One thing becomes apparent when you start talking to established individuals in the music industry: Times are changing – and fast. In a business constantly in flux, it can be hard for emerging bands to find a place in the industry simply by following the traditional model of success. Thanks to Youthink’s Top 10 Workshops, however, the Top 10 finalists in BC’s Best Teen Band Contest 2013 can consider themselves one play ahead in this fast-paced game known as the music biz.
On January 19th, BC’s Best Teen Band Contest’s Top 10 bands gathered together at Nimbus School of Recording Arts for a series of workshops presented by some of Vancouver’s most respected and well-established music industry professionals. The day was essentially a crash course in the realities of the modern music business, and set a record for being the first Top 10 Workshops event that saw every band arrive on time!
Workshop 1 began with talks by Youthink editors Oliver Lam and Alexandra Barrow. The topic was “How to Deal with the Media.” They ran through how to set up interviews, how to conduct yourself in an interview and what the media is looking for. The session finished off with practicing some mock interviews where I got to chat with and provide pointers to a few of the bands.
Terry O’Brien, the Outreach and Education Director at SOCAN, hosted Workshop 2. Band members learned how to make money off their music, as well as how to copyright their songs. One of the main messages O’Brien had for the young artists was to work out potential songwriting problems while they’re still at the beginning of their career. It was an information-packed overview of the business side of things, filled with legal terms and, as O’Brien quipped, an “alphabet soup” of acronyms.
After a lunch break, the bands reconvened for a talk from Music BC Director, Bob D’Eith about common mistakes made by young bands. D’Eith emphasized the importance of touring for bands and spoke a bit about the benefits and drawbacks to pirated music. For Cole Saunders, drummer of prog-rock band, Lucy Mistreated, the advice was invaluable, “To have industry professionals talking to you, as a young artist, it probably puts you ahead about a year.”
The final session was with Keith Parry of Nimbus Recording. He spoke about the advantages of using social media. Parry discussed how and when to interact on social channels, and covered the various free platforms at a band’s disposal. In a world that is increasingly online, social media is of growing value; it’s an area where emerging artists are on equal footing with established bands, songwriters, producers, etc. Do not underestimate the power of a strong online following, or the importance of sharing personal messages and stories stressed Parry. It was a message that resonated with Saunders: “I think that the one thing that I found out today more than anything else is getting a personal aspect on the social media. It’s usually so disconnected. They really stressed being more personal about it. It really clicked in my mind today.”
It’s now up to the band members of the Top 10 to take what was learned at the workshops and put it into practice in their efforts to become one of Youthink’s BC’s Best Teen Band Contest Top 3. The three bands with the most votes as of 11:59 p.m. Monday, February 18, 2013 will play the finale showcase at the Electric Owl on April 27, where only one will be crowned BC’s Best Teen Band 2013.
Check out the BC's Best Teen Band Contest Top 10 and vote for your favourite.