Face The Music is a two-day music conference that sees some of Australia’s biggest names in music giving talks and advice to up-and-comers.  The event also serves as a summit meeting for musicians, promoters, the music media, and almost everyone else involved in the Australian industry to get together and talk shop.

With the fifth annual Face The Music event just weeks away, Peter Chellew – General Manager of The Push who present the annual event – is patiently containing his excitement as the event coordinator has been busy putting the final touches to the program.

Additionally Face The Music also recently announced more than 250 exclusive opportunities to get up close and personal with some of Australia’s most powerful music decision-makers, innovators and visionaries in one-on-one, small group meetings, and master classes. The full Face The Music 2012 program  sees Melbourne hosting one of the most important events on the Australian music calendar, as all facets of the industry gather to explore new ideas, share advice, create opportunities, and further their careers.

With the likes of neo-pop’s globe beating sensation Kimbra, charismatic Soundwave/Harvest Festival director AJ Maddah and rising star/soultronica Chet Faker all appearing on the lineup, it’s clear why Peter Chellew may have some sleepless nights in the days leading up to the event, which kicks off on November 16th.

Taking time out of his busy schedule, Peter Chellew gave Tone Deaf an inside look into the industry event, from the cogs that keep it turning, right up to some details about this year’s event – all the elements that make Face The Music such an important part of the Australian music scene.

Tone Deaf: Where did the concept for Face The Music being? Where did it all start?

Peter Chellew: Okay, well this will be the fifth Face The Music, and we just thought there wasn’t a real annual showcase for the music industry here so we wanted to [produce one]. Melbourne and Victoria deserve to have a great event of its own, so we put it together with a range of different music agencies such as The Push, APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) and AIR (Australian Indpendent Record Labels Association).

What was the response when you first introduced the idea to those groups? Were they all willing to jump on board?

We’ve been lucky in Victoria. We’ve had a number of different agencies help develop music and give support to artists and people working in music. Many had their own annual programs, so it made sense if we came together and made a big, exciting combined program. From the start, the music community has really picked up on that. I think it’s been really beneficial for emerging artists and those wanting to find a job in the industry, and the fact more senior people were there, helping them out and exchanging knowledge and expertise was great.“We all know about the success of Soundwave and really, people want to know how he’s done it.” (on AJ Maddah)

So it was really mentor focused?

Yeah, I think it was. It was really about learning about new trends and technological developments and to sit and chat. It was to really discuss some of the hot issues facing the music industry. As you know, in the last 5 years, the music industry, the music business, has been in a period of flux.

With the breakdown of old models and new businesses sprouting up, technology has obviously been an enormous help in assisting artists in doing it themselves and finding a niche audience capable of sustaining themselves. Issues of marketing and distribution of music, new modes of music and getting it out there, being able to check in once a year and find out about who has had great success and who has great ideas, that has been an enormous help.

This year, you have festival promoter AJ Maddah on the panel. What do you think a first-hand account from a personality like this can do for aspiring industry potentials?

This year we have 24 main sessions over the two days and as well as that we have a bunch of small group… one-on-one opportunities that people can book into, but as for the highlights of the summits, we’ve got AJ down, he’s a direct to the music industry public, and I think people will find that fascinating, he’s been a very successful entrepreneur.

We all know about the success of Soundwave and really, people want to know how he’s done it. But not only that, he’s done some really unique things AJ, in that he’s been able to move away… he’s had a very successful Soundwave brand. But being able to transfer that model over to the Harvest franchise, I mean, that’s just an amazing thing that happened last year. Being able to sell out festivals Australia-wide in a totally different genre.

Not only that, but his business success and his musical success style, people are pretty interested in the way he goes one on one with his audiences through twitter and other social media. He never takes a step back that guy does he? A very brave guy.

Unconventional methods and thinking outside the square are sometimes the best method…

You’re totally right. I reckon a lot of individual ticket holders at his festivals have the feeling of being able to connect with him, through his social media presence.

Kimbra will also be making an appearance at this year’s event, how are you feeling about this?

