Tips For Starting Out In The Music Industry: Q&A With Byron Georgouras

A soul-destroying stint in the corporate world led Byron Georgouras to take stock and combine his business skills with his passion for the music industry. This led to a start-up artist management company, managing a recording studio and a bout in music journalism. We picked Byron’s brain to get some insight into music industry myths, career tips and we discovered an unlikely, very 90s music vice.

Did you fall into the music industry, or was it an industry you were always determined to work in?

Although I didn’t realise it, it was an industry that I was always destined to work in. Leaving high school I went on to study a Commerce degree, however at the same time I was promoting club nights, DJ’ing parties and playing in bands. It wasn’t until years later after a successful but soul-destroying stint working for corporate giants like Coca-Cola that I made the connection between my interest in business and my passion for music and live events. I started up an artist management company called Ratbag Music and went on to sign up my first band ‘Made In Japan’.

What is one myth about working in the ‘business’ side of the music industry?

That there is no money to be made. A lot of people carry this idea that because people aren’t buying CDs anymore, that there are no careers and no income to be earned in the music industry. But the reality is that the Australian music industry is going from strength to strength, driven by young enthusiastic individuals who are totally digitally focused. Major label record companies will always complain about piracy and that people aren’t buying physical records anymore, however it is kind of like Harvey Norman complaining about losing money to online retail stores. It is an industry that has always been driven by technology since its inception, so the people that are successful in the industry embrace new technology to derive revenue from the intellectual property, performance and branding value of their artists.

Road trip! Except your radio is broken and you only have one CD in your car – what do you hope that lonesome CD is and why?

Hit Machine Volume 10 – Faith No More, Alex Party and that Scatman song … All killer, no filler.

What’s the best bit of advice you can give to someone wanting to pave a career in the music industry?

Firstly, get a good, well-rounded and up-to-date business education. I still manage to draw from stuff I learnt at uni regarding reading legal contracts, balancing the books or coming up with new ideas to approach opportunities. Secondly, always act professionally. It is an industry that constantly blurs the lines around social and work, so always being able to define the two is incredibly important. Finally, learn how to take risks as early in your career as you can. Start throwing yourself off the deep-end and learning how to react to situations. Oh yeah, one more thing … don’t be a pest when you start out! Be a pro, ask for advice when appropriate and always bring something to the table if you need a favour.

If you’ve got tickets to Face The Music, you can book in an appointment to chat with Byron at the ‘Meet The Industry’ session on Saturday.