Industry Insiders Music Panel….and PINK! A Powerful Evening of Music and Inspiration
Written by Lori Landry, WISE Toronto Board member and CMO of Sun Life Global Investments
What a night! Our WISE Toronto members were treated to an incredible evening on Aug. 18th at Scotiabank Arena where we not only got to listen to some of Canada’s most successful female executives in the music industry in a panel discussion but experienced the power that is Pink at her concert that followed.
Hosted by Tara Slone, the Juno-nominated musician and award-winning television host of Hometown Hockey, the participants of our Industry Insiders Music Panel shared with us everything from how they rose the ranks in the very challenging music industry, to the war stories that taught them resilience and determination. Our panel included:
- Patti-Anne Tarlton, Chairman Ticketmaster Canada and EVP of Venues & Promoters for North America (and a founding board member of WISE Toronto)
- Melissa Bubb-Clarke, VP of Music & Live Events at MLSE
- Ashley Poitevin, Artist manager from eOne Management (including the Arkells and Lights)
- Joelle Bertrand, Director of A&R at Universal Music Canada
This panel of incredible women opened up to our WISE members during the discussion, sharing with us the ups and downs of their careers and how they navigated the tumultuous waters of the music industry and its ever-changing landscape.
Melissa talked about her humble beginnings and passion for music at an early age, writing her university thesis on the Tragically Hip and then landing a job in the music industry answering the phones and carting records around in her trunk to promote the firm’s artists by visiting radio stations across the province to get them to play the records. “It’s a relationship business, at its heart. I put in a ton of hours and kept smiling. Fast forward to today, and now as music execs, we are tackling how to stay relevant to fans outside the concert building. Sports has done it, but not music,” said Melissa Bubb-Clarke.
Joelle shared with us her views on the complexities of the music business and how it’s become a very complex landscape with respect to artist management in that some artists have become huge brands unto themselves. “It’s now not just the music but also merchandise, fragrance, touring. And the record label, in essence, helps the artist put themselves in the world,” said Joelle Bertrand. She also reinforced the view that relationships are everything in the music business. “All of my jobs were due to people I met in a room, from networking and putting myself out there.”
From Patti-Anne’s perspective, she gave some excellent advice having grown up in the business. “Find that thing you are really good at and make it known. And that could be managing the band, paying the band, managing the calendar or answering the phones. Each piece of the equation is incredibly important,” said Patti-Anne Tarlton. She also shared some very meaningful perspectives on advice she’d give to her younger self. “Hone the ability to recover from a setback. It’s a muscle that takes time to build, but it’s one that you’ll flex over and over in this business.”
Ashley’s career path started at Ryerson’s Radio and Television Arts, and as she put it, “I marketed my way into the jobs I landed”. She worked shows, did media outreach and marketing and worked her way up over many years of hard work. And it certainly paid off. Now as the manager of the Arkells and Lights she understands what it takes to help artists find their best and most natural qualities, and play them up. “Some are very internet savvy, others are amazing touring bands,” said Ashley Poitevin. “And now we need corporations to invest in the fan experience. That’s critical.” As for her advice to her younger self, “Get credit for work that you did. It’s not arrogant, it’s necessary. And don’t get discouraged. Pick up and keep going!”
And of course, the incomparable Pink closed out our wonderful WISE evening with a spectacular show filled with incredible music, dancing and the embodiment of female empowerment. Huge thanks go to our evening sponsors Live Nation, MLSE, and Ticketmaster!
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