For our latest Homegrown Business feature we spoke with Darryl Hurs, the founder of Indie Week. The music industry was hit hard with all of the changes happening in the world today due to COVID-19. With Indie Week being a showcase of live acts to music industry professionals, the company has had to pivot and make changes in a rapidly changing landscape.
What is your business called and what does it do?
Indie Week produces online music/tech conferences, mentorship workshops, and a FREE weekly online session talking about the current affairs of the music industry.
What made you want to do this work?
I’ve been involved with music all of my life and have always been interested in the business side. Over the years the motivation has also been to help emerging artists to understand aspects of the music industry and help out in the development of their careers.
What problem does this solve?
During COVID we have created a really special online community of artists and businesses that has become a great support network for everyone involved. Overall, regardless of a pandemic or not, we have been able to connect people which has turned into new business partnerships, relationships that have produced some amazing results.
Who are your clientele/demographics?
Anyone in the music industry that is interested in moving their career forward. For emerging artists and people new to the industry, it’s about education, and for those that have been in the industry, it’s about networking, making connections, and learning about the new trends. Our Audience is international and ranges from ages 18 – 45 mostly.
How does your business make money? How does it work?
A combination of sponsorships, grants, and ticket sales. In Canada, we are very lucky to have a decent support system through government funding.
Specifically, we are very fortunate to have some amazing sponsors and partners.
Where in Toronto can we find your profession?
Well, now that the music industry is on hold we are all online!
Look for conferences and live streaming events – support local!
What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.
Doesn’t really apply
What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?
The best part is travelling to conferences and festivals around the world seeing some amazing talent – as well as meeting people from so many different cultures and backgrounds. I also have to add seeing a young artist develop and see them reach their goals is very rewarding.
The worst part – no matter what you plan and how far ahead you plan, there are always going to be outside elements that force you to think on the spot and adapt. So far my list of surprises while running an event includes a volcano in Iceland, a bomb scare in Belfast, the queen showing up in Dublin and security shutting down access to most of the main streets, lightning striking my bank not allowing me to get the floats for 20+ venues, a near hurricane-like storm, the Blue Jays making the playoffs (all bars wanted the TV’s on instead of the bands) and now I can say a global pandemic.
What is your favourite joke about your own profession?
During COVID and with everything changing all the time, the saying is “we are building the ship as we set sail”!!
PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Toronto business that you love?
The Unison Benevolent Fund – they help anyone in the music industry when needed from financial help to counselling. Especially during COVID, they have helped so many in the industry and they do great work.