Most of the time (when Stephen Harper is not destroying our country) I’m really proud to be a Canadian. I’m especially proud of our Canadian music scene. Many talented and hard working bands are able to make a global impact because of the smart and talented industry folks who help make it happen. One of those smart and talented Canadian music industry folks is Shain Shapiro. Shain is the UK/EU Export Manager for CIMA (Canadian Independent Music Association) and I had a chance to talk to Shain about the UK and EU scenes.
How is the UK music scene different from the Canadian scene?
– Hard to answer. It has a completely different socio-cultural history, so it’s very, very different. Plus the country is much smaller and more condensed, so it’s highly competitive. The UK is quite focused on being new and introducing talent. You usually only have one chance to be new while in the UK, it can be more forgiving. It’s not always that way, but it can be ruthless… and in the UK, the genres are more defined in the business… folk is folk, indie is indie etc…
What can associations like CIMA offer musicians touring/preparing to tour the UK?
– Well, information to start. And contacts. And we coordinate showcases which can help with funding if the band is successful in receiving a showcase grant to tour. But mainly we see it as preparedness… We try to ensure everyone we speak to is provided with honest, forthright advice.
In your talk you talked about how each country has it’s own rules for touring acts. Is there a country you should start with? & Why?
– It depends on the music to be honest. Germany is usually more welcoming though on average as it’s bigger.
Is there a common mistake band’s make coming over to tour the UK and/or Europe?
– Coming before they are ready.. Thinking that their music would work here if it doesn’t work in Canada. Just because you go somewhere it doesn’t mean anyone will care about you, unfortunately.
Classic answers really, but everyone needs to hear the truth. Just because the UK/EU loves music doesn’t mean they’ll love your stuff. Build your buzz at home and start making connections abroad (talk to ppl like Shain). Europe can be an awesome place for your music but like with all investments, make sure it’s worth the squeeze because taking a band across the pond costs a lot of cash. Invest wisely.