Showcasing

What Is Showcasing

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Since 2006, Oleh! Records has been staging branded industry showcase events at the most important international music industry festival & conferences around the world. While there isn't a 'patented' format to showcasing, the general purpose for showcasing Israeli talent abroad is to 'get you on the radar' of international industry decision makers, key influencers, and future investors of your music/act. This includes but is not limited to: record labels, publishers, artist managers, publishing companies, booking agents, festival programmers, music producers, and music media. It also provides the opportunity to build your international fan base.

Today, showcasing events take place every single month of the year in every territory on the planet. Some showcases are genre specific, while others invite every type of act to apply/perform. Some showcases are 'boutique' in nature and highly focused targeted towards a specific industry demographic, while other events are massive in scope, which makes it easier to get selected to showcase but more difficult to be "seen" due to the competitive performances within the festival taking place at the same time. Oleh! has spent years vetting, identifying and working with over 50 of the most established and important industry events in every major territory in the world to ensure that Israeli artists are consistently 'placed'/featured within the lineup of those events.

If you are an 'official' showcasing artist, you and your band will receive credentials to attend the industry event, including the conference portion of the event, networking sessions, some/all of the industry parties, and access to other showcases performances. You will be guaranteed at least one 'stage' to perform on (between 30-45 minutes) in front of would be 'buyers' and new fans alike.You are often expected to cover your own expenses (international flights, artist visas, hotels, per diem etc), and provide any additional backline which is not made available by the venue (most venues have basic backline and often times bands tend to share on the same night of the showcase). The showcase event provides the platform and basic marketing of your band within the overall lineup of the festival, but you are expected to provide the rest.

Oleh!'s main principle as it relates to showcases is to both guide & support all Israeli artists showcasing abroad in achieving results when showcasing abroad. That is why we created TUNE IN TEL AVIV as our definitive showcasing brand. Our aim is to focus concerted efforts on behalf of all showcasing Israeli artists to generate increased exposure, and deliver more industry to generate interest/investment in your music.The international music market offers endless opportunities for Israeli artists to generate a greater level of income, exposure, and success, which will help sustain Israeli musicians and the industry that supports them, both at home & abroad.


Am I Ready?

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To determine if you are ready to showcase abroad, you must fulfil a basic level of artist development. Showcasing is NOT for everyone, and in order to be considered by the programmers / organisers of international showcasing events, it is strongly recommended that you:

● Have a basic package of assets including: Press Shots / Logos / Artist Biography / Social Media (FB, official Website, Youtube, Soundcloud, Instagram, Twitter), at least one EP/LP (previously released), and at least one music video single that has been been published online.
● Have an actual fanbase/followers/spins/views associated with your social media platform to show that you are truly active, "export ready," and accessible to the international music industry.
● Some tour/performance history under your belt. It is not imperative that an artist has performed abroad, but it is crucial that he/she demonstrates frequent live activity/performances in Israel. Playing or touring only a few times in your entire career is usually not enough to be ready for a showcase abroad.
● Some music media reviews of your EP/LP release, live shows, interviews, and press quotes. Having critical press cover or feature your band/music will be a huge deciding factor in how showcase programmers view your bands' "street cred". If you manage to get some basic PR both in Israel or abroad, we've found that your act will dramatically increase the chances of being slotted to showcase abroad.
● Performing and having songs in English is a major advantage in demonstrating international marketability.

If you've fulfilled all or at least most of the the above mentioned basic requirements and are ready to apply to showcase abroad, you must also first consider the following:

● What are you trying to achieve during and after showcase?
● Do you know why you are choosing to export your music at this time?
● Do you already have some interest in a specific territory abroad?
● Have you looked at all of your options/costs/budgets to perform at your particular showcasing event/music conference?
● What is your strategy beyond the chosen showcase(s), and what other events / activities form your overall export strategy?
● Do you have the proper local support on the ground at your showcase i.e a PR rep, or project manager to ensure you have the opportunity to meet/network with those attending your selected showcase?



Applying

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It is important to underscore that under absolutely no circumstances is Oleh! Records or TUNE IN TEL AVIV responsible for selecting the artists that are invited to showcase at any of the intentional music showcases we cooperate with; this includes SXSW, The Great Escape, Canadian Music Week, Liverpool Sound City, Primavera Pro, IFF, Live at Heart, Music Matters, MIDEM, Womex, Reeperbahn, etc.

Oleh! Records categorically refuses to be involved with the 'selection process' of Israeli artists at any international showcase platforms, as we maintain our position as the only impartial 'honest brokers' in Israel as it relates to championing all Israeli musicians and the industry that supports them abroad.

