[Interview] Chatting All Things Creative With Music Launch Summit Mastermind, Steve Palfreyman

Australian music industry professional and all around creator of awesomeness, Steve Palfreyman, is on the verge of something incredible. This year, he launched the Music Launch Hub – a place where independent musicians and music professionals work together to build their careers on their own terms. From September 13-October 4, music industry professionals will be taking part in the Music Launch Summit – the world’s first online conference featuring 40+ industry speakers. The best part is that it’s free! Attendees that want a little more can sign up for a VIP Pass that includes lifetime access to the classes, a 4-week implementation program after the summit and some other surprise bonuses.

Guests of the Summit will be delving into the topics of building press around an album, getting indie radio play, songwriting tips, building relationships and more. You’re not alone in your journey and the summit can help you get to where you want to be. Sign up here!

We got to chat with Palfreyman on what inspired such an ambitious feat, his ultimate goals for the Summit and what he’d change about the music industry once and for all.

Hey Steve! Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy day to chat with us! Can you give us a brief introduction for those unfamiliar with you or your work?

I’m pumped! LOVE what you’re doing here! I’m a musician from Melbourne, Australia who kind of stumbled into the world of marketing. I actually don’t like the idea of marketing, but I find people fascinating. Initially I thought I’d have to force myself to learn about the business side of the industry and before I knew it I was enthralled. It’s just as creative as the music and I guess when I realized I could help other artists I wanted to branch out to doing that. I’ve tried my hand at lots of things but launch strategy has always been my big passion.

The whole concept of the Music Launch Hub just amazes me every day and I’m pretty much in awe of what you have accomplished, and are about to accomplish! What initially inspired the idea of the Music Launch Hub and was creating a conference as massive as this on your agenda from day one?

Funnily enough it was! It’s funny how ideas spark. The idea got planted by a good friend and one of the speakers here, Yann Ilunga. But I didn’t want to just create another ‘thing’ that people don’t need. I wanted the Summit to be all about launching music, the part where I see people fall flat all the time. But knew that wouldn’t be enough. It got me thinking about what would be missing and that was a support system. A way for something bigger than just me to be there through the good times and the rough. That’s where the Hub idea came about and I figured starting off where people were already hanging out would make the mot sense.

I have in the past worked on different festivals in other capacities and never really saw myself running something like that, so while this was all very thought out it was also kind of accident at the same time. Not unlike writing a song 😉

What excites you about the music industry? What would you change?

There’s just so much division! If I could, I’d be casting an optimism spell on the industry. I really hate the doom and gloom mentality and the ‘me first, you second’ ethos that seeps through the industry’s veins. The people that are winning are looking for opportunity, for friendship, for other open people. The people who’ll always struggle sadly feel like they’re competing. We can all be a little more open to sharing ideas, tips, struggles and lessons. That’s one thing I want in the Hub – to see their ‘failures’ as good things, their struggles as learning opportunities, and all of these can be better fought by opening up and working together. This whole ethos is deeply rooted in marketing theory though – I want this not just because it’s a nicer way to exist, but because we’ll actually have a much easier time getting people to support our music careers at the same time.

There’s definitely a ton of conflicting advice all over the internet about the music industry and launching a music career that it’s starting to become a bit saturated and hopeless. What drew me in towards you was the fact that you genuinely want to help people succeed (the conference is free, after all) and unfortunately, we don’t always find people like that in this industry. Was there a time early on in your career where you felt like you were fighting a losing battle? If so, how has that shaped who you are today and how you go about business?

That’s a beautiful question! I’ve actually never felt like that for more than maybe a day – we all have our ups & downs! But I just never really saw a losing battle. I think I can attribute this to my parents who always told me I could succeed at whatever I wanted to do, and to chase the passion over anything else. I dropped math & science subjects as early as I could to pursue music & English and they supported that. They supported my decision to move to Melbourne with my band when I was 20. I think for me, waiting was never an option and it kills me when I see other people waiting for that right time. There is no such thing as the right time, there’s only right now. To make something stick we have to go, move forward, no matter how small that move is. When I see people stalling, my heart breaks a little; I recognize it so fast because I’ve been a chronic procrastinator in the past.

All this to say, us humans over-complicate things. There’s nobody out there saying, “you launch how you want to launch, the only thing you can’t do is NOT launch.” That’s why it’s confusing and why the Summit grew so fast. The more I talked to people the more my theory that there will never be one way to launch seemed to be proven correct. There are similarities in advice, but the sheer breadth of people’s journeys was most inspiring. If we fail to launch we’ve already failed…but if we wait to find that golden pathway we’ll be waiting forever. My hope is that people see standing still as a non-option and move forward even with just one idea they love. That’s where it’s at!

Give us a brief rundown of what people can expect from the Music Launch Summit. Any special speakers you’re excited about?

Gosh I’ve had such a ball speaking with everyone, and I genuinely think there’s something here for everyone. Something I haven’t mentioned yet is I plan on doing a Q&A where people tell me what they want to learn and I’ll handpick the sessions they need to attend. I’ve often gone to physical conferences and walked out after not getting what I expected. I want that to be a thing of the past with this. So maybe this is a nice invite to your readers, if they want to know what to check out they can hop inside the Facebook group and tell me what they want to learn.

I am most excited that there is breadth to speakers that most won’t expect. There are some huge names that will be announced soon but also people you’ve never heard of and I think that’s really special. The music industry is vast and we all have an important part to play regardless of what stage we’re at. It’s not an uphill climb, there is no mountain to climb, we just need to keep moving forward, not up. I’m most excited that these speakers have jumped on board without hesitation. Many didn’t know who I was before I shoved an email into their inbox, but that didn’t hold them back. That is an amazing thing to know people will back you when all you have is an idea. These folks will back your music too, it’s no different. That is massive.

What would you say makes the Music Launch Summit different from any other music industry conference?

I’ve asked questions I’ve always wanted to ask as an artist. They’re not questions from someone in the industry who knows everything and just wants to chin-wag about a mass scale marketing campaign that worked for a big name act. They’re questions from the trenches. They’ll be relevant to people who’ve been working away for years and also folks just getting started. I’ve tried my best to leave no stone unturned. That and you don’t have to spend a stack of cash & wait 6 months! It runs for a little over two weeks so there’s time to soak up all the information and for VIP pass holders it’ll be there anytime they want it – 24/7/365. Oh, and the community is like having your own personal meetup group any day of the week! That’s pretty cool. I love everyone in this group so so much!

What would you say is the most crucial aspect of launching anything creatively?

Embrace failure, lose your perfectionism & open up to the world. We learn far more by doing than hiding, and the inherent perfectionist streak creative people have is a huge burden. The more we’re open to trying new things and realize it’s a big playground of creativity the better (and more fun) everything becomes.

What can we expect next from the Music Launch Hub in the future?

Goodness I wish I could share my vision here but I’d be here for days. And honestly I’ve had to hold back on this vision just to get started. There’ll be a growing community where everyone is getting more wins, that’s all that matters. I’ll be doing a lot more to facilitate this. Right now let’s start with the Summit and see where the conversation takes us. Every day is a new day of ideas after all 😉

music launch summit


Tina Roumeliotis

Tina Roumeliotis

Tina is the founding editor of The Daily Listening. She's also a professional music nerd for BUZZNET. You'll most likely find her where she finds most of her inspiration: introverting in her bedroom with her music collection and a pair of headphones.