See you at Un-Convention


My music industry conference calendar highlight of the year is rapidly approaching. It’s a small, affordable, independent and DIY music conference and mini-festival held in Salford. Follow the link below for a 15% discount.

Un-Convention 2009 is a not for profit grassroots led music conference for DIY and Independent music makers and companies. Born in Manchester in 2008 as an alternative to the more mainstream In The City event, it has already inspired Un-Conventions in Belfast and Swansea and future events in Glasgow, London, Barcelona and Reykjavík. This year’s UK national event in Salford will have a range of key musicians, bands and industry personnel in attendance.

This year’s panelists include Marin Elbourne (Glastonbury), Crispin Parry (British Underground), Andrew Dubber (New Music Strategies – that would be me then), Al Farquhar (Modern Art Management), Peter Hook (New Order), Liam Frost, Ashley Beedle (X-Press2), Jo Good (XFM/MTV), Simon Aldridge (BMI) and John Robb – plus many, many more.


A round of applause

Steve lawson

A quick round of applause, please, for the Herculean live-blogging efforts of Mr Steve Lawson.

Steve came along as an invited guest to today’s Fresh on the Net seminar for London Songwriters Week and captured the whole thing – Tom Robinson and I presenting, the thoughts of the crowd and the mood of the day.

He tweeted, blogged, videoed and even AudioBoo‘d.

Like this:


Go read / watch / listen to Steve’s whole account of what was an exceptionally good afternoon.

My latest speech. Soon.

Interviewed by Photo by Lykle de Vries.

I give a lot of speeches, presentations and talks at music industry events and in educational institutions. I’ll generally talk about whatever I’m asked to talk about, or whatever I happen to think is specific and relevant to the group of people I’m talking to.

Quite often, I’ll rewrite my speech on the day, as I get a clearer idea of who my audience is and what their specific concerns are. But every now and then, I get passionate enough about something to prepare a presentation in search of an audience.

I’ve pitched this to Popkomm, and I’ll pretty much say this to whoever’s listening. This is important, and it’s urgent.


Un-Consultancy in Manchester


Andy from Indielab tells me that the Manchester Un-Consultancy is all systems go.

An un-consultancy is a bit like a normal consultancy, but more grass-rootsy. A while back, I wrote a blog post that explains the origins of un-consultancies and the idea behind them.

Essentially, you get lots of good and targeted advice that’ll help you get to the next stage of your music business career – but as consultancy can sometimes be on the expensive side for independent artists and small businesses, this is a way to share that cost, but still get that one-on-one, face-to-face help.

If you’re going to be anywhere near the city on May 30th, it’d be really great to see you.


Best conference ever. Really. (Part 2)

Olaf & Tak at Lappi Restaurant. Cool people.

Of course, one of the conflicting things about conferences like Is This It is the fact that while cognitively you may be at odds with a lot of the information and opinions being spread around by some of the more conservative and old-school thinkers that seem to dominate the proceedings during the day – you do get to meet some amazing and very cool people.

One of the reasons that Is This It was so great for me was exactly that intersection between people, around half of whom were not too familiar with Helsinki – and so the whole thing had an air of discovery and adventure about it as well.

Forced to sit in groups of 10 and discuss things at length, you make some great connections with people you may not have considered approaching and talking to. And yet, precisely as a result of being a bit chatty and conspicuous, I’ve been asked to guest lecture at one or two Finnish universities, including the Sibelius Academy – and present at a couple of conferences. Just as a result of just a few conversations at Is This It.

Given that travelling and giving talks is my equivalent of going on tour and doing concerts, this is a brilliant result. And if there’s any lesson to be learned here – it’s about serendipity.


Best conference ever. Really. (Part 1)

Is This It

I spent the past four days at a conference in Helsinki called Is This It. 150-odd music industry people charged with coming up with 100 or more new ideas to invigorate and reinterpret the business. A conference that put music back into the music industry. A place for learning, creativity, networking and genuine reinvention.

I decided to live-blog it via Twitter – and as soon as I started doing so, a pattern began to emerge and I started to have one of the most important, meaningful and eye-opening experiences of my music industry analysis and consultancy career.

Before very long, (and without a shred of sarcasm or cynicism on my part meant here at all) Is This It turned into my best conference ever – and I’m so genuinely grateful to the organisers for holding it. Not just because it was inspirational (and in truth, going back over my notes, quite a lot of it was) – but also because so much of it was just so utterly and unbelievably horrifying.