sound awful why I try to sing. (It’s to do with my breathing, apparently.)
  • Heading over to Singapore in November and eating all the foods.
  • Successfully doing a webinar on digital advertising.
  • Speaking at the 8 Percent conference panel around the place of record labels in the current music climate.
  • Watching The Cure play Splendour In The Grass.
  • Completing a 100-day healthy challenge where I had to eat cleanly for 100 days. I accidentally found out that not eating processed food for over 3 months cures adult acne. The more you know.
  • Learning to knit!
  • Getting the chance to work with some absolutely phenomenal clients at Bolster, including Iggy Pop, Adele, Flume and more.
  • Finishing an online course in best practices for copywriting for web and learning some new things too.
  • Travelling more than I ever have in my entire life, with a record of 22 flights over 12 months. No flights booked for 2017 though and that makes me so happy.
  • Learning that I will never be satisfied with whatever headphones I own. (Currently on the Aiaiai TMA-2 Studio Presets which are okay, but HMU if you know something better.)

Happy New Year, guys!

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