BBC Introducing Presents Amplify 2017 Review

About BBC Music Introducing and Amplify


BBC Music Introducing was launched 10 years ago this month, and to celebrate, they launched Amplify. Held earlier this month at ExCel London, Amplify is a weekend-long event that was created for musicians and people looking to work in the music industry.


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Through a series of workshops, talks, and even one-on-one feedback opportunities, Amplify provides a chance for aspiring musicians to connect with some of the biggest industry names. This year saw the likes of Annie Mac, Steve Lamacq, Blossoms, and Nina Nesbitt in attendance.


BBC Introducing has helped to launch the careers of artists such as Florence + the Machine and Ed Sheeran. We have also had some great experiences through BBC Introducing as some of you may remember, notably when BBC Three Counties Radio invited us to play live on air. Unsurprisingly, an event like Amplify piqued our interest.


On their website they promise that “Amplify provides a platform for musicians to be bigger, better, louder and more successful than ever, stamping it as a must attend. Get ahead of the game and make your break at Amplify.”


Of course, I had to check out this event to see if it was worth the hype - even if Ella couldn’t be there with me.


I attended Amplify on the Saturday and went to three Industry Sessions, visited many stalls, and finished the day with a talk in the Journey Theatre.


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Overall, I had a great time at Amplify and was there for pretty much the entire event. I would recommend this event to people looking to break into the music industry, particularly those who are only just starting their journey. For more information on who attended and a list of the programme, visit www.introducingamplify.com.


Keep reading for talk highlights, stalls I visited, and things I liked and disliked about the event.

Talk Highlights


Industry Sessions


ICMP Presents: The Artist’s Journey - Perfecting your release strategy


This talk was given by a panel of industry experts: Will Gresford (Triptik Management), Paul Hitchman (Kobalt Music), and Stacey Tang (Columbia Records). The session was hosted by James Brister from The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP).


This was an interesting session, although not quite what I expected. The session title suggested that we would leave knowing the best way to release our music. Of course, this was too good to be true! I got the impression that like myself, many people who attended this session were after more definitive answers, and the panel certainly sensed this.


So what was the take-home message?


Well, there isn’t a “perfect” way to release your music. However, understanding your fans (e.g., by using your data analytics) may help guide the best strategy. Nevertheless, regular releases of singles (rather than albums) seem to be the way for unsigned/ self-released artists.


A Guide to Self-Releasing Your Music - The Ultimate in Unsigned Distribution


Unfortunately, I arrived a little late to this session and ended up standing outside for the first half which meant I couldn't hear much. Luckily, I did eventually get a seat as people started to leave mid talk (!)


This talk was also a panel of industry experts: Ally Mccrae - Manager (Prides, Self distribution artists), James Moodie (The Orchard / Sony Red), James Walsh (Ditto, distributor for Stormzy), Sarah Landy (Kobalt Music), Sophie Little (BBC Radio presenter).


I’m not sure what I was expecting, but similarly to the previous talk I was expecting something a little more definitive despite it being an panel session. I could have actually given this one a miss as I didn’t feel like it was that much different from the previous talk - but I think that was because I didn’t catch much of the beginning.


Sentric Music Presents: How to Land a Sync Deal in Nine Steps


I’ve been interested in sync licensing for the past year or so, and not so much for the money.


I watch a crazy amount of TV and think it would be pretty cool to hear one of our songs playing over a scene of Grey’s Anatomy (or The Vampire Diaries if it was still running)! Or even on an advert - remember Alex Clare who rose to fame with “Too Close” after it appeared on the Internet Explorer advert?


This session was delivered by Simon Pursehouse, Director of Music Services at Sentric Music. This was my favourite talk of the entire day for two reasons:


  1. I finally understood how sync works and how to go about landing a sync deal, and

  2. the session title actually matched the content - bonus!

Before this session, I found it difficult to understand sync licensing and didn’t know where to begin. Simon noted that sync shouldn’t be something that artists focus all their time on, and while I think it would be really cool, it’s not something we’re holding out for.


I could go into more depth about what Simon discussed, but you can find all the information about sync on Sentric’s blog! Check it out here.




The Journey Theatre


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Shifting the Gaze: Women in Music Panel


As a woman in music, albeit not an “official” member of the industry, I had high hopes for this panel. The panel was hosted by BBC Radio 1 presenter Adele Roberts, and consisted of Rae Morris, Becca McIntyre (Marmozets), and Jones.


The underrepresentation of women in the music industry, even in 2017, means that we still have and need talks dedicated to “shifting the gaze” towards women. This talk had a lot of potential, but I got the impression the panel were not particularly impressed by its premise.


Roberts’ attempts to steer the panel into talking about their disadvantages and negative experiences in the industry “as girls”, was seemingly met with resistance. The panel initially found it difficult to come up with examples when their gender prevented them from achieving their goals or was met with sexism, within the industry. However, it was interesting to hear about their journey.


I completely empathise with their resistance towards discussing their experiences as “female musicians”, rather than simply musicians. It's an unfortunate consequence of the world we live in. With the terms such as diversity and (under)representation being buzzwords of 2017, perhaps change is coming.


But until then, we are female/ women/ girl musicians.

Stalls


There were a range of stalls at Amplify, with many familiar names including SoundCloud, Marshall, and Yamaha. For the full list, click here. It was a fantastic opportunity to speak face-to-face with people from companies and charities in the music industry.


I spoke to so many people on the day but I have picked out some of the ones that really stood out to me. I will probably write about some of the services, products, and companies I discovered in future blogs.


Sentric


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Sentric Music is an independent music publisher.


We discovered Sentric through Amplify and signed up straight away when we found out that we could get our songs registered and claim royalties for our gigs and radio play, without having to fork out £100 each on a PRS membership. Their website is really easy to use and they take very good care of their members.


I spoke to Abby at their Amplify stall who was really helpful, and answered a whole bunch of questions I had about their services.