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Music Industry Conference Reveals Line-Up

Festival organisers have revealed the line up of speakers for the music industry conference that takes place on its first day, Friday 1 October. The conference is aimed at anyone with an interest in how aspects of the business works and will be an accessible yet informative day.

Organised by Adrian Cooke of Sound + Vision, the conference features activities at which knowledgeable music business experts will be sharing their experience and prompting debate and discussion. Then conference will run from 11am to 4.30pm with sessions covering a wide range of topics. Each will feature a panel of music industry insiders with a moderator holding it all together and invite comments and questions from attenders.

The first will be a look at developing and sustaining a career in the music industry. This will be moderated by the respected (and opinionated!) John Robb who first rose to fame in 1977 as singer and bassist with influential punk band The Membranes – and he still plays with them to this day. He has also been a journalist for the national music press, has authored several books, a DJ, music publisher and is often called on to comment on music matters in the media. His music and culture site Louder Than War is currently one of the biggest music sites in the country.

John will be joined by artist manager David Manders (whose clients include Public Service Broadcasting, Nubiyan Twist and Ren Harvieu); Ian Johnson of Access Creative (and an early influence on the careers of Ed Sheeran, Lets Eat Grandma and others) and rapper Shao Dow who has a law degree and has also studied Shaolin Kung Fu. Completing the line up is Stuart Belsham of PRS for Music, the organisation that represents the rights of songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK and around the world.

The following session will discuss where the pandemic leaves gigs, tours and festivals. Chaired by Independent Venue Week founder Sybil Bell, who also has a wealth of experience in live and recorded music. She will be joined by agent Steve Zapp who books gigs for acts including Biffy Clyro, Howling Bells and Editors; Rupert Orton, promoter of Red Rooster Festival and others (and founder member and guitarist of The Jim Jones Revue) and multi-award winning independent promoter Luke Hinton. There will be one other panellist to be announced.

Titled ‘Sync or Swim’, the final panel discussion will examine one of the most financially rewarding aspects of marketing music, that of licensing music to film, TV and games. This will be held together by Arts Council England’s Music Relationship Manager Adrian Cooke. Adrian is a tireless champion for increased public funding for the rock & pop sector and is also the founder of the Sound + Vision festival and conference (set to relaunch in Cambridge in 2022). He will be joined by multi award-winning composer and music production company Score Draw Music CEO Mark Gordon (who has written music for Dolly Parton amongst others); Connie Parr, founder of ThinkSync, a company that works with feature films, TV series, trailers, documentaries etc to select, source and license music and Sky TV’s Head of Music Peter Bradbury.

The final session of the day will be a conversation between John Robb and an established and experienced performer and musician who will discuss their career, look at any pitfalls they encountered and give advice on how to avoid them! The name can’t be revealed just yet but a treat is promised!

Marcus Neal of organisers Out Loud Music who is also director and programmer for Sound City Ipswich said ‘I’m thrilled that we have been able to assemble such an interesting range of industry insiders. I’m sure we shall have a really interesting day that will be of interest to anyone thinking about entering the industry or already involved. For me the session on licensing music to film, TV etc is especially interesting as it covers a sometimes neglected but potentially financially lucrative area where music is used.’

Sound City Ipswich takes place on 1st and 2nd October at a variety of venues in Ipswich, transforming the town centre into a two-day multi-venue music festival and conference. It operates in partnership with the annual Sound City Liverpool which takes place over the same weekend and was established in 2008.

‘We want to firmly re-establish Ipswich as a centre for live music’ added Marcus. ‘to both attract national touring bands throughout the year and to encourage the vast wealth of homegrown talent from all genres of music.’

Attendance at the conference is open to all but there are a limited number of tickets, available for just £5 from

The live music element of Sound City Ipswich takes in a massively diverse range of musical styles and genres. It features established international touring artists with emerging regional talent appearing alongside them. Full details of performers, essential information, conference registration and ticket bookings head to

Sound City Ipswich is supported by Ipswich Borough Council and Arts Council England.


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