Last Monday I attended my third My Event Bucket networking event, this one was exclusively held for music industry professionals.
As well as their established format of encouraging networking between artists and producers, the promoter had invited special guest Dave McPherson (of alternate British rock act InMe) to give the keynote speech and to play a short acoustic set.
I have followed InMe more-or-less from the beginning and was interested to hear Dave’s take on their music industry experience, from the band’s inception to present day. The journey as he tells it has certainly been interesting; from spending £40,000 on a music video in 1996, to £500 on a video last year. The transition has been one from managed act to what Dave terms ‘DIY music’.
Now the crowd funding website Pledge Music forms a major part of InMe’s strategy for raising capital and this has been a new lease of life for the band as artists. I have heard quite a few success stories from Pledge Music in recent years, but InMe has to be among the first established artists to make regular use of the platform; indeed they are about to launch their third campaign.
Dave McPherson’s ‘DIY musician’ approach does not, however, begin or end with Pledge Music. He, and InMe, are massively engaged with their fan base, using social media to run competitions for personalised songs, answering each and every email and uploading huge amounts of free material to YouTube.
Theirs seems to be a great model for reaching fans in the internet age, especially when artists are increasingly forced off the airwaves by the economics of promoting and by the narrow confines of mainstream music. While I might be bitter about this state of affairs, Dave didn’t seem to be in the least. He spoke genuinely about how DIY music has allowed him to grow as an artist and what a liberating experience it has been to be completely in control of the music. Dave even completed a solo project where he wrote a new song for each day of the year and made the whole series available for fans to buy.
Anyone who read my last My Event Bucket article on the evening with Tony Michaledes will remember his maxim; ‘Create, collaborate, produce’. We now have more competition than ever in the music industry and there is no set path to success. Dave McPherson advised that the best thing to do is just to “get yourself out there” – to play music -, but he also placed an emphasis on out-of-the-box thinking.
It is a tough world out there for most people associated with the music industry, and if you are starting out My Event Bucket provides a useful opportunity to meet like-minded folk who will often be in a similar position. The firm is going on a short break for re-branding, before returning (I am told bigger and better) with a new series of events.
Dave rounded off the evening with a brilliant three song acoustic set which featured his solo songs ‘Snowball’, ‘Hearts Need Blood’ and an up-tempo cover of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s ‘Boom! Shake the Room’. Though I do love InMe’s music, Dave’s solo material is certainly more ‘easy- listening’ and has a broader mainstream appeal. I really cannot recommend it enough.
Most alternative, most entertaining.
Words and photography by Joe Hitchmough