Oleh! works with decision makers to provide credible information of those artists who are being considered, and supports those acts/artists ultimately selected to showcase by the organisers to provide transparent information, PR, networking opportunities, and critical expertise 'on the ground' (production support).

Israeli acts/artists are able to apply themselves directly to each international showcase, usually through Sonic Bids or similar platforms. Whenever possible, artists may also apply directly through Oleh! and avoid having to pay fees to 'be considered' to showcase abroad. Our aim is to streamline the process of showcasing for Israeli artists, making it cheaper and easier to get your music heard by those that matter.

Preparation

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In order to gain the most benefit from showcasing abroad, it is important to research the opportunities which you are submitting to before applying. Some ways you can do this include:

1) Know the goals you have in mind before you decide to showcase abroad; some bands are looking to find a manager abroad to represent them in a new market, others bands are looking for booking agents or festival buyers to program them/slot them more opportunities in the future, while still preferring to manage themselves at home in Israel. Some acts may simply wish to find publishing companies to represent their catalog of work, because extensive touring is simply not a long term option.
TIP: If you have a specific goal, and write it down, you will be much more focused and successful on achieving what you are setting out to do at a showcase event.

2) Speak with local industry and bands/musicians who have already attended the event.

3) Learn who performed and  spoke at the event in previous years to see if they 'fit' the kind of music/project you are involved in.

4) Research what kind of other opportunities/gigs you can create for yourself before/after the showcase event to make the most of your time/effort flying out to showcase.

5) Understand the level of support (if any) the Israeli Foreign Ministry or other funding bodies can provide.

6) Prepare an estimated budget of all related expenses to understand the full costs of performing at your particular showcase event.

7) Organise your online assets (press photos, and a well written bio/narrative/pitch, music videos, and other various marketing materials (drop cards, business cards, swag- T-Shirts, Lighters, Hats, etc.) which you can use to promote your project during the event and give to both new fans and industry/media that you intend to meet.

8) Take the time to understand the visa requirements of the country which you wish to showcase.
NOTE: It is important to understand the various laws/regulations of each country you intend to perform. Some may require an artist visa, while others do not. Some may require an artist visa regardless if you are performing for a fee. Typically showcase performances are unpaid, and you can enter the country with a tourist Visa.

9) Locate and develop a relationship with a qualified music PR agency who can adequately represent you to the media & industry prior to, during and after the showcase event.
NOTE: Do not underestimate the value of proper music PR. Having someone (a local professional) take your project and introduce you to important industry decision makers/media, can make all the difference at showcase events. However, it's equally as important to manage your own realistic expectations and budgets with respect to what you can afford, and whom it is you are hiring. There are fantastic music PR companies out there, but even more PR companies that oversell and under-deliver.
TIP: Never pay the full amount for PR services upfront, and always get a contract stating EXACTLY what it is you expect, and what the minimum delivery of the music PR representative will be.

10) You can also utilise the the internal conference networking scheme to research the delegates who have already registered and contact them before to invite them to your showcase, ask for a quick meeting to discuss their work and your project.
NOTE: Not all showcase platforms have a networking scheme published online, but you can usual find out who is speaking at the industry conference before you arrive. Do not hesitate to find their email address and contact them to invite them for a meeting and/or to see you showcase.

11) Download the showcase industry application (if one exists) and familiarise yourself with the schedule/program/and speakers. Make a plan of what you will do, where you will go, and who you will try to meet before you arrive.

During the Event

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1) Pick up a sim card to have a local number and/or data plan so you can call/whatsapp people and be readily available. You will make a lot of new contacts and friends, and you want to access/be accessible to them. Communication is key. You want to be able to give someone your local number and engage them to come see your showcase, text them to find out where they are, and what they are doing, tag along, or hang out.

2) Go pick up your badge/credentials as soon as you arrive. Do not wait until the day of your actual showcase to do this. You flew thousands of miles to come to a music industry event for a reason, you should be present at all times. 
TIP:
If you are coming with a band, then divide responsibilities: split up and do different things, including attending different panels, network at different parties,... remember that there is always power in numbers, and use this to your advantage. You never know who you can meet, especially if there is more than one of you.

3) Familiarize yourself with the physical conference program, make a plan, identify the most interesting panels, workshops, showcase events. Usually there is a lot more information in the physical program than published online, things you may have missed. Make sure you try to do as many activities, see as many panels, meet as many people as possible. The event program is incredibly valuable in this regard.

