Wide Days - Teviot Row House, Edinburgh, Wed 11-Thu 12 Apr 2012
The music seminar proves itself an invaluable asset for those wishing to work in the music industry
Now in its third year, Wide Days is fast becoming something of a mainstay within the Scottish music scene. Due to the ambition of curator Olaf Furniss, and his close partnership with various initiatives within the local music community, the event has flourished. Under the roof of Edinburgh's Teviot House attendees gather from all over the UK, including Keith Harris, head of the PPL and longstanding manager of Stevie Wonder. He's joined by Scott Cohen, founder of The Orchard, a digital distribution company, and currently the online leader. With a range of seminars and keynote speakers, the event aims to give useful insights for not only working artists but those trying to break into the music industry in any capacity, whether from a creative or business perspective. The informal nature of Wide Days and the approachability of a lot of the industry guests contributes to a relaxed atmosphere throughout the event. This essentially provides a chance for one-on-one chats, and a fairly rare opportunity to network and build relationships. It's especially welcome in an industry that can conjure so many feelings of bitter resentment due to its unforgiving infrastructure. It's at this point where I am reminded of the scornful tongue of Hunter S Thompson, whose dismissive summation of the music industry is immortalised on the urinal in King Tut’s; 'The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.' Ok, a tongue in cheek remark, but given that this quote that graces one of Glasgow's most established music venues, this attitude and cruel reality is certainly drummed into any local artist's psyche from the get-go of their music careers.
The seminars offered at Wide Days are hopefully enough to counter any negativity towards the industry by providing intricate details into various platforms that should really be addressed at the start of anyone's foray into the industry. Keith Harris kicked off proceedings with his introductory discussion titled 'Everything You Need To Know About The Music Business', a refreshing and welcoming introduction to the two-day event which covered many bases within the musical paradigm. Throughout this session Keith discussed the importance of balancing receipts at the start of an artist’s career in order to gain a better insight into any potential financial pitfalls. This, he pointed out, may make the artist self-sufficient and better equipped when understanding the role of management.
Other highlights included an A&R panel with Alex Knight (Fat Cat records) and Ally McCrae (BBC Introducing, Radio1) onboard at an intense listening session which provided a lot of constructive criticism and feedback for artists who were brave enough to go forward and offer up their music as fodder. The culmination of the seminars were evening showcases on the last night which spanned across three different venues, The Third Door, Sneaky Pete’s, and Electric Circus. Highlights included the introspective folk musings of Michael Cassidy, and the ambient orchestration of Quickbeam.
Wide Days has again proved itself to be a useful tool for those from various backgrounds who aspire to carve out a career in music. Given that it is able to attract influential figures from all over the UK, the event can only continue to thrive and hopefully be recognised as a fundamental cornerstone to the continuing development of the UK music industry.