Annie Mac has told Music Week she’s coming at the music industry “from an outsider’s perspective” as the second edition of her AMP London conference kicks off.
The event takes place at Camden House today (March 6), with an array of speakers including Ellie Goulding, Raye, Decca’s Rebecca Allen, BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Tiffany Calver, Festival Republic’s Melvin Benn and Atlantic Records’ Alec Boateng set to debate gender equality, the environment, mental health, TikTok and more.
Speaking in the new edition of Music Week, Mac said she wants “answers and tangible plans, results” from the conference. The BBC Radio 1 DJ debuted the conference at London’s Moth Club last year, and wants things to step up a gear for 2020.
Read on for an extract from our interview with Mac, who will interview Universal Music UK chairman and CEO David Joseph, among others, at the conference…
I want to be inside the music industry, pushing it forward
How do you feel when you look at the list of speakers?
“Really, really proud and very excited. It’s such a wonderful range of people, it shows that where we’re at as a music industry is really exciting. We have to talk about the things that are problematic and we have to try and push the industry forward, but just being able to get this representation of the industry,?this group of people, is something to be celebrated. The thing about the music industry is, it’s easy to sit and moan about it, but I don’t want to be one of those people. I want to be inside it, pushing it forward and helping it to move in whatever way I can.”
How has the gender conversation moved on since last year?
“Obviously, the festival line-ups are the frontline, but the back end is the root of the problem. I want to explore why women haven’t been signed in the past. I’m interested in the differing investments that you have to undertake as a record label, when you sign a man or woman. A female pop star is a lot more expensive. It’s a bigger investment because of the amount of money that you have to pile into styling, make-up and hair, compared to a Lewis Capaldi, for instance, or even Niall Horan. It’s really, really unbalanced in that way, and it feels really unfair! It could be that these girls don’t want all this stuff, but there’s an obligation where they feel they have to. Then, in light of the BRITs shortlists, I want to know why is it that it’s harder for a female to sell records? Why are women are not selling as many records as men?”
What did last year teach you about what the music business can do when it comes together?
“Last year we had Guv Singh who manages Mist and Steel Banglez talking about mental health and the fact that as a manager, he has to try and protect his clients mentally and make sure that they’re in a strong place. He was saying?he thought labels could be doing so much more for the artists they sign. [Polydor co-president] Ben Mortimer was there and he said he walked away thinking, ‘We could and should be doing more’.? Off the back of that, this year we have him on?the panel about mental health, the mental health conversation has just exploded in the last year. I want to find out what can be put in place for artists and the people who are looking after them to make sure that everyone is thriving. How can they make? it a compulsory part of signing an artist? There are?a lot of these industry events, I want to walk away with things that we can put in place that could work so that the next year if we do this, we can review them and find out how we can get even better.”