Women in Music: An interview with Anastasia Connor, PR Manager and former journalist
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** The National Student's 'Women in Music' content series makes space for the incredible, important women that work behind the scenes in some of the toughest and most rewarding roles in the industry. To celebrate International Women's Day, we're hearing their stories. **
---We speak to former journalist and prominent PR manager, Anastasia Connor, who reflects on the current state of the music press and discusses how the industry is adapting in response to technology.
Image courtesy of Anastasia Connor
We discuss why Connor decided to make the change from journalism to PR. She’s very upfront about her reasoning – simply writing about music is no longer lucrative, “Only a few dozen actually make a living out of it when it comes to music journalism […] I occasionally write press releases, but I usually use copywriters nowadays.”These days Connor promotes festivals, particularly on the continent, “I work for Eurosonic […] it’s kind of like a European South by Southwest.” A festival, which takes place in January in Groningen in The Netherlands, has the same showcase ethos as events such as The Great Escape, but much, much bigger. Connor is reticent to talk about specific bands she works with, but she does mention that she is quite discerning when it comes to which artists she collaborates with, “I do pick people because I like them […] I see something special in what they do”. Specificity is important; with Eursosonic “the idea is very particular. It’s almost like a micro event, with a very strong USP”. So, what does make a good music festival in the current climate? Connor answers, “It’s all about creating a small community. That’s what festivals should be about. I work with smaller bands. I'm not necessarily working with the most commercially big acts/events. They’re very well known within their niche and are very often in the press. It’s those kinds of events that the journalists love […] they [the artists] keep a very high proportion of the ticket sales. Ticket prices are kept down. There is kind of an ideological aspect behind it”. Connor hasn’t always been in PR, before making her move to promotion she made headway as a music journalist. And before that, she had a career as an academic, where she was working towards a PhD in philosophy. There's definitely a connection between her university studies and her later journalism: “Do yourself a favour and get a degree in English or philosophy. I value that […] Although I think you also get kind of different reactions. Such as, why not music studies? Don’t do something with a too narrow a focus. Music is very, very practical. There are lots of ways to get involved, as long as you’re not expecting to get paid”.
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