'I'm there to learn': UK Music chief Michael Dugher's plans for SXSW

'I'm there to learn': UK Music chief Michael Dugher's plans for SXSW

Austin, Texas will be full of first-timers this week.

Every year, South By Southwest brings with it a huge influx of music biz talent, spread across artists and executives, many of whom will be taking their first steps into the international industry.

While the sight of fresh faces straining under the weight of flight cases, pedal boards and miscellaneous parts of a drum kit is very common, there’s one first-timer in town for 2018 who might stand out from the crowd of musicians.

UK Music chief executive and recent Music Week coverstar Michael Dugher is in town for the festivities this year, on a mission both to learn and to spread the good word (and work) of the British industry.

And while the British Music Embassy will function as a hub for this section of the biz, Dugher suggests he’s planning to widen his net further than that.

With Brexit and Agent of Change among a cluster of items at the top of Dugher’s list of priorities, he’ll be in Texas to gain a new perspective on what’s happening back home.

Here, he guides Music Week through his SXSW itinerary…

Why is SXSW important to the UK music industry and what can our artists and labels gain from it?

SXSW provides a prime opportunity for the UK’s world-renowned music industry to showcase itself. SXSW is a global platform through which artists and labels can connect and forge relationships. It brings together such a diverse range of people and interests. The potential for our industry to build is a very exciting one. This isn’t a time for standing still. The industry is doing well at the moment and that’s precisely the time to reflect on what we need to do now to protect, nurture and grow our industry going forward. 

Apart from opportunities for new artists, what else can the business get from SXSW? What should execs be targeting in Austin?

I’ve not been to SXSW before, so for me personally I’m there to learn. The sheer scale and diversity of the events that take place over the whole of SXSW looks incredibly impressive. The whole industry benefits by learning from one another. Knowledge is a powerful tool and the sharing of innovative practices is important. We will, I’m sure, also be discussing what we need governments to do - here in the UK, but also in the US and across the world - to better help our industry. 

How do you hope the British industry will be perceived at the event?

The British music industry is a great success story. We punch well above our weight. From artists to producers to managers to composers we are home to some of the best talent in the world. I’m sure that we’ll be using SXSW to champion our diverse and incredible industry and discussing how we work with others globally to build on our current success. 

Read Music Week’s list of must-see acts at SXSW here.

Subscribers can click here for an in-depth report on what the event means for the UK biz.

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