Jana Gibson // Head of Member Services // APRA AMCOS

Jana, tell us your story! How did you get to where you are today?

I started out working in Hotels, then in events professionally and then started in the events team at APRA AMCOS where I have been for 15 years in a variety of great roles. I’ve always been an avid live music fan since my uni days, so the music industry called me!

Tell us about you role, what does your day-to-day entail?

Today is Day 1 in the new role – Head of Member Services and I’ve already done an introductory presentation to the new team I’ll be working with, talked through some operational changes and finalised a brief on expanding our female mentoring program.  This afternoon are a couple of meetings with industry connections for upcoming events and writing up staff appraisals.

The work is diverse and my eye and that of the Member Services team is always on helping our members navigate the nuances of the industry and ensuring payments and opportunities are continually flowing.

What issues/potential issues do you think the current Australian music industry face?

In most respects, the Australian market is no different to other markets in terms of the challenges ahead. For our members, income diversification is key, so the flow of income remains healthy even if the income streams change.

The other challenge is data integrity – it’s vital for our members and those who pay licence fees – delivering the most accurate data to a granular level, making sure the correct copyright owner gets paid.

Give us your take on the local Sydney music scene, where do you go to see shows and who are some local artists you’d recommend we keep an eye on?

There is always great music to be found – musicians are a resilient bunch – particularly in the inner west. The last two gigs I went to were at the Enmore and the Landsdowne.

We’ve taken an active role in the parliamentary enquiry into the Music and Arts and our member Isabella Manfredi has painted a picture of what lies ahead if we don’t make huge adjustments to the live music strategy for our city.  We look forward to the outcome of the enquiry and championing these issues for our members and licensees.

Isabella Manfredi

Have you had to overcome any challenges or adversity in your career, and if so, how did you approach them?

I have not had any notable challenges in my career, just where my career intersects with my family life. Juggling is always a challenge. I’m a planner (love a list!) so I need to be organised and also to be prepared for the hurdles.

What would you consider to be your career highlight to date?

Back in my event management days, delivering Song Summit in 2012 gave me a sense of contributing to the evolution of the music industry. We united members and industry it what felt like an engaged community and there were so many great outcomes post that event.  And I’d have to say the role I’ve started in today is definitely a career highlight!

What has been the best gig you’ve ever attended and why?

There are so many! Big Day Out in the early-mid 1990s were an amazing experience for a country girl fresh out of a regional University but some of the programming at the Sydney Opera House of the last few years has also been incredible. I can’t pick one thing!

How do you relax when stressed or burnt out?

Spending time away from Sydney at the beach with my family and catching up on sleep.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

To align my personal values with how I work and when making decisions on what I should commit to. This has helped me navigate life between home and work.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in your field?

Collaboration is not just for musicians! Collaboration needs to be your default position – bringing in the intellect of others not only adds to the knowledge bank but the inclusivity it brings stimulates a feeling of engagement and capacity building. Sometimes you need to park your own expertise to get a better result.

Who are your role models in the industry?

Sally Howland, Jenny Morris, Becc Bates, Linda Bosidis, Millie Millgate, Vanessa Reed, John Watson are just a few.  All these people demonstrate a commitment to the music industry, identify opportunities to create equity and nurture those they work with and for.  It’s done quietly, amongst a hectic workload and without ego. Inspiring!

What is your go-to Karaoke song?

John Farnham’s You’re the Voice!