Please tell us your story! How did you get to where you are today?
Phew – how long do you have? I started out at Festival Records in Sydney in 1981 – starting in the accounts dept but was transferred to the PR dept, which was a team of 7 people working on publicity and promotions for all the releases at the time, which included both international and local acts.
From Festival Records, I worked at Harbour Agency in the mid 80’s, then Midnight Oil’s management company before moving to Melbourne in 1988 to work at Triple M as Promotions Manager. In 1992 I headed for Los Angeles and worked at Rhino Records, Platinum Music (at a radio promotions company) and Gasoline Alley Records before landing the dream job in Special Projects at Virgin Records Worldwide working with the five top acts on the label at the time – The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Lenny Kravitz, The Smashing Pumpkins and the Sex Pistols.
In 1998, I headed back to Sydney for the role of Artist Relations / Publicist at MTV Australia. When I left MTV, I started my own publicity company, Chrissie Vincent Publicity – my first clients were The Falls Festival and The Living End, who I worked with for many years. My client list is long and diverse and in 2001, I also started managing acts – the first was a singer/songwriter named Pete Murray and I still manage Melbourne act Blackchords.
I learnt everything I could about the music industry over the many years through the varied positions that I had, so I have a very diverse knowledge of the business – from labels, to management to booking agency, to radio and TV.
In 2014 I started a Masters of International Music Business to consolidate my knowledge and in January 2015, I was offered the position of Head of Entertainment Management at Collarts (Australian College of the Arts) and graduated in 2017 with my Masters. That’s a very short version of how I got to where I am today!
Tell us about your role, what does your day-to-day entail?
As Head of the Entertainment Management department, I oversee the Bachelor Degree of Applied Business in Entertainment Management. I hire and manage all Entertainment Management lecturers, teach several units in the degree and oversee all the EM students.
Day to day, I’m keeping up to date on the music industry news and new music, checking emails, fielding questions from students, updating lecture materials and teaching. I also spend some time working on and researching my field of interest which at the moment has been local content quotas on radio and now on streaming services.
For those who are unfamiliar, tell us a bit about Chrissie Vincent Publicity, what artists do you work with/have you worked with?
Over the years, I worked with so many acts I wouldn’t know where to start to be honest but at CVP artist include Tim Rogers, Tex Perkins, Don Walker, Jeff Lang, Pete Murray, Jet, John Mayer, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Dallas Crane, Simple Minds, Wu Tang Clan, Kim Salmon, Beasts of Bourbon, Shihad, Hoodo Gurus, Spiderbait, The Eels, Johnette Napolitano, The Creatures and events including The Falls Festival, St Kilda Festival, the Community Cup, Boogie Festival, Soundwave, Pyramid Rock Festival, Between The Bays, Australasian Worldwide Music Expo, Fuse Festival and Melbourne Festival.
“When I started, there were no courses in the music business – you learnt on the job and it took many years of working in different sectors of the industry to get a complete overview of the business.”
How did you get your start in the music industry? Did you choose to work in music or did it choose you?
Music chose me – I actually wanted to be a Veterinary Nurse but got a job at Festival Records by chance and the rest is history.
Do you feel that higher education is a necessary step to enter the music industry?
When I started, there were no courses in the music business – you learnt on the job and it took many years of working in different sectors of the industry to get a complete overview of the business. But with the courses available now, I believe it’s a way of consolidating years of information and training in the industry into a couple of years of a degree.
At Collarts, I have made sure that the lecturers teaching the students have all had years of experience working within the industry so they have hands on knowledge of the business and can share their knowledge and connections with the students. The students then leave with a diverse knowledge of the business they are entering.
Have you had to overcome any challenges or adversity in your career, and if so, how did you approach them?
In the 1980’s and 1990’s in the music industry it was very much a male dominated business so YES – there were many, many challenges as young woman. I don’t want to get into the ‘Me Too’ movement side of things too much but I will say that the challenges were many and the only way to overcome the adversity was to work hard, stay strong and determined with integrity and dignity.
Who are your role models in the industry be they international or Australian?
My role models in the industry were the women that were kicking goals and were in positions of power at a time when very few women were in the early to mid 1980’s – they were Colleen Ironside, who was a booking agent at Harbour Agency, Cathy Howard, who worked for Michael Chugg and managed The Mullanes (Crowded House) and Sandra Robertson and Mary Bainbridge who worked at Frontier Touring (Mary is still working there!) – these women forged the way for many of us to follow in their footsteps and for that, I am eternally grateful.
“I have made sure that the lecturers teaching the students have all had years of experience working within the industry so they have hands on knowledge of the business and can share their knowledge and connections with the students. The students then leave with a diverse knowledge of the business they are entering.”
Who are your top 3 artists to watch?
Angie McMahon, Horror My Friend and Wolf Jay.
What does the rest of 2019 hold for you? Anything exciting you can tell us about?
Great question – already this year, my research on local content quotas was published in an international journal and I presented it at an international conference in Nashville in March. I was on a panel about Gen X Women at Vivid Sydney last month and I am working on more research on quotas (on streaming) for publication later this year.
Let’s talk about the high’s vs the lows of your career, what is your greatest achievement vs a moment you’d prefer to forget?
Being able to work with as many amazing artists as I have, I’ve had some great highlights over the years and it’s been great to work on acts and see them grown into some of the biggest acts in the country and know that you had a small part in the process.
One standout was working with Siouxsie Sioux and her band The Creatures for their Australian tour in 2000 – Siouxsie and I got on famously and when she performed in Brisbane on the final show of the tour, she called me in Melbourne from the stage using the tour manager’s mobile phone (mobile calls were expensive back then!) and sang my favourite Banshee’s tune ‘Christine, The Strawberry Girl’ down the phone as a thank you for my hard work. That was definitely a highlight – I was in bed at the time, completely overwhelmed with the gesture but due to the old school phones at the time, unable to record it as proof!
A more recent highlight in my career has been my work on local content quotas on commercial radio and having the opportunity to present my research to the Parliamentary inquiry into the Music Industry in November last year – the highlight being that the findings referenced my work and used 3 of my key recommendations for change. My aim is to help more Australian artists be heard across all platforms so that the industry as a whole benefit.
Low points in my career – The Blueprint Festival and not being paid by clients is never good.
What do you think is the biggest threat to artists or the industry and what would you do to change it?
Technology and the constant devaluation of music as a product! I think the ability for artists and their teams (manager/publicist/agent etc) to make a living from the business is also a real issue. I’m doing what I can by working to ensure that more Australian acts can be heard on commercial radio and across streaming services – with airplay comes a larger audience, bigger shows and tours, larger budgets and commissions which trickle down to help various sectors within the business and helps with growth and sustainability in the industry as a whole.
What would your younger self like to remind your current self?
I’d remind myself to always do what you love and never regret anything – I’ve had that mantra for many years now and live by it.
What is your go-to Karaoke song?
‘Hard to Handle’ for a solo performance followed by ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ as a duo.