Steve, you are the new representative of Music2Deal Portugal. Why did you decide to become a member of the team?
Music2Deal shares many of the ideals and practices of “The Portugal Music Scene”. We proactively seek opportunities for artists within the international marketplace. Networking with the ability to showcase your artist, music, talent, skill or service to other active industry reps with the same interests fits our business model perfect and showed positive results within hours of using the platform. Joining the team simply made good sense.
Please tell us something about yourself. What kind of experiences do you already have in the music industry?
I was lucky enough to start at a young age in the live side, first playing rhythm guitar in a band (not very well), working as a roadie, backline tech, production manager and eventually tour manager for years. It was an incredible insight into the workings of many bands, labels, agents, promoters and management companies being right on the front line of both success and failure. Constantly learning about release planning, promotion, the live show, the ins and outs, and much more. Throughout these many years of touring I put to practice some new skills by jumping in the deep end with my own label distributed by a subsidiary of Sony. As well I managed friends bands and promoted the occasional event. I eventually moved into the international development side and away from touring though I do sometimes miss being on the tour bus, plane, train, car, taxi, van, and the laughs and tears.
Is there a particular reason why you settled to Portugal?
It was really just a life change move after living in London for 23 years. Obviously sunshine and beaches attracted me after the first holiday here years ago but it was the feeling I had when I first looked in an estate agent window. I wan´t just dreaming, I was window shopping.
What can you tell us about the music industry in Portugal? What can Music2Deal do to improve the situation?
The Music industry in Portugal is much the same as anywhere in the World, however one of the main problems we face here is a lack of information about The Portugal Music Scene getting out of the Country. The government simply does not spend on music export. It talks about it but very little money reaches the hands of organisations who set up to do the governments job promoting culture. To give you a little idea; 2 years ago Portugal and Spain were featured at Canadian Music Week in Toronto. We were part of a group set up called Mission Canada. We lobbied government, chased ministers, had the best press any band would kill for, approached national companies for investment and had a record breaking 22 bands invited to play. In the end only 8 bands could make it due to lack of interest from any government body or National industry leader. Spain on the other hand had over 20 bands, the tourism minister was present, they hired their own venue so more bands could play and they had over 25 official delegates. Saying all that though, Portugal is a hotbed of amazing talent. Once known only for Fado, Portugal has an amazing live scene, incredible indie scene, Jazz, Blues, you name it. The festivals in Portugal are some of the best in the World and favoured by many big touring acts One of my favourite parts of my job is to send someone a track from bands we work with. The reaction is always … “Wow, they´re from Portugal?”.
To answer “what can M2D do to improve the situation? It is HOW members of Music2Deal use the platform which can help any change. The Music industry in general is changing and has always been changing. We can sit around complaining like we are the injured party and “rebrand as a survivor” (as David Byrne recently put it in the Guardian) or we can look for opportunity in change. M2D offers a platform to help people at work in this industry. Taking 10 minutes to start setting up a profile and starting to network is the only hurdle anyone faces. Get through those few minutes of your life and M2D will already be helping.
What are your next steps concerning your work as a Music2Deal representative?
The first step is making people aware of M2D, helping brand it in Portugal and getting buy in from somegreat industry leaders here. Building our fanbase like we would for any artist we work with and learning about our fans. The feedback is already great and will grow I´m sure. I am looking forward to many music industry reps around the world discovering the wealth Portugal has to offer.
by Sara Shirazi