SMIA Members Spotlight: Halina Rifai (Lost Art Agency)

We are very excited to be presenting a new monthly Members Spotlight where we will be getting to know some of the faces behind Scotland’s music industry.

First up we spoke with Glasgow-based Halina Rifai of Lost Art Agency and Podcart who gave us an insight into her industry background:

  1. Tell us a bit about you and what you do…

My name is Halina Rifai and I work in digital marketing and music. I started off as a musician and studying music a long time ago, but decided that I wanted to study more behind the scenes. I subsequently started a music blog & podcast called Podcart back in 2009 and this progressed onto lots of different activities within music including working with a venue, assisting on a festival, putting on live gigs and shows and much more.

  2. How long have you been working in the music industry?

I have been working in the industry full time for around 5 years now. Prior to that I worked part-time for free for 5 years volunteering whilst working a full-time job in the fascinating world of telecommunications. 

3. What do you enjoy most about what you do?

I get a genuine buzz from seeing musicians do well and people feeling the same things I do when I love their music. It’s really important to be passionate about the music you cover, promote and represent. If there is no love there then others can feel it. 

  4. Who are some of the people you’ve worked with?

In terms of musicians, I have worked with The Van T’s, OK Button, Megan Airlie. This year, we have more joining our roster including someone from Canada who I am really excited about.

  5. Where do you see you/your organisation in the next five years?

I would love us to have a proper office space, to my partners and I to be working full time with Lost Art Agency. I would love to have a proper infrastructure in place whereby we can deliver workshops and practical advice about campaigns for people we might not be able to take on. Most of all, I really would love to see one of the musicians/bands we work with breakthrough to a level whereby they can make music a full-time career for themselves.  

  6. What’s coming up for Lost Art Agency?

I have hinted above at new roster additions. We have made the decision to work with people not only in Scotland but from further afield. This comes down to the music. We have heard a few releases of late that have really excited us and were delighted to be asked to work on them. It’s still early days for us, but I think we just wanted people to understand that we are about an all-encompassing campaign for our roster. It’s not like it was in terms of a traditional structure when it comes to the industry and we are proud that we are able to offer so many different services under one roof.

  7. What’s the best thing about working in music in Scotland?

There is a sense of community. It’s also a great place for musicians to really set up a platform for themselves to be noticed. The music hub of London is so saturated that by building up a reputation and profile somewhere like Scotland, it can be a quicker route to being noticed and offered opportunities.

8. What do you feel Scotland’s music industry needs to excel?

As a whole it’s quite difficult for me to pinpoint so I will speak on a personal level. One of the hardest things we found starting up as a music industry company was business assistance catered to our field. It all seemed quite generic and it was a steep learning curve, it would have been great to have a mentor in this field from the onset. Luckily, my partners Sharon and Yvonne have tremendous experience in certain fields so all combined we got there, but there were still some bumps. We could have set up a lot quicker if we had help a bit more dedicated to what we were doing.

I suppose another point is that Lost Art Agency works on a microcosmic level and we are aiming to build teams, campaigns and supply multiple services to those we work with. If there was more investment, research time and development for people to do things like this then goodness knows what could happen.

Find out more about Lost Arts Agency and their services

Photo by Euan Robertson

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