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UD Low Down: Industry Takeover Seminar 3 @ Talent House

It’s time for another Industry Takeover seminar roundup!  In our 3rd event of the series, Chris Cooke and his talented panel – Callum Hay (Head of Label Services, Ditto), TK (CEO, Manager & Label co-founder, Finesse Foreva) and Timothy Youdeowei (Music Strategy, The Orchard) discussed the route to market and whether to go DIY or sign with a label. Tiffany Lai reports…


As usual, music industry expert and founder of CMU, Chris Cooke walked us through the basics. This seminar was focussed on releasing recordings and how artists might go about that. Typically, the record industry gets involved at around stage four when artists have made their recordings and have amassed a little bit of a following. 

 New artists who choose to go down the DIY route may start with a DIY distributor like Ditto or CD Baby. Then they might combine this with some basic marketing like social media to increase exposure. As the artist grows, they might need more services and both distributors and labels can offer this in exchange for a cut. This might be services like: 


Market research and data analysis

Cash flow

Sync (Netflix, films, TV) 


It may sound like a lot, but in return for their services, labels can easily ask for a cut of around 75%. As Chris says: “more services and more support is always in exchange for giving up more rights and revenue” so it’s up to artists to decide how much support they need.  



As we kicked things off with the panel, Chris asked Callum about Ditto’s most basic service which costs £19 a year. The service is a great way to get your music into the system if you’re just starting out and helps artists collect royalties and song data. 

Callum also stressed the importance of the pitching tool on Spotify for artists. It’s the best way to get your songs onto Spotify’s viral playlists and can really increase your audience. In Callum’s 30 second pitch guide he said he’d include: 

A marketing plan, ideas for promotion, your progression as an artist and where it will fit in in Spotify’s ecosystem. Don’t spend too much time talking about the meaning behind the music and put yourself in their shoes.” 

If you’d like a bit more of a hand with promotion, you might be better suited to Ditto+ where the team have great connections with DSP’s (Spotify, Tidal, iTunes) and speak to them weekly. They can also help you pitch to radio as well as sync, based on their far reaching networks. 

TK, co-founder of Finesse Foreva has two tips: keep your catalogue organised and centralised and calculate your ‘survival number’ early on. Your survival number he explains: “is the income you need to be happy and have all your needs met”. Once you work that out, you can work out how much investment you need in resources and how much of a cut you’re happy to give out to labels and distributors. 



It can be useful to hear about the journeys of those in the music industry especially since it differs so much from person to person. Here’s a quick rundown of our panellists’ paths.  

Callum, who studied at Sheffield University, quickly found out that Sociology wasn’t the path for him. He began by running uni events and started a music magazine before cold-emailing people he admired to pick their brains. Slowly, he began to build up a network before landing himself a radio internship and then later a position at Ditto where he’s risen from Radio Promotions manager to Head of Label Services in just under four years. 

TK started a little earlier at his church in Croydon. At 15 he became the church’s sound engineer before taking his equipment to school to record himself and his friends. At college he found it hard to stay focussed and was pulled up by a tutor who warned him “if you carry on like this you’ll end up in jail or dead”. “So I fixed up” he says “and my tutor, who was a freelance videographer, started bringing me along to gigs.” At 18, he had a studio above the Croydon church where it all started and began “filming events in ends… We wanted to be a one-stop shop for everyone from artists to A&R managers to go from the start to the top.” In 2018, Chief Keef became their first US/UK collaboration. 

Timothy entered music through a more alternative route. He started off in banking but couldn’t stop thinking about the music. After work he’d read up on the music industry and tried to gain as much knowledge as he could. Eventually, he quit the City, told his mum and started his own advisory firm for the music industry. Sony took notice of his entrepreneurial skills and later brought him into the fold. 


He said of UD’s Industry Takeover events: “Looking back on my journey it’s been long but if I went to events like these back then, I could have halved my journey just by learning and networking.” 

On that note, let’s get some key takeaways from the seminar: 

Key Takeaways 

Timothy: “Artists over-focus on conquering the UK and US markets. There are plenty of people in places like Germany or Holland that love UK rap and grime, and artists are missing out on collecting revenue there”. 

TK: “Keep your catalogue organised and centralised.” 

Callum: “Release on social media and build your audience there.” 

TK: “All of you that came here to [Industry Takeover] you already know 90% more than artists out there winging it on Youtube.”

If you want to join us at the next Industry Takeover Seminar on June 23rd, tickets are on sale HERE.

Words & photos by Tiffany Lai. Listen to Seasonal Expression on the 4th Sunday of every month, 10-11pm on voicesradio.co.uk @tiffany.l2

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