Breaking into the music business with help from SAE Glasgow’s industry panel event

11 Mar 2019

SAE Glasgow welcomed guests to a free Music Industry panel event on 7 March which looked at the tools available to promote music in the current climate.

The panel was moderated by Tamara Schlesinger who is a Music Business lecturer at SAE Glasgow.






As director of Tantrum Records, solo artist MALKA and former lead singer/songwriter of 6 Day Riot, Tamara has written and released 7 albums in 14 years. She has enjoyed chart success, extensively toured the UK and North America, and played at numerous festivals such as Glastonbury and Bestival. Her music has amassed a vast amount of play on national radio, and she regularly syncs her music to domestic TV shows (Skins) US TV shows (Awkward, Finding Carter) and Hollywood films and trailers (Scream 4, 127 Hours). Tamara is currently in the process of raising funds via Kickstarter for her new album.

Tamara said:

“The panel was a huge success, full of insightful information from the guest speakers and lots of interesting ideas for how to market and promote music in the current landscape. The audience seemed to get a huge amount from the event too with lots of questions both during and after the event. We cannot wait to host more panels in the future.”

Tamara was in good company with the panelists Olli Dutton, Halina Rifai, Ray Black and Emma Pollock.

Olli Dutton started out by working for Lo Recordings, but now he is an independent national radio plugger who works under the name Obscene Strategies. He works with artists such as First Aid Kit, Poliça, Field Music, Gomez, KOKOKO! and Bessie Turner.

Olli takes singles and albums on small labels (and self-releasing artists) to national radio (Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 4, 6Music, XFM and Absolute Radio) and tries to pick up spot plays, playlists, interviews, sessions and anything else he can think of. This involves regular meetings with producers, presenters and heads of music, plus constant phone and email contact with all the relevant people. He work directly for the labels.

Halina Rifai started Podcart in 2009, a music blog/podcast that focuses on Scottish artists, but also other newcomers that impress them from around the world. Halina also runs Bloc+Music, a not-for-profit Glasgow-based label that is part of Glasgow independent venue Bloc+. As well as doing PR for a lot of in-house releases, Halina also looks after press for Scottish band United Fruit. She is also part of popular female collective TYCI which hosts live events, radio, podcasts and more.

Ray Black is the manager of a lot of popular artists including Scottish post-rockers, Mogwai; Scottish singer-songwriter Kathryn Joseph, as well as working with musician and producer Paul Savage.  

Emma Pollock is a Scottish singer-songwriter, musician, and a founding member of the bands The Delgados, The Burns Unit and The Fruit Tree Foundation. Pollock's third solo album, In Search of Harperfield, was released on 29 January 2016 on Chemikal Underground.

For musicians releasing their own music, managers looking at how to successfully promote their acts, PR, radio pluggers, and social media and marketing experts, the talk was jam packed with plenty of interesting tips and tricks for breaking into the big time.

We spoke to some of the attendees to find out what they thought of the event.

Charl Fouche, a first year Music Business student at SAE Glasgow, said: 

"I have been part of the SAE Glasgow Live sessions but this was my first masterclass. I feel that the event was beneficial for artists trying to learn how to market and promote their music better. We have recently been focusing on marketing and promoting music in class, so it was interesting to see how this related back to our studies."

Susan L May said:

“I really enjoyed the panel discussion. I hadn't been to an SAE masterclass event before but found it very interesting and informative. The speakers raised a lot of interesting points and it was great to hear from different types of people involved in the industry. I came away with a lot to think about and areas I hope to explore further for my masters dissertation into digital disruption and the evolution of the music industry.”

Vincent Hamill, who is a self-employed digital marketer, video creator and photographer said:

“It was an excellent event with a strong, industry experienced panel. I left with lots to think about and some useful advice to put into practice. I'm looking forward to the next event.”

Carrie Marshall said:

“I thought it was an interesting and insightful look at the realities and practicalities of modern music promotion.”  

To find out more about upcoming SAE Extra events, click here.