How to launch your own live music promotions company

ICMP students Maiya Smith and Marland Barsby tell us how they've launched their own Elevate Entertainment live music company...


ICMP students Maiya Smith and Marland Barsby came together earlier in the year to launch new promotion company Elevate Entertainment.

With a successful debut event at London's Water Rats venue in May, featuring a host of ICMP talent including FLOW and Lizzie Heads, more gigs and shows are planned later in the year once the next academic year kicks off. 

With plans to showcase some of the capital's top talent, we caught up with Music Business student Maiya to learn how they launched their fledgling business... 

What led to you setting up your own promotions company?

We loved the idea of being able to use our ideas and methods in an authentic way, true to who we are as people and artists. 

So to do this, we decided to set up our own promotions company. We thought it would enable us to abide by our own rules and work with as many of the artists we love as possible.

Where did you look to for inspiration with realising this vision? 

We took inspiration from big and small businesses, companies like Vision Music and SLON Media. We were also inspired by the sheer volume of talented musicians surrounding us at ICMP. We wanted to create an artist collective who will be able to collaborate with each other and further their own careers through our platform.

How have your studies helped you launch your own business? 

I (Maiya) am currently studying the Music Business course at ICMP.

The course has given me a great insider view into the many ins and outs of the music industry as well as filling me with the confidence and information I needed to start developing my own business from scratch."  

I'm hoping to continue developing the company during the next two years of study and realise the potential of this platform for ICMP artists. Also, being given the opportunity to meet and network with a variety of students in different courses has helped me branch out and connect with so much great talent I'm hoping to collaborate with. 

How important has the ICMP community been to you in launching the business?

It was ICMP's talented community that inspired us to create our own company in the first place. Having the opportunity to see our friend's bands performing their amazing solo gigs made us want to help them play well organised, rewarding shows at brilliant London venues.

We hope to initially use the ICMP community as our primary customer base, before expanding our operations model across the capital. 

How have you set up the business? How are you looking after the financial side of your venture?

We are currently in the process of working out exactly how our business operates and what kind of business it will be.

Our summer will be spent formatting a business plan which we will then look to build what will most likely be a private limited company. We used our own funds to finance the first gig in May. We are also using the contacts we've made this year, including students studying film, media, graphic design and editing.  

What's your take on live music in London? Is the capital's scene in good health?

Grassroots level live music has been declining in the capital for years. It is important to realise how small venues are closing at an alarming rate and many promoters are failing to pay their acts properly or provide support to develop artists.  

Our business model will be centered around providing a great service to both artists and consumers, putting on high quality gigs which reward acts and also appeal to our target audiences.

We hope that in this way we will be able to redefine the relationship between a promotions company and its artists, replacing the exploitative operations model that we feel some London live entertainment promoters are employing."

What's the plan for your business? Have you any other events lined up?

Our plan is to host a series of live music events. We want our business to stand out from the others and develop as a brand offering a unique service.

While no other events through Elevate Entertainment have been organised just yet, we are beginning to formulate plans for an ICMP welcome back to London party for Freshers week (We’ll keep you posted!). Also Artfair have notified us that they are planning a single release in November/ December so we may organise a single launch event for them.  

Our ultimate goal is to develop a roster of London talent which complement one another's sounds so that by late 2019/early 2020 we can begin to put on regular gigs exploring different genres in different venues. These will include smaller intimate acoustic events, in unique locations, large band nights in big venues and possibly even putting on band, then club nights for London university students... 

Visit Elevate Entertainment's Facebook profile to find out more. 

Photo by Emre Kuzu from Pexels 

Study Music Business at ICMP 

ICMP offers music business courses aligned to industry for entrepreneurs looking to take that next step towards developing a long-term successful career in the music business.

If you're interested in studying a music business degree in London in 2018, contact our Admissions Team on 020 7328 0222 or email who will be able to guide you through the application process. 

Music Business Degree


by ICMP staff writer
August 11, 2019
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