I was born in the spring season, so as usual in early March this year I was looking forward to warmer days, trips across Europe and marking another year on this funny little planet. That was soon thwarted. The music industry/nation waited to see where things would go as the initial impact of Covid-19 unfurled… at the last minute SxSW was cancelled, other travel and events followed, work projects were pulled and I spent my birthday in my small but beautifully formed flat.
All was not lost, though. Food and drink deliveries enhanced my party-for-two at home and I was privileged to continue working on a freelance consultancy basis with some of the best and brightest companies in the music industry – from established and world-leading to exciting fledging organisations. It’s been a pleasure working with clients, existing and new, and here are some of the highlights.
Early in the year, I had the joy of immersing myself in the soundscapes of Solomon Grey as I worked on a trade-targeted campaign with the first instalment of their Music For Picture EP series at the centre. Shout out to SG’s Tom and Joe, and manager Hamish of First Artists Management! Select coverage from this campaign includes: a Playstation VR sync collab featured in Music Week, ABC Music Talk podcast interview, SG’s top tips for writing music pre-picture for Songwriting magazine.
As the company’s trusted press agent for two years, I have been part of communicating BMGPM’s ongoing innovation and growth, with 2020 being no exception. This year has been abundant with releases I’ve crafted and distributed to trade media, including news on hires, promotions, partnerships, acquisitions, award wins and the brilliant lockdown initiative, The Hidden Hit Makers Sample Challenge (also shared with select education and community groups in the music industry).
Everyone’s Scottish music biz buddies at Wide Days quickly adapted to turn the shutdown of their physical event into a buzzing virtual edition that hosted valuable panels, socials and showcases for its delegates. I chaired the IQ Magazine panel on Laura Marling’s groundbreaking live-streamed show at the Union Chapel and also spoke with some talented delegates looking to boost their knowledge in the industry 1-2-1s.
Rotor has been powering creatives through the pandemic with its innovative technology via an intelligent app that makes music video creation easy and affordable. This year we have shared company news with trade media on the hire of Alex Branson and Pj Dulay, company growth, its partnership with SoundCloud, subscriptions launch, the expansion of the role of music business veteran Steve Lewis and the launch of Smart Tracks.
As part of the launch of Propeller’s pan-European rock and alternative radio division, I worked with MD Tom, department head Espen and new hire Finola, ultimately securing a spread of international trade coverage for their news, including this key piece in RadioToday and Finola featured as ‘Rising Star’ in Music Week’s rock issue.
I’ve been working with UK-based collective Council of Music Makers for a few years now, and in 2020 we (FAC, Ivors Academy, MMF, MPG, MU) campaigned hard as the Covid-19 pandemic upturned the majority of work plans our various constituents had and gaining essential support hasn’t been easy. Much of CMM’s work is behind the scenes but we published a few open letters, some of which were serviced to trade media: Music Sector: Post-Lockdown Priorities and Stimulus Package, Call for Arts Council Funding to enable venues to reopen with music, not remain silent #LetTheMusicPlay, letter to the Chancellor, via Variety: UK Music Makers Demand Sector-Specific Government Support for Workers
Some of the lesser-well-known (and seen) work I did this year includes writing biographies, editing reports and guides, building social media following and content, writing many a press release, securing of playlist placements and managing website content.
I reached a professional milestone this year, marking a decade of working in music. More than ever, our industry community, friends, colleagues and professional networks have needed to rely on each other to get by.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me, recommended me, shared some content, or liked a post – all these things are so valuable to this sole trader. Support independent workers, organisations and talent! Together we show the world that the UK music industry continues to be best in class.