Currently project manager at QMusic as well as co-programmer of BIGSOUND, and with nearly a decade of experience in the music industry, Ruby-Jean McCabe is a professional music industry professional, all emerging artist. or established, or anyone looking for a career behind the scenes, should stop and listen.
Ruby-Jean will be part of a special QMusic Connect panel that will travel to Ipswich next weekend as part of SPARK Ipswich’s Waghorn To West music event. The best part? It’s absolutely free. Even if places are limited.
Connect with industry leaders and like-minded people while soaking up the knowledge, advice and experience shared by music industry experts.
The panel includes Luke Peacock (Performer and Grant Evaluator at Australia Council), John Mullen (Head of A&R and Executive Producer at Dew Process Records), Ruby-Jean McCabe and Scott Maughan (Accountant at LineCheck Accounting). Plus a special mini speech and performance by artist Clea.
Tell us a bit about your background in the “Elevator Pitch” style of the music industry?
I have been working in music for eight years. During these years I worked as a reservation agent (The Zoo, Black Bear Lodge, The Milk Factory, Eat Street Markets), assistant reservation agent (New World Artists), festival volunteer coordinator (Laneway Festival) ; and currently as artist manager (Bugs, Hope D, VOIID), co-programmer QAGOMA Up Late, project manager (QMusic) and co-programmer of the BIGSOUND festival.
What is your role as a project manager at QMusic?
My role is a bit of a catch-all at QMusic; I mainly work alongside Dom Miller in programming and industry development.
We deliver the QMusic Connect Industry Development Program, facilitate the nomination, evaluation, rating and organization of Queensland Music Awards events, as well as the Billy Thorpe Fellowship, Levi’s Music Prize, Grant McLennan Fellowship and the Carol Lloyd Award. Dom and I are co-programmers on the showcase side of BIGSOUND, and I am the pre-event and field liaison artist.
As a programming team, we are also available to offer support and advice to our members and artists in Queensland. My typical day involves multiple Google Sheets, Zoom meetings, Excel spreadsheets, and email, email, email.
You are part of a special QMusic Connect panel at SPARK Ipswich’s Waghorn To West event – who is this workshop for? who will get the most out of their participation?
Anyone from emerging industry and established musicians. I think it’s important to learn and hear different perspectives and experiences at all stages of your career.
Even if you think you have passed a certain level, there is always something to remember. Personally, I have often attended workshops organized by QMusic. My peers in the industry are so knowledgeable and willing to share; if anything, it’s a great community development experience.
What aspects of the music industry will be covered and how interactive will the session be?
There will be sessions on Grant Writing, A&R, Finance, Live Performances and Touring, a mini talk by The Incredible Clea (who will also perform later in the evening). As well as a round table where participants will have the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with the panelists to really ask specific questions relating to their careers.
This workshop is aimed at artists and musicians from the Ipswich area, which often has a bad reputation within the community and the media; Based on your experiences, how dynamic and talented is the Ipswich arts and music scene?
It’s a shame that this perception of Ipswich exists – people are doing amazing things in the area.
Brittney Kahl and her fellow Council members have been growing the scene for many years and truly cultivating an environment where local musicians and industry have room to thrive. It’s definitely an outdated view that becomes redundant due to the hard work of local game changers.
Given the COVID reality that we all face – for the foreseeable future as well – how important is it for young musicians to take control of their careers early on to chart a course from sustainability to long term ?
It is extremely important for musicians to deepen their knowledge of the industry at any point in their career.
Often, artists rush into relationships with managers or labels without really taking the time to understand what those roles involve and how they relate to their careers. Working as a professional musician is fundamentally a business, so it is essential for artists to have a basic knowledge of these roles in order to have a good level of expectations.
In my opinion, this plays a big part in long term sustainability as an artist. Educate yourself the best you can and KNOW YOUR VALUE!
When it comes to the music industry, often talent and amazing songs don’t equate to success – what areas can independent artists focus on to create more meaningful relationships and connections?
Something that all of the artists that I represent do really well is to have a real authentic rapport with their fans.
They genuinely care about the people following their trip and work hard to maintain the connection with them personally. They’ve all created a tidal wave within their own communities, which at one point is hard for the industry as a whole to ignore.
Take the time to reply to DMs or create a Facebook or Patreon group for fans, give them a special glimpse into your experiences as an artist, maybe even limited edition products or previews of your next one. single. Keeping the audience in the fold and taking them with them really fosters these meaningful relationships. The industry will follow wherever there is organic buzz.
In addition to your role at QMusic, you manage three emerging and talented artists in Bugs, Hope D and VOIID. What free advice can you share with freelance artists from your experiences as a group manager?
As I mentioned before, know your worth, trust your instincts, ask questions, deepen your knowledge of the industry, stay curious; comparing yourself to others will never produce anything positive and will maintain that spark.
Things are tough right now, and sometimes it’s hard to keep perspective. It’s always good to look back and reflect on your accomplishments, even if it’s just about making the decision to turn your craft from a hobby into a career. It’s enormous.
What are the most rewarding aspects of being a part of the independent music scene?
Build community, network and friendships with my peers and clients. The music industry is unlike any other. It’s hard to relate to if you’re a stranger, so having those connections with people is really a big part of me.
Being able to ask for advice or just talk about something with my peers is so vital – it can be a very isolating job, so I’m very lucky to have a great community around me to lean on when needed.
Thank you for your time; anything else you would like to add?
If you are able to do that, go ahead and support our industry and our artists. Go to shows, buy merch, stream your favorite songs. Artists need our support right now – anything helps.
QMusic Connect takes place at Studio 188 (Ipswich) on July 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.