The sixth installment of the Aboriginal Music Performers Camp (AMP Camp) is in the books. The week included discussions about festivals, music placements, marketing, touring, conferencing, and radio along with a number of workshops to help the participants improve their songwriting, musicianship, and performances skills. The participants made the trip to the Falcon Trails Resort from Newfoundland, Quebec, Ontario, northern Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia and the instructors brought close to 300 years of music industry experience to the table.
“I didn't know what to expect being a first time participant,” says Nick Sherman, a participant from Sioux Lookout in Northwestern Ontario. “In retrospect, I don't think there was any way to prepare for the amount of information that I would take in, amazing sense of family I would feel, and relationships that would develop so quickly. I was told that AMP camp would light a fire in you and it certainly did just that.”
“AMP Camp was an opportunity unlike any I've had before. Not only did it provide me with professional tools and access to the best of the best in musical support, marketing gurus and advice from festival organizers, but it also inspired me to step into my place as a strong Aboriginal artist in the ever growing Canadian sphere,” says Moe Clark. “Now I have a community of other like-minded musicians, all highly qualified and diverse in their talents, that I can call family."
There was a lot of information flying around. Here's a taste of some of the main points identified in each of the business discussions at AMP Camp 2012.
- It’s important to offer festivals more than just a concert (tell them about your ability to collaborate or lead workshops)
- Develop relationships with the festival directors, volunteers, and the communities that the festivals are held in
- Festivals exist for the volunteers, the audiences, and then the artists, so be nice to the volunteers
- Know why you want to perform at the festival you’re applying for and tell them
- Just because a festival says “no” one year, doesn’t mean it’s “no” forever
- Most of the artistic directors talk to each other, so news about unprofessional artists gets around quickly
- Avoid using buzz words and terms like “unique,” “diverse,” “shared the stage with,” “award-winning,” and “indescribable” in the bios or submissions you send to festivals
Music Placements / Composition for Film & TV
- You can find contact information for music supervisors pretty easily- don’t be afraid to contact them on your own
- Don’t pitch the same music to every music supervisor- take the time to figure out what kind of music they’re using and only send similar stuff
- Send WAV files if you have to email music (don’t send MP3s)
- Develop relationships with emerging filmmakers and producers because they might remember you when they start doing bigger projects
- Sometimes the backend pays more than the synch license fees, so do your research if you’re offered a lower fee
- Act fast if you’re offered a synch license
- Composers usually have less than a week to turn around the music for a television episode
- Set goals and create a critical path for your marketing plans
- A good “rule of thumb” is to budget $4 for marketing every CD that you plan to sell
- Create a consistent image/brand for your project and use it for everything
- Maintain a consistent dialogue with your fans online, but don’t post the same thing on all your social network profiles (post different things for Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc)
- TweetDeck generates really useful info
- You need artwork for every single you release (especially if you’re selling it on iTunes or other stores) and it needs to be different than the album artwork
- Build your email database and engage your fans directly with an enewsletter (MailChimp has great templates and a free service)
- You should tour because you love to play music
- Eat healthy food and get as much rest as possible
- Put together a tech rider and a hospitality rider (but be flexible if you're in a smaller venue or smaller community)
- Get contracts for every show and include your riders
- Advance shows at least one week before the date (make sure they have the tech rider and everything is in place for the concert)
- It's a good idea for band members to take responsibility for different jobs while on the road (sound checking, merch table, settlements, driving, etc.)
- Be nice to everyone working in the venues you perform in
- Publicists are super valuable
- Plan your tours well in advance
- Be prepared to lose money the first time around (and possible the second and third times too)
The other sessions included Rhythm Guitar & Chord Progession for Songwriters, Conference & Showcasing Strategies, Navigating Canada's Country Music Scene, Working with Sound Techs, Song Editing, and Aboriginal Radio to name a few.
Check out the photos from some of the break-out sessions below.
The AMP Camp 2012 participants were Binaeshee-Quae (Ontario), Drezus (Manitoba), Moe Clark (Quebec), Sonia Eidse (Manitoba), Blair Goudie (Newfoundland), Bonnie Couchie (Ontario), Beatrice Love (Alberta), Kathia Rock (Quebec), Lorenzo (Manitoba), Tiffany Moses (British Columbia), Christa Couture (British Columbia), Discreet Da Chosen 1 (British Columbia), Christine Ginter (Saskatchewan), Malcolm Campbell (Manitoba), Dustin Harder (Manitoba), Nick Sherman (Ontario), Trent Agecoutay (Alberta), Liv Wade (British Columbia), Cheryl L’Hirondelle (Ontario).
AMP Camp is produced by Manitoba Music and the Canada Council for the Arts. The project ran March 4-9, 2012 at the Falcon Trails Resort in Manitoba.
Manitoba Music would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council, the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings, Manitoba Film & Music, and Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism.
Manitoba Music also acknowledges the financial support of Canada's Private Radio Broadcasters.