ARE YOU EXPORT READY?
A 5 Point Check-list
You must be able to demonstrate a genuine demand for your music in an international market.
You and your team must be able to write a meaningful business plan and budget.
As overseas trips are expensive you need to make sure you are going at the best time to maximize the opportunity.
You need a good team in place to support you and help deliver your overseas plans.
Knowing and understanding the funding landscape is important particularly for genres outside the mainstream.
You must be able to demonstrate a genuine demand for your music in an international market. This could be through an invite to perform from a recognized event, significant industry or media interest or substantial online metrics that indicate there is a big audience out there hungry to engage with your music. Although having strong domestic music industry recognition helps to back up your case it is not always essential.
You and your team must be able to write a meaningful business plan and create a budget covering basic income and expenditure. This is important for two reasons
It helps you prepare and plan your activity
It tells funders you are taking the process seriously and have thought it through
Don’t be scared of your business plan – it is simply the ‘what, why, how and who with’ of your project. Being able to create and fine-tune a business plan for your overseas activity is an essential part of being ‘export ready’ and your budget is your business plan on a spreadsheet.
As overseas trips are expensive you need to make sure you are going at the best time to maximize the opportunity. If you are planning an international release then check with your local label/PR when the best time to promote it would be. If you are invited to a showcase carefully consider whether this is the best time to go as you may only get one shot and you don’t want to blow it through bad timing. In short - make sure you have something ready to do sell, market, license or promote.
Have a good team in place to support you and help deliver your overseas plans. Being in a foreign country can be overwhelming and as a performer you need to be able to deliver at your best so you need good and trusted people around you. The more contacts and networks you have the easier it will be to do deals, resolve logistical problems and find your audience. Think about hiring local professionals who know their scene inside out and know the opportunities. Consider all this when writing your budget.
Knowing and understanding the funding landscape is important particularly for genres outside the mainstream. Funders recognize that working internationally is a big step and a number of schemes are available to support showcasing and touring overseas. Although there is some admin/form-filling required there is plenty of help available and you will already have prepared a strong business plan which will become the backbone of your application. It is rare for an international project to get 100% funding so you may have to find more than one funding source or be prepared to put some of your own money in the pot.