When I arrived to interview author and lawyer Andrew Watt, he was on the phone interviewing Gary Numan. Does the name ring a bell? Yes, THE Gary Numan – the iconic British singer credited with being the pioneer of electronic music in the late 70s and early 80s with hits such as ‘Are Friends Electric’ and ‘Cars’.
You see, Watt is the wearer of many hats. A full-time lawyer at Gibsons Solicitors, he’s also a man engaged in a long-time love affair with the music industry. This led him to write about music for the Monash University student newspaper when studying law and it’s a passion that’s never let up. Which is probably why he’s also a teacher of music business education at JMC Academy in South Melbourne. And he STILL writes articles about music and bands.
You’d think that would be enough on anyone’s plate, but no, Watt decided he needed another project two years ago when he began teaching students at the Academy.
‘I felt that there was a real gap in the market in that there was a lot of theoretical material available about copyright and contract law, all of which are important, but there was a disconnect between the theoretical learning and the day-to-day practice in the industry,’ he said.
And that’s how the idea for his new book was born. Called Welcome to the Jungle, it’s a hefty tome that is fast-becoming recognised as THE go-to-book for anyone who needs to know anything and everything about being a part of the precarious music industry.
‘I thought this was an opportunity to talk to people who are at the coalface of the industry about what they do and how they do it and how the industry is evolving. Because it is a very fast-moving industry as we’re all very well aware,’ he said.
Just flipping through the pages of the book gives you some idea of the types of music heavyweights Watt has included in his pet project. Names like Michael Gudinski, Michael Chugg, John Watson and Michael Coppell, to name a few, have all shared their experiences to help others navigate a career path in the industry.
All up, Watt completed more than NINETY interviews!!
While most of his students have a passion for music, Watt says most aren’t sure what role they’ll play when it comes to careers. ‘That’s a good thing,’ he said. ‘Because there are a lot of accidental careers. If they go into it thinking the only thing they want to be is a manager, or work at a record company, they might be missing the niche that suits them best. Very few people leave school and think, “I’m going to be a music supervisor.” They discover publishing, they discover that they have a flair for music in film or TV and they find themselves in that area.’
Keeping up-to-date with technology and social media is also a very important message in the book. ‘There’s a whole chapter on digital music marketing,’ he said. ‘There was no such thing ten years ago. Back then there might have been a department called New Media, but now you have individuals who specialise in social media for music marketing or viral marketing.’
‘New technologies are changing the way the industry works all the time,’ he said. ‘Although having said that, never lose sight of the fact that the essence of the music industry is connecting the creators of music with the consumers of music. It’s just the means and the methods by which people do that, that are changing. At the end of the day it’s still about musicians and their audiences.’
Of the successful working professionals Watt interview, he says an undying passion for the industry is a common element they all share.
‘There is a unique attitude and passion that comes with working in the music industry. Whether it’s the live or recorded industry. You can’t teach that passion. You either have it or you don’t. You have to help the students apply that passion and make the transition from being fans to contributing members of the industry.’
And that’s what this book is all about. Watt describes it as an anecdotal textbook. So if you’re thinking about getting into the music biz, this will be essential reading. Even those who don’t want to work in the industry will find the stories and interviews with the larger-than-life characters that dominate this world, an entertaining read.
Watt is also holding workshops about the industry across the country, so if you’d like to attend, here’s the details:
To celebrate the launch of Andrew Watt’s music business textbook, Welcome To The Jungle – Navigating the Music Business In Australia, Andrew is holding a series of Workshop events in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne running from 10am to 4pm.
BRISBANE: Saturday 28 June
JMC Academy, 75 Grey St, South Brisbane
SYDNEY – Saturday 5 July
JMC Academy, 561 Harris St, Ultimo
MELBOURNE – Saturday 12 July
JMC Academy, 171 Bank St, South Melbourne
The Workshop presents an overview of the Music Industry in Australia, targeted at students studying Music Business Courses, artists wanting to understand the industry and young industry aspirants wanting to get a foot in the door
$95 inc GST (each registrant receives a free print edition of
Welcome To The Jungle – Navigating the Music Business In Australia RRP: $55)
In addition please note that as part of the course fees, attendees will be given a workbook
and several other useful information documents
Workshop bookings can be made at
Or if you’d just like to purchase a copy of the book, here’s the link:
Welcome To The Jungle – Navigating the Music Business In Australia
is available for sale now at