At Music Gateway, we love shining light on people/companies who are doing their part in making the industry a great place. We recently caught up with Elroy 'Spoonface' Powell founder and director of “Diverse Music Solutions”. Diverse Music Solutions is simply a social enterprise launched by musicians specifically to help unsigned and emerging artists with long term music related advice, ideas and answers.
We first met Powell at the Tileyard Music networking event in London back in July and we were hooked on his story. See how this inspirational company continues to create opportunities for all those come their way and tips on creating a track that is publishing ready.
#1 Tell us a bit about yourself, your company and your background.
I started as a musician and had a number one record as the voice of Black Legend’s hit ‘You See The Trouble With Me’. I’m still singing and producing music but focus on voiceovers and acting, you can find out more about the acting here and my voice over work here.
I also run Forever Diverse Music Solutions C.I.C. A social enterprise set up with seed money from Investec via the Beyond Business Programme. We assist independent musicians with sourcing publishing opportunities. Profits help us run community focused projects e.g the one seen below.
This year we landed a music licensing deal with Mercedes-Benz and this helped us fund breakfast in a school for a year via child nutrition charity, Magic Breakfast.
#2 What is your overall aim/vision for what you do and why is it important?
As a musician myself I know what it’s like to struggle through the hard times trying to stay afloat. It’s important for us to be realistic about our experiences, discuss solutions and share ideas for generating revenue. The glitz of the industry can often overshadow the harsh realities, it’s important for us to demystify, encourage people through the burnout and build a sense of community. In our opinion it's essential for building a long term career mindset and sustainability.
#3 You must come across a lot of submissions day in and day out and I know reviewing songs is a big part of what you offer to people. What advice would you give to singers/songwriters/producers in creating a track that is ready for publishing opportunities?
Work out what your purpose is before you even put pen to paper or record a note. Are you writing as an artist or for an artist? Are you making library music? Are you doing it for fun, fame or therapy? Do you want to make money?
The steps forward depend on the answers to these questions. Either way, always mix and master to a professional standard. Keep an ear to the ground with regards to current trends and ensure you have a solid presence online via the main social media platforms.
#4 In your opinion, what must people avoid doing when pitching their music for publishing opportunities?
With regards to answering briefs, avoid submitting music that you simply like and has nothing to do with the brief. Sometimes briefs can be hard to decipher, but if you get asked for rock, don't send house or hip hop.
#5 Where do you feel in the industry is headed? Is sync really the future?
Advancements in technology will always have a great impact on where the music industry is headed. From tape cassettes to Cd’s, to iTunes and major physical music chains closing and the growing popularity of streaming, sync has always seemed the most reliable way to earn from music. Copyright and Intellectual property, if you haven't already, get to grips with these areas as soon as possible.
#6 What advice would you give to other artists/musicians looking to utilise their music career without losing passion/focus?
Create healthy habits outside of music. Work out, eat properly, develop new skills, spin as many plates as you can that compliment each other, but don't burn out. Make time to rest and holiday. Recharging is a must!
#7 Your company is very morally focused which is great, why do you think it’s important for the Music Industry to give back to local communities?
It’s important in order to build a sustainable economy between fans and artists but also in order to add value to the music itself. Why should anyone buy an album or a gig ticket over feeding their kids or paying their bills? If you know for a fact that as well as having a great time you're helping your community, it's a win win situation even for those with a disposable income.
#8 What advice would you give to our Music Gateway members in order to staying pro-active in the music industry?
Learn as much as you can about the business as well as being creative. Join trade organisations to help with networking and agencies like PRS, PPL, MCPS are a must.
#9 Are there any exciting news coming up about “DMS” that’ll you like us to know about?
We have just supplied the music for our own in-house web series ‘Forbidden Truth’ - You can check that out here. This is a three part drama that combines to form a 15 minute short currently doing the rounds at festivals.
If you'd like to get involved in new opportunities or connect with companies similar to DMS ,sign up to Music Gateway today!