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BIGSOUND 2016: What WAM learned amidst the goodtimes

16 Sep

Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley was host to the very big BIGSOUND last week. Yes, oh my, it was a doozy. WAM’s Marketing & Communications Officer Aarom Wilson, along with WAM assistants Kelly Miglori and AJ Glew, attended more than their fair share of conference, showcase and after party goodness. Now that their collective brains have recovered, they’ve shared some of their learnings and highlights so you can vicariously live/relive the experience…

With a li’l added help from’s video recordings


Sure, we weren’t represented by a heap of acts. But, as per usual, WA acts certainly punched above our weight. Whilst industry outcomes from the experience will no doubt take a while to fully surface, there were some super fine highlights provided by many of the WA acts. Shout outs to Hideous Sun Demon, who ended up being one of the buzz acts of the festival, including receiving glowing mentions from and Rolling Stone for their electric performances. Mosquito Coast‘s “killer set” was highlighted by triple j, with a packed room at their Unearthed stage impressing many. Fait‘s dreamy music caught the attention of Happy, who promptly gave a glowing review of their new EP. Plus KUČKA, Diger Rokwell and Sanzu all did WA proud, the latter even causing our CEO Mike Harris to pull out some (rather questionable) mosh moves.

If ever you’re considering heading over to BIGSOUND then learn from some of the WAM team’s mistakes; plan your trip early! You’ll obviously save on flights, accommodation and ticket prices, but you’ll also have time to fully plan in your good times, and more importantly those all important meetings, which are worth the ticket prices alone. So as an obvious follow-on reminder: #WAMCon earlybird tickets are selling quickly, so get onto to the cheaper priced tickets and secure your exclusive extras before they run out (now on sale here)!

Running with the above theme, PLAN your BIGSOUND panels, workshops and masterclasses ASAP! Masterclasses can be registration only, and fill up quickly, so be sure to check ‘em out and register early (unlike some of our staff who booked tix last minute due to sever cases of fomo). So, for those heading to #WAMCon

Festivals such as BIGSOUND and #WAMCon provide invaluable opportunities  to build your music industry networks. Such music conferences have the incredible ability to even everyone’s stature, so the powerful become more accessible. Sure, it might take a drink to help coerce a conversation, but the investment of a good contact can be incalculably worthy. This goes for both WA peeps and national industry reps. So don’t be shy; talk to strangers, ask questions, compliment people on their panel talks and get yourself known. You never know when someone you meet might prove to be very important to your career, and you to them!


  • Streaming is the future – streaming is a positive resource for musicians both as form of exposure and income stream. There is money to be made in streaming as shown by one of UNIFIED’s acts making almost 70k on streaming revenue alone.
  • Festivals are alive and well – the festival landscape is changing to meet the demands of the market. Touring festivals may be no longer but smaller niche festivals that cater to ‘experience’ are taking over the landscape, proving that the festival scene is still carrying on.
  • The UNIFIED GRANT – launched during Jaddan’s keynote announcing were 5 x $5,000 grants to inspire businesses / people who work in the industry but aren’t musicians. So all you photographers, music journos, web developers, sound engineers and anyone doing amazing things to boost the music industry, click here to summit your application before October 31.


  • Call out unequal gender representation when you see it.
  • When you get called out, listen to what is being said and make changes to your behaviour.
  • Be confident in your ability as it inspires others to be confident in you.
  • Keep persisting and don’t let people get you down.
  • Be more aware of the gender bias around you.


  • Build your email databases and use the data to understand your audiences, their behaviour and how to get the most from them – whether fans or media.
  • Own your fans through email and create a direct relationship with them. An example provided was ASAP Rocky finding out his fans were also supporters of the NBA. He was able to use this information to be able to create conversations with his fans and in turn grew his fan base.
  • Good content is needed to publicize an act and encourages sharing and engagement. Tools that could be used include Google Hangouts and Skype to meet fans and video blogs whilst on tour to take fans on a journey.
  • Go to media with great ideas for content as it will help editors under the pump, get better results and create stronger relationships.
  • Look after the media and providing them with free tickets to events, free drinks etc.
  • WA’s Dani Marsland from Pilerats was a top inclusion.


Like anything music related, there are always clashes. The Advanced Management panel was one such difficult fruit to grab. Lucky were abain able to catch this buzzing discussion, ripe for managers of all levels.


The keynote delivered by AB Original (Briggs and Trials) was one the most talked about keynotes and touched on some really important topics.


  • Creatives experience natural highs and lows more than others and there needs to practices in place to help creatives/and people working in creative industries.
  • “The music industry doesn’t exist” – Jen Cloher, Milk! Records, explaining that once you break past the idea of the industry/business and submerge yourself in communities you can begin to take care of yourself, open up to people and feel a sense of belonging – reaffirming that supportive communities for creatives need to be established.
  • ‘Skinless’ – creatives are vulnerable with what they do, not hiding behind a facade; skinless. Once they come off stage and enter back into the reality of the world, they need to reapply the facade; no longer being skinless. This can lead to mental health becoming a problem. Term coined by Julie Crabtree, psychologist, Zebra Psychology.
  • Don’t get bogged down in being famous overnight. Being in the industry is hard work at times, but there’s many rewards in the process and “Success is continuing to show up” – Jen Cloher Milk! Records


  • The evolution of music as an advertising tool dates back to the 14th century as a way for merchants to sell goods, and now today’s basic but effective way of creating mood, feel, perception with music, and getting/keeping peoples’ attention on the ad.
  • The evolution of sync deals and licensing within advertising move from one year deals to as short as a one week deal. These changes are a result of the plethora of platforms advertisers have and that deals now can have an online focus only, i.e; social media, pop-up adds, banner adds, websites etc.
  • Music is still being used and is effective tool for advertising, because it WORKS.
  • The Sounds of Capitalism by Timothy D. Taylor is the book to read if you are interested in understanding more on music in advertising.
  • Music in advertising is immune to piracy.

Government of Western Australia Department of Culture and The Arts Australian Government

WAM is supported by the State Government through the Department of Culture and the Arts, and is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.