4) Locate the venue in which your showcase will take place, understand the stage, backline, and sound of your venue. Speak with the production manager and introduce yourself. Find out if there are any 'red flags' or issues that you will need to resolve before the day of your showcase, so you can sort these problems out. If you wait until the last minute, you will be stressed, and risk the chance of something going wrong.

5) Step outside of your comfort zone. It is a known fact that Israeli musicians typically stick together during an industry event. This is the absolute WRONG approach. Do not stay in your hotel room, spend hours shopping, or eating breakfast/lunch/dinner with your newfound Israeli friends. Go be part of the 'scene'. Industry events are different than music festivals. The programmers have spent a lot of energy bringing together some of the most powerful/influential/interesting people in the music industry from around the world to discuss topics, share knowledge/experience, network, and invest in new music projects. Use this invaluable opportunity to improve your own networking.Find out where the 'VIP' / 'buzz' / 'cool' / important (after) parties / events are taking place.
TIP: Most music export offices arrange cocktail parties, lunches, and industry showcases of their own. These events are sometimes 'invite only' while others are 'open to all' registered delegates. Find out where / when these events and show up. In the worst case scenario, you can get some free food / drinks...in the best case scenario you can meet all the heavy-waits from that particular country, network with other musicians who you can collaborate with in the future, or perhaps meet your next 'manager' / 'label' etc.

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If you hired a music PR agency, then you should meet this person ASAP. Have them take you to the 'right' parties and meet the 'right' people. They should have prepared a general schedule of meetings BEFORE you even get on a plane. It is your responsibility to request what you want, and what your goals are for the PR rep that you've hired to work for you at the particular music industry event.

7) Get a 'lay of the land'..it is important & easy to quickly familiarise yourself with the various locations within the music industry event that should be valuable to you. You should be flyering / postering your showcase performance EVERYWHERE.
TIP: Usually there is a VIP room for conference speakers- why not get posters around the entrance of this room? Usually there is a media office for all the journalists attending the event- why not get flyers inside this room to make sure EVERY music journalist who sits down to file a report, see your advert?

After the Event

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Take the hundreds of business cards/phone numbers/email address you have accumulated during your showcase and start sending emails IMMEDIATELY (5 days after the event concludes). The biggest mistake every showcasing artist makes is NOT FOLLOWING UP.  You've just spent thousands of dollars, flew half way around the world, played your best showcase gig ever, and hustled your butt off- while meeting, drinking, sharing 'special moments' with hundreds of new and important music industry professionals. They saw your perform, or met you and received your project/marketing material, and you learned what they do for a living and how they can help progress your music career internationally. Why not actually capitalize on this opportunity?! Contact each person you met, with one single 'ask'.. make your email very short, and include your 'deck' and links to your most impressive video/single etc. HOWEVER, do not inundate them with information and requests. People in the music industry are busy, especially the successful ones. If you met a festival booker, and had a 'moment' with them, shoot them an email reminding them of who you are/how you met and express that you are definitely interested in performing at their festival. Same goes for label reps, music producers, publishers, booking agents, etc. You did the effort by showcasing, now its time to close the deals.

NOTE: Not following up is the difference between successful showcases & unsuccessful showcases. While it is your goal to have your particular showcase seen/heard by as many people as possible, you'd be surprised how many deals get done simply by being in the right place at the right time...showcase or no showcase. If someone didn't see you perform, but you are able to send them a slick showreel of what you look like on stage, how you sound, and express the right 'brand', you will still be booked if you managed to create that 'personal connection'. HOWEVER if you wait 6 months until after you went home, and were totally forgotten, then there is a reasonable chance that whoever your emailed will never respond.

Delegates

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Each industry event is unique and significantly different than regular music festivals; the delegates and speakers attending are there for a reason- namely, to discover and invest in new music, make new contacts and either buy or sell something. You need to understand and capitalize on the value of having hundreds or thousands of professional music industry coming together for several days, all in the name of music and doing business.

If you take the time to research who is attending in advance, and understand their 'value' to your goals, you will have already improved your chances of getting new and potentially lucrative opportunities.

Take the time to google/research the companies which those delegates represent, understand what they are looking for, and whether or not they fit your goals/needs.If you decide to attend an industry event not as a showcasing artist, but as a music industry professional, then come up with a strategy to promote your business/activity in other ways.

If you have an Israeli music tech company, an agency or company which can benefit from new marketing and networking opportunities, music industry showcase events are the perfect venues to generate new business and develop networks to reach new audiences. Most industry events offer sponsorship opportunities to help you market your product to all the delegates attending, including giveaways, branded activations, and b2b meetings.