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May 11, 2021

Against the Grain is offering free publicity sessions to musicians and arts professionals

If you can't tell a press release from pressed juice, local publicity guru Leigh McGrane – who’s handled clients from WOMADelaide to Carclew – wants to teach you how to properly market your creative project.

  • Words: Angela Skujins
  • Pictures: Supplied


If there was one good thing to come out of the pandemic, it was South Australia’s Music Development Office mainlining large mountains of money into the creative sector as it reeled from the impacts of the coronavirus.


ATG Sessions:
Eight free sessions on music publicity.

Applications are open now until May 14. Head here to apply.

According to this nifty Australian Bureau of Statistics infographic, arts was one of the top three industries hardest hit by COVID-19, with 48 per cent of arts and recreation services likely to find it difficult to meet financial commitments at around August last year.

State governments around Australia all responded differently to their local crises, but our MDO swiftly recognised it needed to support musicians, performance spaces and nightclubs, and so turned its music grant program up to 11.

Even as some musicians became critical of the grant-only approach (Motez told CityMag in December what the creative sector needed desperately was a roadmap to reopening the city’s performance spaces) the MDO continued to allocate money.

The money that was distributed went to artists to directly support their creative projects, as well as to community organisations, venues and publicity agencies.

Some of the benefits of these grants are still emerging.

Leigh McGrane’s publicity company, Against the Grain, was given $10,000 to launch ATG Sessions, which offers eight free sessions for eight mid-level career musicians, bands or arts professionals, wanting to better understand the world of marketing.

“Over the years I have found that many artists don’t have a solid understanding of how a publicist works, what they do and how to work with one,” Leigh says.

“I want to be help upskill artist so they understand how publicity works, how they work it themselves on smaller campaign and know exactly what to expect when engaging a publicist.”

Sessions will cover how to write a media release, how to design a PR campaign, how to work on biographical materials, and how to organise a photoshoot or pull together a social media plan. The final lesson will be about executing your campaign.

Leigh has created this program because he wants to play his part in helping the industry get back on its feet after COVID-19.

The one way he knows how to do that, he says, is by offering publicity services.

While Against the Grain’s traditional service offers publicity know-how within a specific timeframe and with specific goals, he hopes this initiative will enable a handful of the next generation of Adelaide artists to navigate the industry without him.

“Publicity is key to artists’ development as it enables them to engage and appeal to their existing markets, explore new audiences and grow their databases,” Leigh says.

“Especially now when live show opportunities are limited, publicity is one way in which artists have the opportunity to get in front of eyes and in the ears of potential new fans.”

Applications are open now until 14 May. To apply, visit the ATG website.

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