Often music industry events can be tricky to navigate; will you know anyone there? Will the panel discussions be helpful?

We chatted to publicist Ashley Sambrooks (Higher Plains PR), who’s not only been to and spoken at a number of music industry events, but alongside fellow publicist Zac Abroms (Viceroyalty PR and Managementthey’ve created their own.

We asked Ash to give us the expert run-down on which industry events are worth attending, the insider’s tips, and how attending these events will help you achieve your music biz aspirations.


“You’re probably thinking that networking isn’t your thing and that it’s kinda gross. But getting out there and meeting new people is always more effective at building meaningful industry relationships than hiding behind your Gmail account.

Being someone who isn’t a natural ‘own the room’ networker, I have put together a list of events where I’ve managed to meet people, share ideas and build up contacts. If you’re a musician, a student, or someone who’s interested in music business, hopefully this list helps you connect.

While we’re on the topic of music meet ups, it’s always worth visiting music festivals, yup, good ol Aunty Meredith! Maybe Falls and Splendour too, but staying up late at the supernatural amphitheatre can sometimes be the best way to connect with fellow musicians and industry scenesters.”

Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People (STEP)

Starting with an event I run with Zac, STEP is a regular Melbourne music get-together that combines forward thinking panel discussions and interesting live musical performances. The panels on each STEP event are themed, indie labels was the last event, the upcoming event is focussed on music critics, so you can pick and choose which events interest you.

Why You Should Care: STEP is super cheap and the atmosphere is more like a local gig than a conference. STEP is dedicated to music fans, students, musicians and music industry members. Each panel discussion is followed by two live performances, making the atmosphere less of an ‘industry’ night and more of a ‘get together’.”

Tips: You can bet that there’ll be people there you’ll want to get to know, so have a drink and introduce yourself to someone. Also STEP is an evening event, so no need to take the day off work/ Uni, just stroll in after dinner.

Next Event: Wednesday, July 16 – The Toff in Town, Melbourne
Cost- $15.00
Tickets- www.thetoffintown.com
STEP Website

I Manage My Music (IMMM)

IMMM are workshops for self-managed musicians put together by local legend and musician Jen Cloher.

Why You Should Care: Whether you are just starting out or have released music previously, these workshops have been tailored to suit the needs of the musician who is self-managed. So besides learning new tricks you’ll find yourself in a room filled with people on the same page as you.

Tips: Go to bed early the night before and bring plenty of brain food. You’re going to need it! It’s also important to do your homework and find out as much as you can about the speakers and prepare questions.

Next Event: October
Cost- $200
Tickets: www.imanagemymusic.com
IMMM Website


BIGSOUND takes over Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley for two epic nights, this year expanding to 14 stages and 140 artists and bands, on September 10 and 11. It’s the terminator of all local music industry melds.

Why You Should Care: You’ve got old dogs, tyre kickers, industry professionals, musicians and people standing around acting cool all in the same room. It’s magical! If you’re serious about a career in the music industry then better start planning your trip up north.

Tips: Ok, BIGSOUND can be a little overwhelming but if you put in the time and contact registered attendees leading up to the event to organise meet ups, you’ll hit the ground running. Book your accommodation asap and get as close to the action as you can. Oh, and free beer, especially beer with vodka in it isn’t always your friend.

Next Event: Tuesday September 10 – Thursday September 12, Brisbane
Cost- $550 / $650 (conference tickets) | $75.00 (two day live music pass)
Tickets- www.qmusic.com.au/bigsound

Music Victoria Workshops

Music Victoria is the independent voice for Victorian musicians and the surrounding industry. Besides fighting the good fight, they also host a number of workshops, talks and networking opportunities.

Why You Should Care: Music Victoria have a number of events coming up this month including a metal and hardcore workshop ‘Myth Behind The Riff’ and a grants workshop ‘Dollars and Sense’.

Tips: Sign up to the Music Victoria newsletter and receive updates on the many info sessions, panels and workshops throughout the year. Also, the fine people behind Music Victoria are amazing and super connected. Only good things will come from being involved in Music Victoria.

Next Events: Wednesday, July 9 – ‘Myth Behind The Riff’
Wednesday, July 16 – ‘Dollars and Sense’
Saturday, July 26 – Echuca Moama Winter Blues Festival Workshop
Cost- Free
Music Victoria Website

APRA|AMCOS ‘Connecting Members’

APRA|AMCOS help songwriters get paid. Winners! They also put on a number of events for their members.

Why You Should Care: APRA|AMCOS do such a great job of their ‘Connecting Members’ workshops which help introduce you to APRA and some of the things you need to know in order to get the most from your APRA membership. They also put on a fine spread and drinks menu. Don’t be surprised if you find an APRA|AMCOS workshop/panel more interesting than some of the panels found at the bigger music conferences.

Tips: Get involved and ask questions! Most of these workshops are small room discussions and offer a rare chance to grill a bigwig.

Next Events: Always keep an eye on the APRA|AMCOS website or signup to their mailing list for updates. All events are free but you must be a member.


CreativeMornings started in New York in 2009 and has been an ongoing event here in Australia for the last few years. The concept is simple: breakfast and a short talk by an industry expert one Friday morning a month.

Why You Should Care: CreativeMornings don’t really focus on music talks specifically but you’ll find plenty of music people in the audience, plus there are talks on other industry areas that are useful for those wanting to start a business within the music industry eg. design, digital agencies, branding etc. Each event is free of charge, and includes a 20 minute talk, plus coffee!

Tips: If you’re not a morning person then this one’s probably not for you. Talks normally start from 8:00am.

Next Event: It all depends on which city you’re based in. Jump on the website, create a free account and register.

Face The Music

Face The Music is a two day event featuring presentations, discussions, networking opportunities, music-making workshops, and the hottest tips and tools to give your music career the edge.

Why You Should Care: Last year they brought out the general manager of VICE and old mate AJ Maddah did a Q&A session in 2012. Word has it that 2014 is shaping up, BIG time!

Tips: Be sure to apply for a ‘speed meeting’ session where you can meet with industry experts one-on-one. If you’re a songwriter then you must attend the Songwriting Masterclasses. Jarrad Brown (Eagle and the Worm) and Courtney Barnett have led these in the past.

Next Event: Face The Music will be back this November so keep an eye out for announcements.
Cost – 2 Day Conference Pass – $90/$70 1 Day Conference Pass – $60/$40
Face The Music Website

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