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15th November 2018

Feature: BBC Introducing Live’s Guide to the Music Industry

I had the pleasure of attending BBC Introducing’s event at Tobacco Dock aimed to inspire and guide those wishing to pursue the unrelenting music industry
Feature: BBC Introducing Live’s Guide to the Music Industry
Photo: Olivia White @ Mancunion

BBC Introducing Live is an annual event held to support, inspire and, in many ways, acts as a kick up the backside for current and aspiring musicians as well as music business professionals.

BBC hosts such as Radio 1, 1Xtra, 6 Music, Radio 3 and Radio 2 provide platforms for upcoming artists to showcase their talent, receive feedback and network with like-minded individuals. Across this jampacked 3-day event, a variety of panels, each taking a different focus and composed of leading industry professionals give advice, share experiences and offer the chance to ask questions. For musicians, panels included ‘Getting your music on the Radio’, ‘Get the show on the road, playing live and getting gigs’ and ‘How to earn a living from your music.’

But, the BBC Introducing Live team certainly did not abandon those aspiring music businessmen and women. Talks like ‘How to get a job in the music business’ and ‘Music Business Worldwide in conversation with Columbia Records’ really emphasised the importance of networking, gathering as much experience as possible and establishing yourself within your local scene.

As someone who is desperate to break through on the business side, my experience at BBC’s Introducing weekend was tailored towards getting my foot in the door at label companies, CV advice and connecting myself with a wider group of contacts. Although there was nothing particularly mind-blowing that was said by the speakers, I did leave feeling more inspired and motivated to continue in my efforts. However, I also left feeling a little bit startled- I had an overwhelming sense that no matter what position you are in and no matter what experience you have currently acquired, it’s probably not enough.

This is not to say I’ve had a crisis, but instead within a day of returning back to Manchester, I had reached out to more people, sent off those emails I had been previously hesitant to send and began planning far more intently on my future.

The overarching message that BBC Introducing Live conveyed was, you can absolutely do this. Yes, it’s a brutal industry, yes, you will undoubtedly be knocked down and confronted with ‘Nos’, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consistently push for those yeses. Because “all it takes is that one yes” and your wholehearted input to embrace wherever you are the opportunities it has to offer for you to flourish. This isn’t just applicable for individuals with aspirations in the music business side but also musicians themselves.

Tobacco Dock was a cool and modern backdrop providing an overwhelming sense of community.  A safe haven for freedom of expression was constructed and embraced by ticket-holders because there was an underlining understanding that everyone was there for the same reason. Everyone wanted to learn, mentor and assist people in pursuing their dreams and for that reason alone, BBC Introducing was worth paying a last-minute train ticket down to London.

BBC Introducing also demonstrated their efforts towards the importance of empowering women who want to pursue the industry in any capacity. Panels such as ‘How to Get a Job in the Music Business’, ‘Music Managers Masterclass’, ‘Jobs in Live Music’ and ‘Women in Ctrl presents: Women Running the Music Industry’ hosted some of the most inspirational and empowering female figures that the current industry has to offer. Professionals such as Nadia Kahn, founder of Women in Ctrl, Dom Frazer, founder of the Boileroom, Jane Beese, Head of Music at The Roundhouse and Stefania Pavlou, communications and media relations manager for PRS, openly shared their journey’s and challenges faced whilst in the industry.

Such opportunities to listen to and chat to these admirable women was an open recognition from the BBC that the industry is very much in the motions towards a more equal industry free of discrimination. Even though there is undoubtedly more work to do, things are certainly changing. And what an exciting time to get involved!

Scattered throughout the day were live sets from upcoming musicians who were given the opportunity to showcase their talent on bandstands to passers-by as they traveled to and from panels. Artists such as Roman Lewis performed during the day and in the evening, people could buy separate tickets to see the likes of Ben Howard, DeadMau5 and DJ Target headline.

Before the week of its presentation, I had not heard of BBC Introducing Live offering such invaluable opportunities and I would say it’s a must for anyone wanting to conquer the industry.

Get Inspired. Get Experience. Get Socialising and Get to BBC Introducing Live 2019.

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