Welcome to the next installment of BTM, a place where we get to shine a spotlight on some of the hard-working people “Behind The Music”; the artists managers, booking agents, publicists, indie label owners, music website editors and so on. 

This week’s instalment is centred on Rhiannon Cook who is a Publicist at Sydney-based publicity agency, Positive Feedback, and if you work anywhere in this industry, there’s no doubt you would have seen or heard her name pop up a few times. 

Tell us who you are, what you do, and who you represent? 
I’m Rhiannon Cook and I’m a Publicist at Positive Feedback in Sydney. I have worked here for five years and my roster includes the likes of Rex Orange County, SAFIA, The Jungle Giants, Allday, Confidence Man, The Kite String Tangle, Tora, and Feki, plus many more who are out of cycle at the moment!

I’ve also worked on a number of Australian festivals over the years including Secret Garden, The Drop, Mountain Sounds and Melbourne Music Week.

How did you get into this line of work?
It wasn’t a straight line for me to get into music. I started in film and TV before working for a small agency where I worked on celebrity brands and publishing. This agency is where I started with music clients which led me to go freelance so I could concentrate on the clients I really wanted to work with. One day I was intro’d to Mon (Monique Rothstein) and just loved the ethos of her business and the artists she was working with…the rest is history.

What are some of your biggest achievements?
I have worked with SAFIA for the past five years, and it’s been such a proud experience to watch them go from playing shows at Oxford Art Factory to selling out multiple shows at the Enmore, and also from playing mid-afternoon festival sets to smashing headline slots around the country. Then also having them be nominated for triple j J Awards and ARIA Awards and then achieve multiple songs in the triple j Hottest 100 year after year.

Knowing that you were part of their journey and that all the hard work from everyone on the team has had a real effect out in the world. A lot of our work is done inside in our own worlds so seeing it translate to audiences and fans is a very satisfying feeling.

Tell us one thing that you would love to see change or happen that you feel would help make the music industry a better place? 
I’d love to see more live music venues opening and people getting out and supporting local Australian bands. It’s been so sad to see the closure over the years of iconic venues such as the Annandale, Hopetoun, Newtown Social Club and the list goes on. We need people to get out there and support up and coming bands, some of my favourite bands are ones I wasn’t super aware of previously but then saw live and fell in love.

I’d also love to see commercial radio supporting more Australian acts!

What is your most favourite thing about the industry or what you do?
Some of my fave moments are definitely live music ones, and from them I’d pick Splendour in the Grass sets. There’s something magical about Splendour, seeing a packed-out audience, shouting the words to your artists songs at the top their lungs and having the time of their lives…most of the time I’m one of them as well. 

What is your least favourite thing about the industry or what you do?
I think my least favourite thing is that there is no real off-time. The industry can be 24/7 from gigs to festivals on the weekend (and out of town) and dealing with international teams. Sometimes I am envious of my friends who leave all their work when they leave the office…but then they are envious of me and all the live music I get to see…so it’s a grass is greener situation.

Where do you see the future of the industry heading?
Ooh this is a tricky one and I am sure many people would love to know the answer, me included. Streaming has really changed the game and I guess they will diversify the products and eventually we will have more competition for services, which depending on who you talk to will be a good thing or a bad one…similar to the film/tv streaming situation.

I also believe in terms of record deals, we’re heading towards more of an artist services and distribution model. Gone are the days of the traditional record label deal, I’ve noticed more and more artists are preferring to retain their own master and copyright, alongside creative control.

What do you do to unwind outside of the work?
I have two kids who keep it real for me, so hanging out with them and friends always brings me back down to earth. I love to be outdoors as well, I’m happiest at the beach but also anywhere in nature!

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