We’re so excited to have Kimbra this year on the bill. As you know, she’s had a pretty amazing breakthrough year and spent a lot of time overseas and doing business over there. She’s coming back to Melbourne in November and this will be her first public appearance in Australia on her way back.

I think it’s really fascinating that a young artist in their early 20s who is working really hard behind the scenes, most people wouldn’t realise the hard work she has done, from a very early age. She’s been single minded in the pursuit of her music, she’s put a great team around her, she’s living here in Melbourne, a fantastic city for music, and I think she deserves all the success she is having.

I think she is an inspirational figure for young artists coming through the system, and I think young women in particular will be really keen to hear Kimbra’s thoughts on her own career development, on music itself, and her thoughts on the world. We’re really thrilled to have Kimbra as one of our key note speakers for the event this year.

Alongside Kimbra, the songwriting master class with Chet Faker is something many are excited about. 

We have Chet Faker doing the master class, so we’re looking for up and coming artist who would think they would benefit from sitting down with him and discussing the business of songwriting and going through some of the creative processes.

We also have Jane Gazzo from Channel [V] and Max coming down to provide an exclusive master class on media presentation and what you should do to prepare for an interview on television or in the media. So she’ll give you some behind the scenes media tips regarding putting the best face on for television.

We’ve got The Push songwriters breakfast, another exclusive opportunity with Jess Cornelius from Teeth & Tounge and Mark Seymour from Hunters and Collectors giving people a chance to play their music to experienced artsists, but also a range of free legal consultations that people can make use of.

The ticket prices for the Face The Music event are more than affordable at  $45 for one day or $70 for both days – plus the concession prices; was this done to get a younger audience through the door?

We just wanted to keep it really super affordable. The prices are tiny compared to other industry conferences around, and this is because the ticket has been subsidised because the industry is coming together to support this for free, it’s not trying to be a money maker and we want everyone to be a part of it.

We also have a range of discounts for members of associations such as Music Victoria, APRA, The Push or AIR.

What do you think will be the hot topic of discussion at this year’s event?

I think there will be a number of good, interesting topics this year. I think a lot of people will be interested in discussing opportunities in music streaming services and profitability. It’s certainly going to be a growth area in music. We’re going to look at ways to make money from your music weather if be digital distributions or merchandise.people have to realise that to be successful you have to really work hard and build your industry knowledge; you have to meet people and network.

We actually have a session we’re presenting on how to maximise your impact on merchandising, what sells the best and how to set up your merchandise to make the most money. Also, we’ve got a sync panel, looking at getting your music in into film and television. There really is a bunch of great panels across the 24 that we are running.

Do you find there is a lot of two-way learning happening between the industry experts and attendees?

I think it’s important to note that the presenters are in the same room as you, not there just to tell you stuff, but to hear from you as well. People coming along, I would encourage them to bring their music and be prepared to go up and speak to people. Bring something that has your contact details on it and put yourself out there and tell your story. I think it’s really important to have that two-way conversation.

One thing we’re doing this year is having a mentoring lounge, where you can have individual meetings and get to know venue owners, artist bookers, and event organisers. It’s a really good opportunity to make a quick impression, give them some music or a presentation package and make the most of it.

What do you want people to get out of the Face The Music event?

The industry is coming together to network with people, and we have a real passion for having a successful music career as developing young artists, and we have people who are there to further their own artistic skills and build their industry knowledge. I think people have to realise that to be successful you have to really work hard and build your industry knowledge; you have to meet people and network. I think this is a really unique opportunity for people to help develop their own practice and support others.

What is the most pleasing thing, personally, about Face The Music?

I’ve got a fantastic opportunity in my role to work with a creative team that works to put on a fantastic event. We’re here to support the music sector and those coming through the music scene. Not only here in Melbourne, but Australia. I get a lot of satisfaction out of seeing the event work well and seeing others benefit from the event.


Fri 16 &  Sat 17 November, 2012 – the Arts Centre, Melbourne
$45 ($30 concession) for one day or $70 ($50 concession) for two days.
Tickets on sale now at www.facethemusic.org.au or phone (03) 9380 1277

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