Shane Billings may have just launched his own label and management firm, Rage More, but he’s already a household name within the music industry.
As the manager (and husband) of Platinum-selling hit songwriter Amy Shark, Shane Billings has been there from the beginning. It was Shane who championed Amy Shark’s music career long before ‘Adore’ became a radio mainstay on both commercial and triple j, and long before she started selling out arenas with her Cry Forever national tour.
Having announced his first signing this week in Gold Coast artist Indyanna Baby, Shane has hit the ground running. TIO caught up with Shane to chat all things Rage More, from the business model, to the story behind his new signing, his plans to take the company global, and more.
Congrats on starting your own music company! What have you learned from managing Amy Shark that you will bring into the business, from both a label and management perspective?
I’m still learning, but I think our Rage More artists will feel valued, supported and protected. Managing Amy is easy; she is a dream to work with – but everyone only sees the wins and the good days. As a manager, I care deeply about the art – and also the person. The foundations that I have built managing Amy will underpin how all Rage More artists are managed; and above all else, I want all of our artists to know that we believe in them.
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In regards to the Label, we will only work on music that we believe in. This isn’t a company focused on signing artists to make money, or to lead the industry – it’s truly formed to provide pathways for artists to release their music, their way.
How does the business model work when signing artists? Are you expecting all management signings to also sign to the label, or is it optional?
They are completely non-parallel. I have a duty as a manager to get the artist the best record deal that suits them, and it may not be Rage More.
One thing I have learned in music is that you can’t compare any artist, any rollout, or any label deal. In my opinion, the cookie cutter approach doesn’t apply in this industry. Every decision we make from a management perspective will be in the best interest of the artist at that point in time.
Your first signing IndyAnna Baby released a single this week and landed a triple j premiere to launch their career. How important is it to have a curated launch campaign with key partners?
We were so excited to have triple j’s support. In Australia, there isn’t a better base to start as an artist. They support the song because of the song and I love that. triple j changed Amy’s life, so we have huge love and respect for the pathways they create. Hopefully the listeners liked what they heard with Indy as well!
Check out ‘I’m Not Giving Up’ by Idyanna Baby:
What is it about IndyAnna Baby that made you want to sign them?
It sounds cliche, but I was having a drink in a bar, and Indy was playing and I just knew their talent was too good for just this bar. I am always a sucker for multi-instrumentalists, but Indy had me at hello.
I went straight home, woke up Amy, and started showing her demos. We listened from 11pm till 4am, and then the whole next day. Indy reminded me of Amy in 2015, a little disheartened and alone. So I decided to put a support network around Indy and go for it.
What qualities are important for any artist aligned with Rage More?
Wow, good question. I always ask for patience. Just trust me and be patient because I am only ever doing what I think is best. I want it to feel like a friendship, and I am here to help.
You’re in the US right now, have you been taking your ‘Rage More hat’ into meetings?
I am in LA. It’s so weird, everything is open and fairly normal. It’s as pre-covid as it could possibly be. I am meeting with partners while I’m here, I really believe having someone on the ground in different territories is crucial. So yeah, I plan on engaging a Rage More rep over here.
What’s the ultimate goal with Rage More Records and Management?
If I am honest, I haven’t really thought about this. My current goal is to deliver what I have promised our artists. It’s incredibly time-consuming and I haven’t really been able to focus on a long term goal.
But, I look up to companies like IOHYOU, Unified, Mushroom and anything with an independent foundation. Right now, I hope in ten years Rage More has the ability to sign every artist we believe in… It’s really hard saying no to someone just because you are time poor.
The music industry is undergoing mass shake-ups amid a crippling pandemic. What’s keeping you sane right now?
The songs. I just focus on the music as the song doesn’t know the world is crumbling around us. It’s too depressing thinking about how long this road out is going to be for music. We were the first to close down, and will be the last to open up. It’s unfair. We need live music back, now.
I went to a show last night in LA, you show your double vax certificate, or a negative Covid test result, and you are in. It’s the choice of the fan to enter the venue, and take the risk, it shouldn’t be the choice of the politician (once we hit the health advised Vax percentage rate to reopen).
Streaming services have come under fire for small royalty payments since their inception. Where do you stand on the likes of Spotify and Apple Music?
I stay away from this topic to be honest. It might sound like a lazy approach but I just work within the boundaries we have. Spotify and Apple are incredible platforms for fans to listen to music, and I think playlisting is taking over music by the day.
Just like triple j, you can form such beneficial partnerships with streaming platforms for your artists, and I still live by the theory that I would rather have a percentage of something, than 100% of nothing.
The Gold Coast music scene seems to be going through a purple patch at the moment. What most excites you about your adopted hometown’s industry?
Keep this between us, but the Gold Coast is a gold mine for talent! haha. The industry has the talent, it just needs a live scene.
When I was a teen we had the Trocadero, and my parents had the Playroom. We have cool larger venues but we badly need some 500-1000 capacity size venues with no noise restrictions.
I think the Gold Coast has more talent than they get credit for, it’s a great home for artists. 1 hour flight to Sydney, 40 minute drive to Byron, 60 minute drive to Brisbane (51 mins if Amy is driving)… it’s honestly buzzing with talent.
A goal of mine is to secure a partnership with the City of Gold Coast and really nurture our home scene.