It’s a topic that’s very widely spoken about ‘the future of music’. What with the downfall of physical sales and the onslaught of digital downloads there is a big question looming over our heads ‘how are bands suppose to survive?’. It seems live music through gigs/venues and festivals is the main source of income that all musicians wish for and can survive from.
It has come to my attention that there are lots of clever individuals putting together their own platforms for musicians and a lot of these independent driving forces are really starting to make a name for themselves (This Feeling being a prime example). These driving forces deserve the recognition for their love and passion for keeping the industry thriving and for helping and supporting bands or solo artists on their way. Let me introduce you to Ray Jones the leading creator of Talentbanq.
Yes believe it or not we can be early birds at Rizer! Ouch! Yes 9am we popped over to Kings Cross to interview Ray at the Vinyl Cafe over a strong cuppa. Most importantly we wanted to find out more about him, his music venture and what he has up his sleeve for the very near future!
Ray is very down to earth and what you see is what you get. Relaxed, enthusiastic and extremely focused, He’s out on a weekly basis checking out bands and unknown talent. He lives and breathes music. Ray’s previous background was working with Time Out for five years as a business development director. It was in this position that two of his responsibilities for The London-based Time Out was starting and organising a loyalty programme for members and a series called ‘Rising Stars’ where Time Out readers were given the opportunity to check out really hot and unknown bands. It’s during this time he accidentally fell into the music business.
Ray reminiscences on growing up with rock and punk and seeing bands like UFO at the Hammersmith Odeon or popping into The Hope and Anchor to watch The Clash, The Ramones and The Sex Pistols. This is where he says he fell in love with live music particularly in the Rock area.
Rays background has been quite unusual and he quickly tells me he needs to fill in a gap! He’s spent a lot of time promoting London as a destination but mostly in the tourism sector. One of the big businesses he worked with involved him being on the board of a large touring company. They would bring people to London and secure their tickets for a cultural package deal which included top entertainment. This role for Ray built a commercial relationship with The 02 Arena and this is where he started bringing groups from both the UK and abroad with a package deal that included various shows at the 02 (most of which were prodiminately music based). At that time he would host the events and this is where he started to get absorbed by watching the shows and seeing it from the audiences perspective.
Ray has always had a hankering for small dirty basements in Soho a far cry from The plushness of The 02. He wasn’t into the glitzy events he wanted more spit and sawdust! The intimacy of small venue gives you a much better feel and atmosphere he tells me. So from big stadiums and large stages to smaller venues featuring unknown artists, this is where he found himself seeing it from the musicians perspective and how hard it is to get recognised in this major city. Ray firmly adds “It can be really unforgiving and quite frankly abusive especially when there are tons of sharks swimming around”. So along with two other friends they have produced a model that focuses on helping the artists and accelerating their careers to make a name for themselves.
Talentbanq have three commercial strands to their business. Firstly they are acting/representing as a live agent for 50 artists that have been hand picked. They along with the accreditation go out and promote each artist for the right venues/festivals and suitable audiences and the guarantee the artist gets paid. The second string to their business is they provide event management for people who want music but don’t quite know how to go about it they will event manage the whole process. They will provide the whole package including sound and lights! The third thing is in a few cases they will manage artists and look after their whole commercial wellbeing. They are currently in negotiations to manage three artists that are currently on their roster.
The TalentBanq launch at the 229 Club was a huge success with a diverse and extremely talented lineup. The night began with an intimate VIP Reception featuring: GeNIA, Natale Shay, Hollie Rogers and Joe Slater.
We were then ushered to the big stage in the Main Room where we were treated to CONCEPT, ANAVAE, Joe Slater and the closing and sensational band Coffeepot Drive.
Overall a splendid night with yours truly Ray Jones as a very entertaining and excited MC.
It will be very interesting to see what impact Talentbanq have on the industry and I can only wish them from us at Rizer every success.
Words Celine Hispiche
Photos Jeff Moh