Festival Season: The Fall

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The sun is out… well, almost. The shades are on…. well, sometimes and the festival season has begun… Yes, Yes it has!!

It is the most exciting time of year for musicians everywhere. Whether you’re a big named household star or a local band who have been picked to play a slot at their local music festival, artists all around are jumping on the band wagon of music festival season but is it like it used it be?

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I first experienced music festivals in 2011, when I attended my first festival, that being Reading Festival. I do now look back on it and think to myself, I sort of picked the more ‘hardcore’ of festivals to attend as my first one; probably should have tried a smaller one first but hey, it was a great experience. Plus, I have been back every year since, so it didn’t completely terrify me.

The rain that year did fall down quite heavily and I woke up one morning with water in my tent but that’s just festival life. Good old England and its rainy weather. As I write this now, it’s hammering it down with rain… quite fitting.

Anyways, acts are cramming in as many festivals as they can but to what extent are festivals as good as they used to be?

There has been a downfall in ticket sales, many festivals don’t sell out now until a few weeks prior, including Reading Festival which last year saw tickets still on sale a few weeks beforehand. Also, a lot of festivals don’t see as many regulars returning anymore. Not sure if that is just me and people I know but gone are the days of festival junkies I think.

Is this all down to the lack of headline acts available?

Harvey Goldsmith recently confirmed this prediction on music week by stating:

‘Music festivals have probably run their course’

http://www.musicweek.com/news/read/harvey-goldsmith-music-festivals-have-probably-run-their-course/061928

A part of me inside is going ‘Noooooo…. don’t say that’ but I must admit I did see this coming.

There just doesn’t seem to be as big of a hype anymore. One theory of mine is this new age of mixed genre gigs. Reading always used to be a rock festival, Glastonbury an indie festival and V Festival a Pop festival… etc etc… and now Kanye West has received a headline slot at Glastonbury and Mumford and Sons are headlining Reading….

Although it is great for some new attendees to be able to see a mixture of acts, I really don’t think it has bode well for the regular followers festivals use to get, who go intentionally to be able to see the rock/pop/indie acts they love.

I know the festival owners intentions are good… or more, in the eyes of money… they want to gain a wider audience; attract those fans they couldn’t before. However, what they have seemed to have forgotten about is those loyal audiences and attendees that keep coming back each year and it is destroying the festival scene.

Harvey Goldsmith also went on to say this about festivals:

“There’s too many of them and there are not enough big acts to headline them”

“That is a big, big problem in our industry. And we are not producing a new generation of these kind of acts – the likes of The Rolling Stones, Muse, even Arctic Monkeys – that can headline”

I completely agree with him. We aren’t. There are great acts but then there are headline acts and the industry is certainly lacking in them. I wouldn’t have put Mumford and Sons as headline quality, especially not for Reading Festival.

It is a tricky situation and a tactic from the festivals that seems to have gone pear-shaped.

The industry needs to pick up speed in developing and finding those acts that can ‘headline’.

It’s a waiting game and one I’m looking forward to experiencing…

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I DID IT!!!!!! Dissertation: Advice & Tips!

I did it… I actually really did it. 

It being, my dissertation!!!!!! I have submitted it… Wahoo!

Here is my celebratory picture:

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Now I won’t go into too much detail about what my dissertation was about, anonymity and all that, but it was on the music industry and public relations tactics within it. That is the field I want to go into, so I enjoyed exploring this aspect and finding out information I never knew before.

So basically, the point of this blog post was to give future third year students tips about how to start it and how to finish it…..

I have always been told the dissertation is the worst part of university, it is so stressful and so long that you just want to give up. However, not saying I was never stressed during the process I did have my moments; however, I don’t feel like it was the most stressed I have ever been. I have felt more pressure with other assignments than with my dissertation and this is why I think why that was the case….

1) Pick a decent topic!!! – Sounds silly, and everyoneeeee tells you to do this but really – do it! If the topic doesn’t interest you, imagine having to think, write and explore that topic for a whole year…. exactly. Do you get my point now?

– Top tips for picking a topic: What do you want to do as your career? Where do you want to work? What is an interest to you every day of your life? What topics and issues are highly relevant at the moment (this is a big section in the marking scheme at my university, so potentially for you as well – it needs to be relevant).

2) Start early!!!! – I can not explain how much this helped me get through my dissertation process. Everyone says start early, but really… start early! At my university you get your topic sorted at the end of year 2, so you have the summer time to research into it. Not deeply and I wouldn’t recommend starting it then because, well, we all need a break. However, do look at what is going on in that industry. Save articles, save tweets, save press releases – save everything you see online or in a book related to it. Just keep it because it might be the basis of what you write about.

