Reboot: 10 things we learned from the music business education conference

ICMP played host to Reboot, the 1st ever music business education conference. Read what we learned from the event...


The Reboot music business education conference was hosted by ICMP in June and acted as a hub for debate and new ideas around what music business education should look like as a new decade comes into view.

A whole host of academics and music industry experts came together for the event including Songtrust's Lara Baker and Phil Taggart from BBC Radio 1 alongside plenty of academics from the likes of ICMP, the Leeds College of Music and more.

We were there on the day to get to grips with some of the hot topics. Find out what we learned from the event below... 

Effective learning involves an exchange of ideas

Ian Ramage, ICMP tutor and BMG: I’m a more effective music industry professional at BMG as a result of teaching students. Nina Rubesa and Lauren Moore are two students whose hunger and intelligence has actively inspired my decision-making process as a music publisher. 

Work experience can act as a bridge between education and entrepreneur  

Gennaro Castaldo, BPI:

The role of internships and apprenticeships gives aspiring professionals the chance to learn how to present themselves, whether that be in person or via email. It's essential that these kind of skills are developed." 

Successful music business professionals need to be able to get on with people

Amber Mackenzie (ITB): My job is about being a people person. And that's indicative of the music industry, you need to be able to get on with a wealth of different people. A lot of our interns join us and they are very email-based - there’s a certain cautiousness when it comes to picking up the phone and calling people. 

But I believe it helps you build a better relationship by talking to people. 

Students need to think of themselves as a business 

Arit Eminue, DiVA Apprenticeships: You need to think of yourself a business and your employer as your client. Also learn to take ownership of your career and always think about developing your skill set outside of just one thing or role. We’re in a digital age and you need to stay on top of all the skills and platforms out there. 

AM: With CVs, I always look for what students are up to outside of the classroom, whether that be putting on gigs or blogging. Showing that tenacity is what I want to see. 

Don't launch your project or career until you're ready 

Phil Taggart (PT): The music industry is full of people and bands who go out too early. Bands don't learn to play as well as they should do or record as well as they should do before they go out. And that can be damaging to your prospects especially with social media being so dominating. 

I spoke to the band, Biffy Clyro, and they told me how easy it was when they were starting out for them to go out and play a gig really badly. But there was no social media so there would be no trace of it after the night. Now you need to be as good as possible as soon you head out of the rehearsal room." 

Look after yourself when you're trying to breakthrough 

PT: You can work and work - but if you’re not putting the right energy into it, it’s not going to work. I burned myself out on a book tour and had to do two weeks off. So always consider your mental health. 

Social media is very important to stay on top of the music industry 

Anonymous: Social media cannot be ignored. It’s where all the conversations are happening - if you dismiss it, then you don’t understand why the music business is so important today. 

Being an entrepreneur means more than just pleasing someone like Alan Sugar 

Bryony Williams (student): Before I studied music business, I thought entrepreneur just meant people in suits and Alan Sugar. But it's not just about money. It's about ideas and cultural opportunities. 

More positive female roles models are needed in the music business

Lara Baker, Songtrust: Having positive role models is particularly important for young women and music business students wanting to get into the music industry. I want them to see women and people who represent them on stage.

When I did a talk at the BBC Introducing Live event, a deal breaker was getting a 50/50 split in terms of gender as well as getting a broad split of diversity across the board. It's more important than ever that this happens. 

Education is an essential part of the pathway into the music industry

Chris Cooke (CMU): Our research at Pathways into Music has revealed that there are three stages to the majority of music industry careers - DIY, business and fame and fortune. Music education can play a big part in helping aspiring professionals progress to the all important second stage... 

Study Music Business in London with ICMP

If you're keen to develop your entrepreneurship skills,  learning from our regular industry guests and collaborating within the vibrant ICMP creative community, then speak to our Admissions Team. They're on hand to help you find the right course that matches your ability and aspirations.

Contact the team on 020 7328 0222 or via email and start your music career today.

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by Jim Ottewill
July 3, 2019
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