1.5 Tricks of the Trade



1. Export Strategies

1.1  Marketing Primer

1.2   Online Tactics

1.3   Image Consultation

1.4   Networking

1.5   Tricks of the Trade

2. Digital rights
3. Support and Funding
4. International 101
5. Conclusion



1.5 Tricks of the Trade

This section expands on a few methods that we have learned in terms of export development, including the tricks to a cold-call email, how to reverse-engineer a like-minded but more successful composer’s career for your benefit and basic online networking hints.


Here are some tricks that we believe one could enlist when writing a ‘cold-call’ email that do help engender a response:

●      Keep it short - no more than a paragraph or two. No one needs your life story in a cold call email. Say hello, introduce yourself in one sentence and your music in another and wish them well.

●      Always ensure that it is personal by writing something about them, such as a composition you love that they worked on, a programme they put together, a mutual acquaintance (although be careful that it is a positive connection) or a network they participate in. Always refer to something that interests them.  Look at what they’ve done and say ‘oh, what a great performance I saw of theirs’ or ‘I’ve always loved that piece,' so I thought you’d be interested in this too… Speak their language by showing interest in what they do first and foremost.

●      Never ask for anything other than an opinion. Never sell yourself when you introduce yourself, that should happen on its own.

●      Never send attachments. Keep anything you want them to listen to in a link that has your very best composition, your calling card, at the front. If they have to wait for something, then they won’t listen.

What Works Where

Through our experience with music export, we have developed some introductory knowledge of ‘what works’ where, in a most general sense. By understanding the nature of the market, we can best learn where different kinds of music are most suited and what expectations you might reasonably have. Here are a few of these hints:

●     The best classical market in Europe, as we see it, is Austria, per capita.

●      In Europe, unlike the UK, it is customary to be provided meals and accommodation when touring, which makes it easier to tour.

●      Some of the most interesting and experimental venues in Europe are in Holland, and many linked to its experimental jazz scene, such as the Bimhuis.

●      There’s a network of DIY French promoters, mainly in the north of France, that ‘block book’ experimental composers outside of the typical routing structure in the country.

●      There are a few specific booking agents that are best for composers, including a few select people at The Agency Group, Qu Junktions and others. Look at your favourite composers or sound artists to see if they have an agent, this can sometimes be found on their website or their Facebook information.

●      In Germany, they tend not to use Twitter very much (at time of writing, 2014), so be wary of setting up marketing campaigns that are Twitter led in that market.

●      In Germany, each city/region effectively functions independently. For contemporary classical compositions, Bavaria and most centrally, Munich, are key markets. For more experimental work, Berlin is the centre and is fairly easy to navigate creatively, as there are lots of expat-led creative networks functioning in the city. Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Freiburg and Cologne are also important centres. Generally, the presence of a radio station is a good sign for new music.

●      There’s a strong market across Europe and the Middle East for Embassies and High Commissions to become involved in music promotion and exchange. Each email address of the relevant trade commissioner or foreign service worker is online and they are often looking for performers to play and curate events in secondary touring markets.

●      One of the best non-composition based events for composers to attend is WOMEX, the World Music Expo. It’s relatively inexpensive to attend and features thousands of other composers from all over the world.

●      The fastest growing music market per capita in Europe is in Poland, a country renowned for its jazz scene. Most artists will look to France and Germany first, but the festival and touring market in Poland is beginning to compete with other European countries.

●      Have a translated biography available in the countries you are focused on exporting in - especially French and Spanish. Most Germans speak English, but it is less prevalent in terms of regional touring in Spain and France.

●     Make sure to make friends with The British Council. They offer a number of programs that could slot in as ‘anchor’ dates in what you do, especially in more developing markets, Asia and Africa. They can also offer local on the ground knowledge and contacts. If you are visiting a city with a British Council office, try to meet them.

Attend a few of the festivals and communicate/network with the ICAS network - the International Cities of Advanced Sound network.  They produce installations and activities at over 20 festivals including Sonar, Unsound and Future Everything ->http://icasnetwork.org/

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