Thursday 14 February 2013, 12:40 | By

Great Escape keynotes announced

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Alan Davey

So here we go again, with the very first announcements about this year’s Great Escape convention, the UK’s premier music business conference all lovingly programmed by the CMU Insights team. Once again thousands of music industry professionals from across the world will amass in Brighton from 16-18 May to exchange knowledge, ideas, contacts and business. Three keynotes are announced today, focusing on funding, retail and artist deals.

First up, Alan Davey (pictured), CEO of Arts Council England will officially launch his organisation’s first ever artist-centric music funding initiative – the previously reported Music Industry Talent Development Fund – and outline the Arts Council’s vision for music talent funding. Vanessa Reed, Executive Director of PRS For Music Foundation, which will manage and administer the new scheme, will also be on hand to explain how the new initiative will work in practice.

Commenting on the launch of the Arts Council’s new fund at TGE 2013, Great Escape Co-Founder and Creative Director Martin Elbourne told CMU: “This launch is a landmark moment for music in England, and it is great news that Alan Davey, who has personally spearheaded this new initiative, will officially unveil the programme at The Great Escape this year. This fund offers so much potential for emerging artists, and TGE will provide a platform where it can be fully embraced by the industry”.

Next up, retail. And with the downfall of HMV dominating so many headlines this year, and proving to be a such a major talking point within the industry and beyond, The Great Escape will have a strand focusing on the future of music retail. And leading the proceedings will be Stephen Godfroy, co-owner of Rough Trade Retail, who will explain how his company has defied the odds. Following the launch earlier this week of a new digital venture in partnership with The Guardian, and with a new store due to launch in New York this summer, Godfroy will discuss the opportunities that he and his colleagues at Rough Trade see amidst the doom and gloom.

And finally for now, CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke will delve behind the scenes into how artists, both grass roots and established, are learning to navigate the new music industry. He’ll chat to some of the most admired managers on the new kinds of approaches and deals that are already working for them in 2013. Brian Message and Kobalt’s Paul Hitchman will discuss their partnership on the upcoming Nick Cave release, while Garry Blackburn and Cooking Vinyl’s Martin Goldschmidt will provide insights on last year’s Madness album campaign. With more manager conversations tba.

Commenting further on that little lot, CMU’s Chris Cooke, chief programmer of the TGE convention, added: “The challenges facing HMV this year have been big news across the board, and a major talking point in the music business – what does this mean for high street music retail? The achievements of Stephen Godfroy and his team at Rough Trade Retail are greatly admired across the industry, and we are excited that he will be offering us his insights as part of The Great Escape this May”.

“Meanwhile behind the scenes, artists, both grassroots and established, are learning to navigate the new music industry. I can’t wait to chat to some of the business’s most admired managers – the people advising acts on what route to take – on the kinds of new approaches and deals that are already working for them in 2013″.

The Great Escape’s first convention confirmations follow the announcement on Tuesday of the initial line-up for the TGE festival, Europe’s leading festival for new music. Bastille, Tom Odell, King Krule, AlunaGeorge and Chvrches are amongst the big batch of already confirmed acts, more details on which you can find on the Great Escape website.

Delegate passes for this year’s TGE, which get you access to both the convention and the festival, are available now at the early bird rate of £145. See you there.

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