Steve Palfreyman is the man behind the Music Launch Summit, one of the largest online music conferences in the industry. It provides 40+ music industry masterclasses to help artists launch their career, and it’s free!
Here, Steve talks about his extensive career in the music industry that led to him creating the Music Launch Summit. From a grassroots music festival to band management and being a musician himself. Steve provides valuable advice on pursuing a career in music, and the importance of using music conferences in doing so.
What inspired you to begin a grassroots music festival?
It was actually a friend I met at Uni that I jumped onboard with. He’d been running it at his property for years and wanted to expand it. Four of us studying together spent twelve months working on building this thing up into what we hoped would become a pretty phenomenal event. It was by most accounts until we had to shut it down last minute. The lesson – get written contracts! It would have been such an epic kick-start to our careers, but the failure in itself was a huge opportunity to make my next project more rock solid.
Following this you began to manage bands yourself. Do you think there were any key aspects of your management or the bands themselves that contributed to your success with these bands?
This was another big learning curve! I’d been managing my own band for years and after finishing my degree thought I’d be ready to jump out into the world helping other artists that I knew that I thought were brilliant. We kicked straight into things and got some good results. But so many things I’d do differently now.
What advice would you give to bands/artists who are thinking of approaching someone for management?
Do it yourself first. It’s far better to mess things up for yourself than have someone else do it! And honestly, the right person who’ll take your career to the next level probably isn’t going to rock up on day one. Learn the craft and wait for the right relationship, otherwise you might accidentally be getting a glorified assistant on board.
You’ve had experiences in many roles within the music industry, most recently with the Music Launch Hub to create the Music Launch Summit. What was the driving force behind this venture?
To bridge a big divide in the industry. We’re all so much closer to each other on our journey than I think we realise. That was my gut feeling after talking to and working with so many different creative people over the past few years in particular. Speaking to all these amazing people who are on the Summit, my idea has been confirmed. There really are a lot of people who want to see others win in the industry, and we can all learn from each other.
At what stage in a musician’s career do you believe they should start attending music conferences like this in order for them to get the most out of them?
Day 1. That’s part of the reason I’ve put so much work into making this happen. I got more inspiration & ideas from my first BIGSOUND conference (that’s Australia’s SXSW) than I did in my 3 years studying a Music Business Degree. We can learn so much from our peers and because the industry isn’t one size fits all, I think a lot of what we need is just enough courage to go out there and make something happen, even make something fail. We need peer learning to speed up that process.
As a musician yourself and a successful music business entrepreneur, what do you believe to be the most useful piece of advice and/or the most useful tool for success for up-and-coming artists you have come across?
Be open. The more I’ve spoken to people, the more I’m seeing there isn’t one golden ticket. I think we all need to be open to learning & helping each other win rather than trying to scramble for ourselves. Our openness towards our peers and our industry will define how it plays out in the future for far more people than just you or I. It’s our responsibility to open this industry right up for everyone else.