All content provisional.
Program deadline October 23
FRIDAY 10TH NOVEMBER
Welcome to Sørveiv Conference!
Francine Gorman, Daniel Nordgård, Andy Inglis
Talk About The Passion*
Stand up, take the mic, tell us about that thing you love, what drives you – professionally or personally – despite these things sometimes being embarrassing. For example, Andy will probably talk about his passion for a pair of boots he’s having made which cost so much money he’s having to lie and say he’s not in London until next year, which will delay their delivery, which gives him time to earn enough to pay for them.
*It’s an R.E.M. song from 1983
Artist and musician William Doyle delivers our opening Keynote on the pressures we as an industry impose upon our Artists to be constantly ‘on’, pumping out content across multiple online platforms, facing their audience in a way that almost no other sector demands of its workers. That this is implemented without planning, consultation or understanding of the individual can lead to our young people being subject to a barrage of harassment, of racist and misogynist abuse, even rape and death threats. Most industries have health and safety regulations to prevent injury to their employees: we just expect our Artists to deal with it as part of the job
Did Anyone Ask The Manager?
Despite the countless new platforms and tools at our disposal, our industry suffers from creaking channels of communication and tired, poorly-thought-out methods for engaging audiences, physically and digitally. Michelle Kambasha, Rachael Patterson and Tamara Gal-on explore how Artists’ teams can be better structured with more awareness of the effects that unmanageable workloads can have. For an industry that’s often considered forward-thinking, its methods and procedures are ancient; a creative industry lacking creativity or compassion in its processes
The first of our quick-fire platforms on which our most impassioned/outspoken delegates can stand uninterrupted to introduce an idea or opinion – provocative or otherwise – with counter-arguments coming from the audience at the conclusion
*A soapbox is a raised platform on which to stand to make an impromptu speech, often about a political subject. The term originates from the 19th Century when speakers would elevate themselves by standing on a wooden crate originally used for shipment of soap or other dry goods. Throughout its history, “soapboxing” has been tied to the right to speak
Music Journalism is in Crisis
Former editor and co-founder of the sorely-missed music paper The Stool Pigeon, and now a freelance writer and editor at BBC Music, Phil Hebblethwaite will argue that music journalism – particularly its independent voice – is under severe threat. Who needs a professional critic in 2017 when music is so accessible? And what’s the actual price of the massive drop in advertising revenues for publishers of music journalism? Is clickbait here to stay, or can originality still reap rewards?
The Art of Being a Fan
We all remember those first songs that struck us, the time we saw a favourite Artist perform live, the records that changed our lives. These pivotal moments turned us into passionate fans of a world to which we dedicated our working (and often personal) lives. Francine Gorman muses on the importance of remaining a fan, of celebrating the art around which the music world revolves, and how embracing a fan’s perspective can lead to better experiences of our industry
The Death of Discovery
In the age of machine learning, consumers have ever more – and ever better – tools at their disposal to outsource their discovery processes. But should a handful of streaming-platform curators be the gatekeepers that decide how much exposure an Artist receives? And what’s lost when everything a listener hears is all but guaranteed to appeal?
NY Times’ senior staff editor Alex Symonds reflects on where we’re heading and what this means for Artists and audiences
The Birth of Curation
We’ll hear the considerations of Cherie Hu, Francine Gorman, Alex Symonds and Erik Brataas as they discuss the overwhelming influence of the new gatekeepers. Is there any room for the audience to truly refine their own personal music taste anymore? Can online ‘music discovery’ be called discovery at all, if a listener is finding music through pre-curated platforms?
The Kristiansand Roundtable Conference
Our sister conference, happening in the days before Sørveiv, invites the industry’s most senior players to speak freely under Chatham House Rule*, in an attempt to agree on how to modernise the creative value chain and make sure that all who make art actually get paid for it. Roundtable co-founder Peter Jenner will be joined by Keith Harris, Daniel Nordgård and others to report on the outcome
*When a meeting is held under the Chatham House Rule, those listening are free to use and publish the information, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker, or of any other participant, may be revealed. In other words: feel free to tweet and post what anyone says, but don’t mention who said it and which company they’re from
Artistry In The Age of Abundance
Hanne Kolstø is originally from Sykkylven, in the county of Møre og Romsdalen, in western Norway, but has strong links to Kristiansand, its University and local music scene. Hanne has had a long and varied career as a musician and Artist, exploring various solo and collaborative models long before a DIY mentality and Artist-centric business models became buzz-phrases among policymakers and business schools, releasing and touring six acclaimed albums. The music business has changed dramatically in the last two decades, with major economic upheavals, technological disruptions and an explosion of creative possibilities. Within the context of these unpredictable frameworks, Hanne will give us an insight into her work, and what it’s like being an Artist in an age of abundance
Can Music Make You Sick? (Gross & Musgrave) A Discussion of Findings
Dr. George Musgrave introduces the findings of his study ‘Can Music Make You Sick?’ – co-authored with Westminster University’s Sally Gross – the largest ever academic study of its kind, exploring the links between the mental health of Artists and the precarious working conditions of a musical career. These are financial; causing musicians to question the value of their work, experiential; as the industry itself is so changeable and fluid, and interpersonal; as the work comes to damage both personal and professional relationships
The State of Independents*
Norway was a very early adopter of streaming and digital platforms for creating and sharing music, and learned about the potential benefits and great challenges surrounding new technologies, business models and revenue streams long before many of the larger music markets. Chairman of FONO (Norway’s Independent Label Association) Larry Bringsjord will address the Conference with his thoughts on the challenges facing independent record labels in a post-physical world
*It’s a nod to a Jon & Vangelis song from 1981, made famous by Donna Summer’s 1982 cover version
The State of Independents
Independent labels account for the vast majority of global music releases and represent the full breadth of genres and artistic expressions vital for a sustainable and vibrant music scene. But recorded music has experienced dramatic changes in the last decade; Harvard-Professor Anita Elberse, calls it a ‘Blockbuster Economy’, referring to a trend where a growing proportion of the market is controlled by a small number of major companies. At the same time, technological innovations have allowed Artists themselves to take on some of the traditional functions of labels, leaving us wondering: what is the role of the independents? Michelle Kambasha, Kees van Weijen, Frithjof Hungnes and Henriette Heimdal will discuss and explore these complex issues
Thanks and Don’t Drink Too Much Tonight
Francine Gorman, Daniel Nordgård and Andy Inglis wish you an enjoyable evening and remind you to be back in the Conference room, preferably sober, by 1000 tomorrow morning
SATURDAY 11TH november
Welcome back to Sørveiv Conference
Francine Gorman, Daniel Nordgård, Andy Inglis
“Ever Tried. Ever Failed. No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better.”