Next plan a schedule. For myself I had a total of seven chapters, references and appendices…. yeah…. A LOT! Our dissertations were also the common style, primary research was involved and oh man it was an inconvenience. Mainly because you have to understand that the people you speak to aren’t going to talk to you at a drop of a hat. You need to make contacts, network, see if your family or friends know people in that industry. For myself, I was lucky because I had music industry contacts but I still had to plan a solid month aside in order to get all of my primary data before writing it all up.

So, get a time line sorted.

3) Forget about the holidays! Now you’re probably thinking NOOOOO! I need my Christmas and Easter break, but you know what… wouldn’t you rather take a week or so out of your holiday time to do work than be super super stressed within the last week before submission and have to join a binding and printing queue a mile long? Yeah… working during the holidays doesn’t sound so bad now does it. I did it, and I still had plenty of time to see my family, relax and hang out with my friends. It is do-able and I’m so glad I did it because I haven’t been so relaxed at university than I have over this past week. Being confident with your work is the best possible feeling and that is usually only achievable when you have been able to have time to look over your chapters and re-work and re-work and re-workkkkkk.

4) Get a second opinion! Now you all get a dissertation supervisor, mine was great. He was so chilled and reassuring that I was able to take this process calmly and not panic as much as I sometimes do. It was great! However, I would always say find someone at the university who can give you a second opinion. Having your mum or dad look through it… just isn’t enough. Now I say get a second person to look at it, your supervisor can’t actually read your work word for word. They are there to guide you and answer questions that you need answering during the process, so having someone who can sit there and read it word for word is such a plus point.

I was able to get help from a lovely lady at my university, heads up to Carina Buckley, who was so supportive in helping me do the best I could, even during the Easter break!! (My Hero). She read through my drafts, gave me advice, I made the changes and then she looked at it again for final advice. It was such a good process because for a lot of people, including myself, the first thing you write is going to be pants. It just is… you need to read over it again with a fresh mind and get other people’s opinions because sometimes you can fall into the trap of writing in the way that you speak…. not good for a dissertation!

5) Invest in a printer! Now, don’t do this if it means you’re not going to be able to eat for a week. But I highly recommend getting your own printer. I have one and lord it made it so much easier. I could print each section off at a time and re-print if there were errors and it didn’t cost a lot of money. I only had to refill one ink cartridge… the black one obviously, so overall this was such a plus for me. I could then take all of my copies to get bound at the university. I chose bank holiday Monday… it was like a ghost town at the binding desk… PERFECT! no queueing for me.

6) Finish early – If you can’t do this then don’t.. but if you have followed my advice about starting early then this won’t be an issue. Leave yourself a week before the deadline and aim to submit then. You beat the queues and you’ll also feel so much better about it. No stress, no panicking and just the overall feeling of success!

7) Forget about it already! – It will be hard… trust me. But seriously forget about your dissertation once you have submitted it. There is nothing you can do and the more you think about it the more you worry (I should know) and the more you worry the more you make yourself stressed and frustrated, when actually you have probably done an awesome job!!

Now I have passed on my wise words… I hope they come in handy. Just remember these main key points and you will be perfectly fine….

1) Plan your time – leave a week before submission with nothing to do

2) Proof read like a mad man, get a minimum of two other people to proof read it as well because what you didn’t see they will….

3) Get other people’s opinions!

4) Don’t be afraid to change it up… if your supervisor is happy with you doing things differently, merging chapters etc (as long as it makes sense to your dissertation) then do it! You might get a higher mark for it!!

5) Finally…. believe in yourself. Don’t waste a year of planning and writing because you don’t believe what you have done is good. It is !

Good Luck fellow dissertation writers!!

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PR Strategy & Campaign Planning: Prism PR

Thank you for the blog post Livi Wilkes and Solent PR!

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The 3rd years are nearing the end of their degree and last week they did their final presentations showcasing the work for their PR Strategy and Campaign Planning Unit in which they had three months to create a campaign for a real life client.
In the next 3 blog posts, you’ll see an insight into how three of the groups, Prism PR, Pristine PR and Gecko Communications, carried out their campaigns, their clients and their personal highlights of the unit.
In this post I spoke to Prism PR – Paige Hiley, Mathilde Trouillet, Stephanie Harris, Sophie Santandrea and Natalie Smith – about their campaign for Hamble Lifeboat.

Paige said: “We had a period of three months to put what we had researched, planned and constructed for the client into use, so we actually got to ‘do the campaign’ which was great because we often get to plan the campaign but…

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Hamble Lifeboat Documentary Project

Hello to all of my followers!

