New Zealand artists looking to make it on the international stage need to develop their own strategic path, not just try to emulate the successes of others. That’s the message from NZ music industry veteran Manu Taylor, who is launching a new educational initiative designed to equip artists and managers with the tools to navigate the global marketplace.

The first You’re The Future Of Music event will run in Auckland in November and will consist of two days of workshops, a keynote seminar and a showcase. The inaugural program, which is being supported by the likes of NZ On Air and APRA AMCOS, will be split into two categories: the first, which will run Nov. 1-3, will focus on the international market, and the second (Nov. 3-5) will be devoted to Maori creativity.

You're The Future Of Music
You’re The Future Of Music

According to Taylor, You’re The Future Of Music programme is about preparing Kiwi musicians for the ever-changing musical landscape.

“It’s about helping them plot their own paths,” he adds. “This is not about people sitting down and telling their story of how they’ve made it in the music business.”

In addition to local music industry leaders and artists, the workshops will feature three international guest speakers: Luke McGrellis, vice president at Universal Music Publishing in Los Angeles, U.S. indie artist and data analyst Shelita Burke, and Charles Kirby-Welsh, CEO and founder of the Kartel Music Group U.K.

Shelita Burke
Shelita Burke

Taylor has been involved in the NZ music industry for more than 30 years and his career has included stints at WEA and PolyGram, and radio stations such as Mai FM and 95bFM. He currently runs the consultancy 45rpm and also manages artists such as Lontalius and SoccerPractise.

The guest speakers will provide attendees with valuable insights into the international marketplace, but Taylor says it’s vital that NZ artists and their support teams work out for themselves what strategies are going to work best for them.

While many NZ artists will know what path they want to take, they lack the skills and knowledge to implement their vision. For that reason, the program is aimed at both the talent and their support teams, he says.

Taylor says the first event already looks as if it will be over-subscribed, so he hopes to run three to four You’re The Future Of Music events each year. As well as the workshops, Taylor also recently launched a music showcase of the same name, which he hopes will become a new fortnightly event for young new artists looking to perform in front of a live audience.

Luke McGrellis
Luke McGrellis

Although You’re The Future Of Music is likely to lean more towards emerging artists, Taylor says the fast changing nature of the music business means that even acts who may have already released a number of albums can still benefit from the initiative.

“This is not just about beginners, it’s about people wherever they are in their career putting a plan together,” he says. “This isn’t a local cottage industry, this is a business — and you want to be match fit to deal with it.”