Face The Music 2016: Day Two Highlights

The Face The Music contemporary music summit continued for a second day yesterday, focussing on music sharing platforms, music criticism, nurturing community in Australian music, and economics of music in Australia. Speakers included renowned YouTube vloggers, musicians, radio hosts, music critics, managers, and many more industry professionals, the day rounding out with live music throughout the State Library of Victoria.

Whether you’re an artist, a music consumer, a manager, a label pro, or if you have ears, then bandcamp will have featured heavily when it comes to your music experience. Andrew Jervis, chief curator at Bandcamp, had an insightful conversation with Tim Shiel (Double J, triple j, Spirit Level) about all things bandcamp. The permanence of the streaming service in the constantly evolving music industry, and the relevance and managerial decisions that have kept it there were explored in depth, leaving no doubts of its invaluable role in music distribution.

One key take-home message is this: artists are making more money through bandcamp than any other streaming service. Algorithm-free music curation, through recommendations of like-minded audiophiles, keeps bandcamp leagues above the rest. Andrew really explained the logic and appeal of the service, and most people in the room were installing the app onto their phones, buying music and sharing their musical tastes then and there.

YouTube, as a massive and relevant music platform, had its inner workings revealed, with countless tricks of the trade revealed from Vader Fame (Ditto Music), Anthony Fantano (The Needle Drop), Henry Compton (The Orchard) and Georgie Powell (YouTube). Secrets of creation and curation were discussed, as well as the launch of YouTube Red and YouTube Music. For the Australian artists out there, some food for thought: nine out of every ten views for Australian uploaded videos will come from outside Australia.

If you’re YouTube savvy, and you like music, memes and mockery, then you’ll have surely stumbled across The Needle Drop, aka Anthony Fantano, at some point in your viewing history. His controversial reviews leave him as potentially one of the most contentious YouTube personalities out there, and he delivered an exclusive multimedia presentation, discussing the relevance of memes in music promotion, as well as whether streaming services hurt or help with music discovery. There was also a surprisingly large amount of Death Grips discussed – I’ll leave it at that, but be sure to check out his YouTube channel for some serious music authority.

Other highlights all day included a dissection of Peking Duk’s recent Australiana Tour, where early career risks, and the poverty of being an up and coming artists were discussed, ‘We actually did have a lot of fights over mi goreng’. A panel of music critics discussed the relevance of music criticism (very meta, I know), which turned to a heated affair.

Amongst amazing addresses, a cosy seminar with Zan Rowe (triple j) and Myf Warhurst (Double J) was the standout of the two day conference. Despite Zan having worked in music radio for nearly two decades, and being a true Melburnian, this was her first Face The Music. I won’t talk about the address too much here, as we were lucky enough to sit down with Zan and have a chat about her amazing career, which is coming to you soon!

There was more, there was so much more at Face The Music 2016, but you’ll surely hear about it through the amazing connections, advice, and career direction which was shared between the very special Australian music community. Australian contemporary music is in safe hands, and with conferences and summits as good as this, it’ll only be getting better.