Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Music Matters Live 2014: The Big Break

By Rachel Chua

Music Matters Live (MML) is part of All That Matters, which covers the digital, social, sponsorship, and music aspects of the music industry. It is the only event in Asia that does so, and applications to play in the festival are pouring in from all over the world.

No-holds-barred: Korean singer Lim Kim rocking the fountain stage. PHOTO CREDITS: Nadia Al-Insyiraah
With over sixty bands performing more than 170 shows simultaneously in venues all over Clarke Quay, MML is undoubtedly one of Singapore’s biggest music festivals. But behind the stage is a conference that offers so much potential for aspiring bands.

It features speakers like Daniel Glass of Glassnote Records, the same company that houses names like Two Door Cinema Club and The Temper Trap in their current roster. Amongst other noted speakers, there is apl.de.ap. from The Black Eyed Peas as well. The conference serves as a platform for people in the industry to network and discuss about music- and it should come as no surprise that it that is one of the criteria for bands to get chosen.

“The bands need to be ready to network, and the way we select them is that they can actually go up to people, and introduce themselves. So everyone that you see on the fountain stage, we think will do quite well in Southeast Asia,” explained Sammy Shirra-Moore, Festival Manager of Music Matters Live 2014.

The approach that the conference uses is more business-to-business, with the bands speaking to labels, potential sponsors, and promoters. The festival then helps to showcase the bands to consumers. This is why All That Matters is an all-rounded game plan for a band’s music to be discovered.

Applications increase by the year, and over 300 artists applied for this year’s festival, hoping for a shot at stardom. Either way, bands that play at Music Matters Live stand to gain; be it fans, sponsors, or getting signed, as in the case of Kevin Lester. The musician recently signed with apl.de.ap.’s new label, BMBX Entertainment, and the producer-cum-rapper is looking for more acts to sign. He spent three hours just at the Made in Singapore showcase, where local acts were performing.

Through the use of conferences, live streams on YouTube and a festival, MML is catapulting artistes into the limelight at an international level. The bands come here using their own funds, and All That Matters provides them with an access to a pool of high delegates from the industry.

Aside from these delegates, the festival also attracts thousands of people over the four days, and they are all potential fans for these bands. Sammy shares how this works.

“Maybe they came to see K-pop Night Out, but they pick up the map, and they go, ‘Okay, it’s free, let’s go check out Endah N Rhesa from Indonesia.’ And you know, they leave with that song in their head, or they buy some merchandise, and they join their Facebook page or Twitter.”

Canadian female duo, Sidney York, consisting of band mates Brandi Sidoryk and Krista Wodelet, also shared why Music Matters Love is a good platform for artistes and producers to come together.

“It’s such an international festival. Singapore itself is an international city; there are so many people from so many different cultures and Music Matters Live seems to have embodied that. We can’t spend all our time in Canada, going to Canadian festivals, meeting other Canadian bands. This is the ideal festival for us to come and meet bands not only from Singapore, but from other countries as well, and it’s been great."

Bands got the chance to mingle with each other and talk about future collaborations together. Sidney York, for instance, told us to look forward to one in the near future with popular local indie band, The Sam Willows.

“We’re crazy about The Sam Willows! We did a show with them yesterday and we’re filming some collaboration with them tomorrow before we leave.”

Another initiative, Music Matters Academy, was launched in 2011, where bands that didn’t get to perform at the festival undergo the mentoring of people from the speaking panel, like apl.de.ap and Benjamin Kheng from The Sam Willows. These mentors give advice to the bands, while key speakers like Brian Message and Daniel Glass, who run labels and management companies, tell the artists what they’re looking for when they sign someone.

“What’s really great is that I’ve seen bands apply four years ago, and then now they’re playing on the fountain stage because they’ve actually gone through the mentoring. And yeah, they got rejected a couple times, but they come back and suddenly they have a lot more followers, a lot more gigs,” Sammy revealed.

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