As the title suggests, this was my first experience at Liverpool Sound City (LSC) which takes place on 4-5th May. I’ve known about the conference for a long time but in the 7+ years that I’ve been working for Horus Music for one reason or another, unfortunately, I’ve never been able to make it to the conference. It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go as my colleagues who have attended were always very complimentary. Liverpool also has a very special place in my heart as it’s where my dad’s from and it’s nice to be up North for a change as nearly every other UK conference happens down south.
The main part of the conference was held at Liverpool’s British Music Experience, which has some very cool memorabilia for you to look at is somewhere else I hadn’t been before. Alongside Horus Music, there were many other interesting music companies that had stalls, from music accountants, lawyers, managers, labels and publishing companies. The conference had many networking opportunities so it’s a great way for independent artists to build their A-team! As an artist, it’s hard to do everything yourself and when you get to a certain level, you’re going to need a manager to help your workload, a booking agent to help you get more gigs, and a publisher to help you if you’re also the songwriter etc. At Liverpool Sound City they have roundtables such as ‘meet the managers’ and ‘meet the publishers’ as well as general networking events such as the Closing party drinks that Horus Music hosted, so there are plenty of opportunities to meet and find someone that can help you in your career and become part of your A-team. I manage an artist too (Cherryshoes) so I took a little time to speak with some of the lawyers and accountants to assist in her day to day operations.
The Liverpool Sound City team also put together a conference called ‘Off the Record’ in Manchester which I had previously attended with my friend and colleague Deborah Smith who runs Horus Music’s sister company Anara Publishing. So I’d also suggest looking into that conference as well.
I was asked to take part in the ‘Touring Asia Panel’ which I’m going to write a separate blog about. There were many other great panels and workshops that went on throughout the day that I say in such as ‘Brexit the Realities for the Music Industry,’ ‘In conversation with Dave Rowntree’ and ‘The Gatekeepers of Sync’.
Aside from the conference part (Liverpool Sound City+), Liverpool Sound City is also a music festival which both music industry professionals and music fans attend. Music industry conference-goers and artists performing at the event are given access to the LSC+ delegate database. The delegate database lists all the artists, music industry conference-goers and speakers so you can choose who to follow. If you get a follow back, you can then send direct messages to them (a bit like twitter). Artists that are armed with this knowledge can promote their shows on the LSC+app like they would on social media and also invite potential booking agents and industry folk to your shows, which could directly translate to you landing a deal.
Horus Music was fortunate enough to be asked to pick some artists to play at the festival and also give away some free passes to the event which takes place at the very cool Baltic Triangle. What’s handy about the location is that all the venues are really close together so if there’s no-one you particularly want to see at a certain time you can just wander in between different venues and see something different and new each time.
When I go to a festival or conference, I try to take some time to just walk into a venue to watch a band I’ve never heard of before. I don’t like to be too regimented with my schedule and prefer to just go with the flow a little and see what I stumble across or is recommended to me, this is how I’ve found many of my favourite bands.
Horus Music also had their own venue at Hobo Kiosk (pic above) and every time I went in there the place had a really great vibe about it. It is an intimate venue and at times when the artists were playing you could hear a pin drop as people were really listening and respecting the artists and the talent was phenomenal. Throughout the festival, we had some Horus bands playing at various different stages. There were the amazing Elephant Trees who had interest from Anara Publishing after their show, Vigilantes that have been championed by BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stevens and Phil Taggart and Leicester’s pop-punk triumph Her burden.
All in all, I had a grand old time at Liverpool Sound City and though the visit was short it was still very sweet, and I saw some great bands, found out about a lot of new companies, met lots of great people and I’m really looking forward to next year!