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#TBT: Skool Me Part 1 (2015)

Throwback time! UD rewind to 2015 when Nardene Scott collated the pearls of wisdom picked up at UD’s annual Industry Takeover event. If you’re looking for motivation, we’ve got you covered as we throw-it back and take inspiration from our music industry specialists… 

Pros and Cons of the Music Industry…

“Everyone is in a position to do well; the door is open for everyone. The perks aren’t as great as they used to be (in terms of the physical sales) but there are other ways of making money from music now. Most acts nowadays have a clothing line and other things to sell…” The Heavytrackerz, music producers

“Ten years ago we didn’t have all the things we have now. We had to go through management and record labels and so many different layers of politics… Nowadays you have access to everybody; there’s no six degrees of separation anymore, so the world is your oyster with the internet and the digital age. It’s important to educate young artists because they are never told the ins and outs of the business – it’s called the music business because it’s about making money and unfortunately a lot of people think that they should spending lots on their videos but they don’t understand about recouping the money for the record labels, so it’s about educating young people.” Jasmine Dotiwala, broadcaster, producer, and columnist

“I think there should be more people that are able to understand the artist inside the record company, be able to sign those artists and when those artists are signed, understand how to market those artists and position them in the online space… Therefore people are needed on all the different levels, from A&R to marketing to branding to digital to promotions to my job.” Darcus Beese, former President, Island Records

“[The Music Industry] have a very broad reach and when they believe in something they get the message out and it’s all about sharing a message, we’re all humans. One of the drawbacks is that sometimes things take a bit longer and there needs to just be a better way of communicating with artists. You have to be proactive; my answer today will be different to my answer tomorrow but the approach would be the same.” George The Poet, performer, public speaker and music artist

“It’s a good time to be working in music; I don’t particularly like the free internships – I wish more people paid for good work. As long as the work is being done well, people should be paid for it. There are a lot of interesting new scenes developing and professionals coming through and my biggest wish is that everyone is properly compensated for the work that they do.” Crispin Parry, CEO & Creative Director, British Underground

The future of the Music Industry…

“It would be nice to see changes in the industry that empower people to have an equal playing field. So far the industry has been quite open and positive towards middle class people; it’s easier to be in the creative arts if mummy and daddy have lots of money and you get sent to a great university. It would be great if working class people had greater access to the arts because they have so much to deliver – if you think about everything that is hot in the world, it revolves around hip hop culture. When I first started people told me that hip hop was a niche and it would be gone, it was talentless, why did I like it? Now you’ve got ad brands selling millions around it – hip hop rules the world, literally, but it would be great in the next five years for the people who are making the scene to actually get their credit for it.” Jasmine Dotiwala, broadcaster, producer, and columnist

“I would like to see artists and ideas more at the core of how the large companies work, so hopefully the streaming model is going to be fairer for artists. I would also like to see more artists taking control and not giving their rights to people for long periods of time because that’s a big risk. I think we’re just going to see artists at lower levels of their career making more money at an earlier stage, which can only be a good thing.” Joe Frankland, Industry Fund Manager, PRS for Music Foundation

“The biggest challenge is scaling up the business model that is streaming because streaming is the future of how people are going to consume music. Spotify won’t be the only game in town and we’ll have scale of business and the business will return to growth, that’s what the experts are saying.” Darcus Beese, former President, Island Records

“The challenges I face are more to do with learning about business because obviously I set up my own business, though I feel like everything I do is a learning process… But don’t be afraid to learn, learn everyday. I feel like we could all grow more as a scene and as an industry. Hopefully there will be more ways to make money and I think that’s the main thing, I just want everyone to make more money.” Posty, GRM Daily Founder

“I’m very interested in artist development, so I want to take an artist that is doing well in the local scene and be able to help them make an impact on the next level. Also, there’s a little bit of renaissance and interest in grime, particularly in America, I think there could be a market opening up there because it doesn’t have the same narrative as the UK, so the UK doesn’t need to completely embrace grime for it to become a massive thing in America and that is what I would like to encourage.” Crispin Parry, CEO & Creative Director, British Underground

Survival in the Music Business…

“You have to have a very thick skin and you have to deal with things with a smile. Often things are going wrong and it’s always manic but on the outside you’re just calm… I think most acts that make it in this industry are the ones that can negotiate everything with a smile and deal with things professionally.” Jasmine Dotiwala, broadcaster, producer, and columnist

“Always take the long view. Prepare to fail a lot of times. And if that happens, you’ll have that one moment of success.” Darcus Beese, former President, Island Records

“You have to be able to realise that not everyone will like you. I remember before I started properly putting stuff out I always wanted people to like me but then you realise that there are always people that are not going to like you, so you have to be able to take criticism and be really thick skinned.” Lady Lykez, artist and radio presenter

“It’s the same old challenges. I feel like a lot of them aren’t within our power, a lot of it is higher up… We haven’t really got that sort of control of the music industry but that’s why I feel like it’s always important for us to build up our own things, from the bottom, and that’s why coming to UD events gives you the knowledge so that you don’t need any outsourcing or recognition or stamps from bigger entities; you can just do it yourself.” JIIK, artist and entrepreneur

WORDS: Nardene Scott      

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