Firstly, I am sorry for the absence of writing on my blog site. This is for a mixture of reasons: 1) I have my Dissertation due in very soon and I have been working on that, to make it the best it could possibly be… 2) I have been back in my home town enjoying time with the family and I mean we all need a break sometimes and 3) I have been busy working alongside a team of four for the Hamble Lifeboat charity organisation, which is what I am going to talk about today.

During my time at University, I had never really been interested in working for a non-profit organisation or charity for my career. I have previously done some work with Ejector Seat music and arts festival for two years in a row and I loved every minute of it, but that is most likely due to my obsession with working within the entertainment sector for my career. Either way, for a university assignment we were tasked to work with a charity to produce a campaign that suited their needs. I must say Hamble Lifeboats stood out as soon as we saw the client list. This was purely because they had such an open mind about what they needed, meaning we were given the ability to do what we wanted and what we thought would boost their awareness of being an independently funded lifeboat charity.

As a result, we decided to create a promotional package for them along with a Documentary style video in order for the people who live around Hampshire to understand the amount of time and money that goes into the organisation in order to keep it a float… haha, a float! Get it?

Anyways… so yes, that is what we did. The Documentary is all completed now and here is the finished product!! Have a look and please donate anything you can to the organisation, they are inspirational men who take the time out of their personal lives to volunteer and help the community.

If you would like to donate, then please head to their JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/hamblelifeboat

Swiss Lips

I’ve never been the sort of person who would listen to techno or electro music, but after watching ‘Sunday Brunch’ on channel 4 last Sunday; I came across a band called Swiss Lips, who have slightly persuaded me to step in that techno direction. To be honest, I’d never heard of them before that encounter on ‘Sunday Brunch’ but I’m already hooked.

The 80’s Electro/Indie style sound that comes from the mixed instrument styles has that ‘catchy, I want to listen to this again but louder’ sort of direction. I then went onto their website and noticed they are supporting Bastille, another favourite of mine and I’m not surprised they are supporting as I was actually think the comparison is quite similar.

The song that got me hooked, which was the one that ‘Sunday Brunch’ added to their playlist, has such a striking chorus that reminds me of the phenomenal memorable Imagine Dragons ‘Radioactive’ chorus. The song called ‘Books’, has a techno undertone, yet still feels like an Indie classic.

Have a listen below; I think they’re a band to watch out for in the future. Definitely a new Imagine Dragons in the making, in my opinion.

Music PR: The need for negotiation

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I’ve always been a music lover, attending live gigs when I was younger with my Dad and then evolving my genres and experiencing live music from unknown small bands that no one has even heard of. For me, it paid off because the majority of the bands I got to see in small local venues are now big worldwide artists; artists such as Bastille, Royal Blood and Twin Atlantic. You can find some real gems within local venues, it’s just a shame that the majority of them are closing down because of a lack of interest from locals. However, it was this that pushed me into the music sector within PR.

So, what’s the point of this post?

I want to explore the music PR’s role and its link with negotiation.

The need for negotiation as a skill within Music PR’s is considered a must.

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What happens when a newspaper rings you up saying they have a negative story coming out about one of your up and coming artists who has generated a lot of fans over the last few months? Their career could potentially be ruined because of this story.

You negotiate with them! Offer them something better, because all they want to do is get readers. If your artist is releasing an album soon, launching a new brand or going on tour, allow them to have an exclusive piece of material in exchange. This, in most cases, can work wonders. Not only has that negative story blown away, but you have also just gained a new piece of publicity confirmed for the future. Sorted!

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Now this process could work differently for those well-known artists that are not currently in the limelight but are still household names. For example, the issue that arose with Cliff Richard and his house raid, this is a whole other issue. However, it can be controlled with negotiation with the press and releasing information in a timely, efficient manner so that press don’t speculate you’re hiding something.

This method was generated when I was apart of a mock PR team for a crisis simulation event, we used a similar process and when mistakes were made we learnt that keeping people up to date was the most important thing.

Now I have given you my advice, what is yours? You might not work within Music PR but what is your negotiation technique with the press, when dealing with negative situations?

Let me know below!

 

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Anything you can do, I can do better…

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 Negotiation. It is a word that appears quite frequently when you’ve been offered a new job and negotiating a salary can be very overwhelming and quite challenging. When it comes to the interview process, this is usually when the dreaded discussion of salary emerges. I say ‘dreaded’ because, especially for women, it can be a little intimidating negotiating your worth to your future employer. It is also said that women are less likely to negotiate than men. So let’s show them guys that we can negotiate and get it right! Because anything they can do, we can sure try to do better.

How can you put a price on your skills and abilities without any guidance or support from the other end? This is where preparation comes into the question. Your new boss will sometimes withhold a figure in their mind but keep it from you, because it is most likely that they will be trying to save money.

