The Music Business facts according to Michael Chugg!
In this interview Michael Chugg shares a really personal account about how he got into the music business and talks about the humble beginning and history of the Australian music industry.
Below are some of the key quotes transcribed from Michael’s interview with Rodney.
“Back then there was no music industry. We were making it up as we went along. Gudinski in Melbourne and people in Sydney and people in Brisbane”. It was all about just doing what we felt was great.
“Luck has a lot to do with it. I think being there at the right time and the right place has a lot to do with it. I also think belief in what you’re doing and having a passion, and not giving up has a lot to do with it”.
(On promoting artists) “It’s all about risk- It’s about touring acts and having to look at the act and… (thinking) Is this going to work”?
(On losing lots of money touring bands).”The thing you learn is you don’t dwell on bad things. You take it on board and you move on”. If you’re going to be in the business- that’s how you have to be”.
“I learnt that just because I love it doesn’t mean the punters love it!”.
“Obviously it’s much harder today because record companies aren’t what they were, and record sales aren’t what they were”.
“I had huge grief over touring Radiohead on a single called “Creep” and losing forty thousand dollars. Well in the last ten years I’ve toured Radiohead and on the last tour we sold out in six minutes”.
“Of Monsters and men is the perfect example….This band from Iceland and we brought them out fifteen months ago and played 200 seaters and we lost money. And last year they headlined Laneway and sold 60000 tickets and that’s what its all about. I can say the same about Coldplay and John Mayer. It was all about starting off in clubs and growing. And we do love doing that”!
“I get a lot of young people say (to me) I’ve got this young band what should I do?……”I say well go down to your local pub and do a deal for free beers and half the ticket sales on the door and get started. And if the bands any good within six weeks you’ll have a big crowd”.
“If you believe in something don’t give up. Just keep banging your head against the wall and eventually the wall will fall down”.
“One of the great things about Australia and Australian music is watching how it’s grown in the last, you know, fifty years. Watching what’s really going on right now”.
“I learnt very early in life that taking is easy but if you don’t fucking give back it will all go to shit. It’s called Karma”!
“I don’t think Australian mainstream radio has enough shows that give opportunities to Australian bands. If the band is not in the style of Triple J- getting airplay is really hard on mainstream radio.
“Most of the radio stations have been sold for too much money and it’s all about sponsors and advertisers and paying your overdrafts and trying to live with the stupid money you paid for these stations. They have a quota of Australian music. A lot of them play retro music after hours to make their quotas. I’d like to see more shows discovering acts. Special shows dedicated to new bands”.
(On artists and songwriters) “Someone will get it sooner or later. That’s all it takes- Just one person to get it and the doors open”!
“Australian music is happening more overseas than it is here”!
“I had four goals- I’ve hit three and there’s one to go. Tour the biggest bands in the world- Which I’ve done. Run the biggest agency in Australia- Which I’ve done. Have a number on record in Australia- Which I’ve done. The last one is to have a number one record in America- I’m not far away I don’t think Rodney”!
“Young acts would ask me for my advice and I’d say you’re unknown here, you’re unknown in America so get on a plane and fuck off!”
“The live scene for Australian bands is pretty healthy and that Australian bands are not only taking on the world but also being recognised”. (Internationally)
(On advice for artists) “Build a good team around you and listen to what people say”.
“The one thing Paul Dainty taught me way back- was look after the act- whatever the act wants you delivery! We look after our acts. We’re honest with them. We look after them”!
Books recommended by Michael Chugg
Music Business – Shame Simpson
Hey you in the Black Tshirt – Michael Chugg