Artists, dancers, authors, entrepreneurs and the people behind some of the brands we work with inspire us every day. Each month, Colour Spotlight puts one of our clients in the hot seat, asking them three questions that dig deeper into their careers, latest ventures and future plans.
To coincide with today’s celebrations of World Music Day (21 June 2019), we talk to Sune Hjerrild, an ex-opera singer and founder/CEO of Truelinked, a Danish technology start-up, who tells us how he is creating a world-first for the opera industry.
1. Sune, tell us what’s new about Truelinked?
Sune: The opera world is currently underserved by technology in comparison with other industries. It’s governed by personal connections and the success of a person’s career is heavily reliant on the validation of other people. We want to use new technology to allow professionals in the opera industry to take charge of their own fate. Instead of small talent pools of say, one hundred people, employers will now be able to select from thousands and find employees in a more democratic and meritocratic way.
2. How will Truelinked bring new benefits to artists and employers in the opera world?
Sune: Truelinked really puts artists in charge of their own career in a new way. It allows for more democratic job-hunting and access to a huge number of new opportunities across the world. Employers can search by specific filters, for example to find artists who match their exact skills or requirements. If an employer is seeking a singer fluent in a particular language, for example, or with quite niche experience, they will be able to filter and find matches. For artists themselves it will really transform the job opportunities on offer and give them a new autonomy over their own career path. Currently only around 10% of artists are lucky enough to have successful relationship with an agent or employer. Truelinked will open up opportunities for the other 90%. A more open and democratic way to network will mean that the best and most suitable candidates get jobs – currently too much is based on luck, accident and who an artist happens to know.
3. Has it become harder in recent years for young people to have a successful career in opera?
Sune: I would say it’s certainly harder than 20 years ago. There is now no such thing as a ‘local star’ – cheaper flights mean there is wider competition but it’s still very dependent on who an artist happens to know personally and if they have the ‘right contacts’. I think if we don’t do something about the market place young people will struggle even more to make a living and I’m not sure the industry could even continue to appeal to young talent. Careers in opera can be brutally short lived – the average career span for a soloist is six years. Compared with the years of training and studying this is not viable for many young people. We believe that Truelinked will be a lifeline to young artists and give them a more meritocratic platform for their talent and passion and to give them the chances they deserve.