This famous line by Samuel Beckett from his 1983 short story ‘Worstward Ho’ has become a meme among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, motivational coaches and athletes, all convinced failure will bring them a step closer to success, and if success is selling out the Telenor Arena or Madison Square Gardens then almost every band that ever formed has failed. Following the same format as Friday morning (which may or may not have worked by the time you read this), we invite you to stand up and announce your greatest professional or personal failure to the room. Francine, Daniel and Andy will lead the way with how they fucked up and what they learned from it
Music and Identity in a Networked World
The stories we tell used to be so simple: there was Elvis, then there was the Beatles, then the counterculture, whose middle-age spread gave us dinosaur rock which the punks tore up and the cycle started again. The mass media of the mid-to-late 20th Century told us a story of ourselves and our music that allowed us to define who we were and who we were not. But as Ross Allmark will explain, the story is no longer as simple. We live in a new Information Age where everyone is a participant, where everyone tells their own story of who they are, and more often than not who you are too. As we watch the very idea of context collapse around us, we ask: what role does music have in a such a world?
The Search for Music and Identity in The Information Age
Phil Hebblethwaite and Alex Symonds join Ross Allmark to dissect his Keynote and invite the audience to give voice to its opinions. Music and identity were once intertwined; leather jackets and hairstyles were defining cultural characteristics, signaling not just what you listened to but who you were. How do we create meaningful and sustainable relationships between Artists and fans when audience preferences and allegiances can change like the weather?
The Shifting Sands of Artist Management
Managers Rachael Patterson, Shekayla Maragh and Andy Inglis will be joined by self-managed Artist Hanne Kolstø to consider how new platforms, consumption methods and audience and industry expectations have radically changed and greatly expanded the nature and scope of the Artist manager’s role. How does this inform the Artist/manager label relationship and how it interfaces with the rest of the industry? Too much to cope with or is the power finally in the right hands?
The Future of Norway’s Live Music Venues
Battles over alcohol licenses, sky-rocketing Artist fees, the threat from state-funded concert halls, vanishing funding… our small venues are by definition risk-takers and their futures are uncertain. Hosted by NKA, moderated by Rhiannon Edwards of MUO and starring promoters from Ålesund (Synnøve Nesdal Sandnes), Kristiansand (Jan Kenneth Transeth) and Stavanger (Mariann Bjørnelv) we’ll debate the status, health, and monetary and cultural value of Norway’s grassroots venues
European Venues in Facts and Figures
Live DMA represents over 2,500 music venues (mostly under 500 capacity) and festivals in thirteen countries. It collects data about the activities, performances, employees, income and expenses of the live music venues to better represent and lobby for them on a local, regional, national and European level. Live DMA’s survey coordinator Arne Dee will present the facts and figures of these crucially important platforms for developing artistic talent, highlighting the diversity of cultural and political policies and business models in different regions and countries, guiding us not only to greater insight and knowledge, but to a discussion into the very heart of the opportunities and challenges live venues face today
European Venues in Facts and Figures
Arne Dee from LiveDMA will lead debate and analysis of the health of European music venues, which varies greatly from country to country, often depending on wider political and social forces, as governments decide how to spend their citizens’ tax income. In a struggling global economy and a climate of suspicion and hostility between States, do we have to choose between art and armaments? Daniel Nordgård will offer data insights and methods to better analyse the live sector, as Karma Bertlesen and others set forth their views with an open mic, as always, in the audience
The Destructive Power of Art
Artist Manager and Tour Manager Andy Inglis delivers a Keynote informed by his recent three month European/North American bus tour with SOHN, and how the physical, mental and environmental damage it did changed his views on touring, how we do it, and what we could change to make it less destructive
I Will Survive: The Human and Environmental Cost of Touring
In the wake of news that UK Artist Joss Stone is planning to offset her touring carbon footprint by planting trees, Andy Inglis, William Doyle and Erica Berthelsen will discuss what can be done to make touring more ethical and manageable for Artists and audiences
Per Ole Hagen’s Photography: a Life in Live Music
Musicologist and former head of Music at NRK P1 (one of Norway’s three nationally-broadcast radio stations) Per Ole Hagen has been photographing Artists for decades. Here he talks about his passion for music and photography and tells the stories behind his favourite images and memories
Andy’s Weird Talk That Will Unnecessarily Worry His Colleagues
To close the Conference last year, Andy Inglis Skyped a Palliative Care Consultant at a specialist cancer treatment centre, to talk about music in life and death. At the time of writing he has no idea what he’ll close with this year. Let’s see…
Francine Gorman, Daniel Nordgård and Andy Inglis bid you a tearful farewell as you head out into the Sørlandet night