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Interview: MARTINE COTTON

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Music Industry Inside Out is a digital resource for anyone in (or wanting to be in) the music industry. Officially launched on Tuesday, 7th October 2014, the website is a font of knowledge and experience provided by various music industry professionals at all levels.Music Industry Inside Out is the brainchild of Martine Cotton who, herself, has many years of experience in the industry and while she says she happily shares the knowledge that she has gained in that time, she is quick to point out that she is not trying to set herself up as an expert per se.  “Of course, I know what I’m doing but I don’t want to be seen as the voice of music industry training. I am a conduit perhaps; a curator,” she tells me in our recent interview, adding that it is more about connecting mentors with people. “It’s such a huge community of giving, caring, sharing music industry workers who want to share their information and understand the importance of sharing information for the overall benefit of the industry so my idea really is to tap into their knowledge.”

The website is accessible to everyone. However, there are two levels of access. There is the free content and the membership content. Becoming a member gives you premium access to videos, the mentor hook-up and the guest artists. Martine has commissioned high level industry people to write articles about specific topics and issues affecting the industry.

“The courses are a collection of video units that I have shot with my music industry peers but they create the course units,” she explains. “I’ve interviewed about twenty eight people now and basically each mentor selects eight topics that they are prepared to speak about. I send them a list of questions and they prepare their answers and in the editing process I cut up each answer and each of their answers becomes a module. Some answers are as short as a minute and others go for twenty minutes, depending on the topic.”

Martine aims to grow the website to include and encompass all the new technologies and changes within the industry. “It’s a really dynamic time in the industry,” she says. “Everything is changing dramatically so the idea is to help people stay on top of those changes and to understand them.”

“Some of these mentors are very high profile industry people and some are DIY music industry veterans,” she reveals. It is a good cross section of the music industry, giving people a wide range of knowledge and experience to draw from. “That’s one of my aims of this website; to help people understand that there is no right or wrong way to succeed in the industry. Yes, I wanted to include music industry students but also those do-it-yourself people and how they managed to create their careers. I have lots of friends who are gigging two or three times a week and they’re paying out superannuation; they’ve got a house. They’ve done it right. They’ve done it slowly and that’s what I want to help generate: a sustainable career and lifestyle.”

Of course, a project like this doesn’t happen overnight. Martine had the idea back in January. In April, she was accepted into the Government’s NEIS program (New Enterprise Incentive Scheme) and this support made it possible for her to start working full time on the project. “It’s not finished,” she admits. “We’ve really only just begun. The hardest part is done. The setting up of the website and all the technology associated with that. I built it all myself so it’s been quite a journey. I do have a small background in web tinkering but this is the first time I’ve done something as complex as this so it’s been a great learning process. Now that I’ve done the setup I can focus on the content so it’s exciting.”

Martine’s background in the music industry covers managing bands, managing a venue in Brisbane, running her own booking agency, a music industry services business which involved a lot of tour management, event management, and promotion so she certainly has the experience and knowledge of the industry behind her. She also worked as Program Manager for Q Music, Queensland’s music industry organisation, until their funding was cut by the current administration. While working with Q Music, Martine spent some time touring regional Queensland and became acutely aware of just how hungry those regional areas are for information. “They just don’t get access to it,” she laments. “They don’t have anyone to ask and it just drives me mad.”

“The free content is basically the blog that you see when you land on the front page. We’ve also got a feature called the Savvy Seven which is where we send touring artists from all different regions of Australia a list of seven questions about music business and the idea is to create a knowledge base of touring information; for instance, what are the best venues in your home town?  What are the best pit stops when you’re touring? What are the biggest career mistakes you’ve made? That kind of thing. I’m quite proud of that feature. It’s really helpful.  They also have access to the very long and massive list of resources that we’ve assembled and we’ve also created a National Music Industry Event Calendar which is available for all people to see.”

And if you would like to become a member, there is a membership button on the front page. Martine explains that there are two kinds of membership. “One is for individuals so individuals can buy monthly and then we’ve got organisational membership which is for schools, music departments, community groups, libraries, universities. I’m hoping that we’ll get a lot of music industry schools making use of the website.”

For further information go to:  www.musicindustryinsideout.com.au

 

 

by Sharyn Hamey

 

Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2014. All rights reserved

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