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40 Under 40

Business advice from the front lines of the music industry

40 Under 40

Trying more than one thing at a time and the art of the pre-emptive hire, Craig Lock offers other entrepreneurs some sound advice.

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Risking bankruptcy and escaping closure, Lock, 37, is no stranger to going all-in.

The risks were worth it though with Lock and long-term business partner Ross Osomon’s businesses Five Four Entertainment and Plus One Co. growing to manage and co-own some of South Australia’s favourite music and entertainment venues and festivals, such as Lion Arts Factory, Spin Off Festival and the Hindley St Music Hall with its Divide nightclub.

Lock faced the potential closure of his venues and festivals as COVID raged and kept everyone at home. However, their petition signed by 12,000 people saw the music industry in South Australia awarded a $3 million lifeline.

This and his many other efforts to keep the music alive across the country and the world during COVID have earned him the Game Changer Award from Adelaide Business School, which goes to the 40 Under 40 winner who has re-written the rules of business to challenge, inspire and spark significant change.

Lock and his partners have grown a business from two people putting on local pub gigs in 2010, to become the largest and most diverse group of music businesses in South Australia.

“Our businesses sell collectively over 250,000 tickets, we have genuine national and international recognition and have heavily shaped the SA music industry landscape over the past 13 years,” Lock said.

Acknowledging how difficult it is to break into the Australian music industry, Craig offers advice to industry members and artists from his experience as an entrepreneur.

Lock said partnerships in all his endeavours, willingness to try many things and determination have been key to his success.

“Belief that what we were doing would work out for us one way or another was key,” he said.

“I’m extremely grateful to have found a team of partners who fill in for my own weaknesses and help make so much of what I’ve been involved in happen.”

Lock said the best piece of business advice he has been given came from someone much more experienced than him in the music industry in the United Kingdom.

“He asked how many staff we had. I said ‘zero’ and he couldn’t believe it, he told me I needed to hire someone to help us immediately even though we couldn’t afford it otherwise our business would collapse under the weight of work,” Lock said.

“His advice was basically the person you hire will come in and take on a bunch of work freeing you up to make more money somehow and thus be able to afford their salary.

“I came back to Australia and immediately hired someone and it worked out. It’s pretty simple advice but making that leap is daunting when it feels like everything is on the line and doing so could ruin you.

“The pre-emptive hire is something that’s served me well ever since.”

Lock said they will use the rest of the year to consolidate what they have already built in South Australia to ensure it all continues to succeed.

“Beyond that our club night business continues to grow rapidly and we are looking to expand our footprint in the UK and launch our nights in the USA and few other countries this year as well,” he said.

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