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It has also been found that 31% of women, who don’t negotiate their salary, choose not to because they feel uncomfortable to ask for more money. Is it all about the money though? What about extra days holiday, flexible hours, a yearly bonus, it doesn’t always have to be a figure increase. If you are unable to commit to that position that has been offered, without some extra support then express it! It is probably a lot worse to not express this, end up struggling and eventually find yourself having to leave the company, than it is with telling the truth.

So, it is time to think logically. You might be wanting a private jet and a higher salary but come on… I mean be realistic!

So follow these key steps to negotiate:

No. 1: Plan and prepare your case, don’t go into the discussion without knowing the limits.

No. 2: Define the ground rules, where, how and when will the negotiation take place?

No. 3: Clarify what has been said and justify negotiations. There is nothing worse than leaving the discussion thinking you have succeeded and you haven’t.

No.4: Try to bargain what has been offered, can you substitute a lesser increase in salary with an extra week of paid holiday instead?

No. 5: Now it is time to close the negotiation and make sure it is implemented. Try to get a new contract drafted and get both parties to sign it. Make it official!

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If you go in strongly with your case and don’t be over the top with your needs, then you’ll be successful. Proving to the boys once and for all, you do have the guts to drive that negotiation meeting into your court.

 

Have a look at this handy video with negotiation tips: (Video from eHow.com)

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Roses are Red…

With Valentines Day just one day away, it is crazy to see how much of a mad panic people are in today!! Just popping into my local Card Factory (For a friend, I wasn’t the unprepared one) the massive queue and low-level of valentines day stock, that had been scooped up by the mass of shoppers, was mental! Has it really become that Americanized that it is shameful to miss out on this ‘tradition’?

Now I’m not going to sit here and say I haven’t planned something for tomorrow, but it is also myself and my partners anniversary as well; if it wasn’t on the same day I don’t think we would have even done anything. Possibly just a card and a home cooked meal? It seems to be at the point now where bigger is better, the bigger the bunch of flowers the more he loves you, the more money he spends, the more he cares about you… What happened to the small kind gestures? Even on Lorraine this morning, they stated that the average amount that is spent on partners for Valentines day is around £85. Seriously?!?!

It might just be me, but I’m certainly not the type who can even afford to spend that amount, let alone want to. Just let the small gestures do the talking…

That is certainly what Asda has done today for many commuters during their busy day and I think it’s an incredibly good way to get connected with your customers and make them feel important without directly implying their want for you to shop at Asda.

 

The company released a #dontbedave campaign, after they sourced out information stating that males named Dave are likely to forget buying flowers for their valentines. It’s a very clever and innovative idea and in doing so, Asda decided to hand out fresh red roses to individuals to make them feel important. Personally if I was handed a red rose from the company, not only would I be shocked, but it just goes to show that the company aren’t just thinking about their profits, they are thinking about their customers. The linkage between the campaign and the store, will obviously hopefully lead to loyal customers returning to the supermarket; but why wouldn’t they want to? Asda shows they care!

 

So hats off to the national wide supermarket for playing their cards right and showing that Valentines day doesn’t have to be over the top. A simple Rose can make a big difference…

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Alcohol related deaths: Who’s to blame?

Who’s to blame when you think about the consequences of alcoholic related deaths? Is it just the person who is drinking? Think deeper within this ethical issue! Again, this is another post I helped contribute towards for my ethics group blog.

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Who’s to blame? We all have our own perception on the effects of Alcohol and whether it’s the person consuming it or something deeper that is to blame. Obviously for most people the first instinct is to blame the person who’s physically chosen to drink that drink but is there a deeper meaning to young people drinking too much alcohol?

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Being a young person myself, I see the influence of the media creating a big impact on the young generation of today. Many times my mother had said how ‘back in the day’ without TV’s and social media, there was a lot less alcohol related issues with younger people; there was no one to influence them in a mass amount. Nowadays there are so many influences from those forms of communications as well as our ‘idol influences’ that I don’t think you can put the whole blame onto the person…

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Gender equality: Is this really still an issue?

Another post I wrote for my group Ethics blog – This post focuses on gender equality within Football. Let me know your opinions, it’s a challenging subject that appears in the news often; it’s time to make a change.

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We’ve come a long way as a nation regarding gender equality from the moment women were given the right to work, right to vote and men were recently given the right to longer paternity leave and gay marriage has also been legalised. Some might say it took us long enough to get to these stages but it still happened and it’s a something we should pride our-self in for realising the wrongs of gender equality and making it right.

However, as much as this has been an overall break through for the United Kingdom, there are still some people who’s minds, I don’t think, will ever change. They’re stuck in the past where women stayed at home and men acted as the bread winner. Unfortunately for them, getting away with it, isn’t an option. Especially if you’re a public figure.

The issue rose in May 2014 when the vice-president, John…

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