MUSIC CAREERS EXPO
With presentations, panels and talks from a range of music industry experts and organisations – including TikTok, Ableton and TripleJ Unearthed – the event featured an Opening Keynote Q&A with much-loved Melbourne singer/songwriter Alex Lahey in conversation with AIM’s Head of Partnerships Tracee Hutchison, dubbed ‘The Future of Music’.
ALEX LAHEY SINGER/SONGWRITER
From a debut album that peaked at Number 15 on the ARIA charts in 2017, to high rotation airplay on TripleJ and duetting with Australian music icon Paul Kelly, Alex talked about the new opportunities technology and new streaming platforms are delivering for artists, particularly when it comes to navigating the increasingly uncertain impact of COVID on live touring opportunities.
“I think more than ever in this time – and this has been allowed by technology in particular – is that artists are now able to be more than just the artist. And maybe that’s a trend, I don’t know, I think for a first time in a really long time we’re now starting to see pop artists insisting on being a part of the songwriting process which, up until now hasn’t always been a given. So I think it’s awesome to see artists and creatives really making an effort to diversify and, as a result, seeing artists in places you wouldn’t expect to see them which is really cool. And finding a cultural melting pot of music, film, television, stage – all sorts of stuff – which I think is awesome.” Alex Lahey
Alex discussed the importance of building and sustaining networks and revealed the origins of her trademark pragmatism – when recounted the moment she told her parents she wanted a creative career.
“My parents have always been really supportive, but I think that they were sensible about making sure that I was able to support myself but still do the things I want to do. So there was always an encouragement to make sure that I had another job, up until the point I didn’t need one anymore.” Alex Lahey
As an artist who has worked hard at establishing a portfolio career – from publishing, to sync-rights for music on screen and co-writing collaborations with artists including Gordi and AIM Alumni Rya Park – Alex talked about the increasing focus and need for artists to be entrepreneurial in their approach to developing a viable and sustainable career as music creatives. Finding a positive in the COVID slowdown, Alex recently enrolled in a short-course in audio engineering to minimise the number of people involved in her creative process and maximise creative and commercial control, something Alex describes as empowering.
“ I think we’re so lucky to be in a time where we have platforms like Spotify and TikTok and tech companies that are able to give a stage to artists when if we were in a time when that wasn’t there we’d be somewhat muffled, so I think that’s been really positive. But I do think, having ‘agency’ (control over your own creative output) is really empowering for all artists but I think more than ever for non-male identifying artists to really try their hand at diversifying their careers and developing skills that may have been seen as unorthodox not all that long ago, which is great.” Alex Lahey
The Future of Music
Alex’s experience as a creative practitioner reflects some of the key findings outlined in AIM’s ‘Mega Trends in Music’ White Paper, published earlier this year, which declared “The age of the artist as entrepreneur has arrived”.
So what does the future of music look like? The Push has just launched a campaign calling on young music creatives to submit their ideas on what the future of music could and should look like – https://www.thepush.com.au/news/the-future-of-music – with Alex Lahey, Dallas Woods and Alice Ivy as the faces leading the call-out.