Category Archives: Case Studies

MMBE Belfast: In the Students’ Own Words

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“I’ve found the course to be an invaluable source of information.  The tutors are very approachable and have a wealth of experience within the music industry.  There is Individual support and an on-line learning zone which is key to the delivery of the course.  Everything you need to know about the industry is covered. Last but not least the course is fun and a great networking opportunity.”
Adele Ingram, One-A-Chord Music 

“Above all, the course provides an up to date and detailed overview of what is a complex and fast changing music industry. Course tutors are not academics, but rather Industry people who actively involved within the Industry on a day to day basis and they’ll help you grapple with any difficult subjects such as publishing or legal contracts. Excellent online resources also which will help you plot a more efficient ‘route to market’ with your project.” 
Kyle Leitch, Bang the Drum

“If you are looking for a course that covers every aspect of the music industry in enough detail to get you started then this is it. No matter what genre or aspect of the business you are involved in or want to be involved in, then it’s here” 
Lyndon Stephens, Champion Sound Recordings

“An essential course for understanding a complex but potentially rewarding creative industry. Don’t be pressured into taking the wrong deal but instead know your options so multiple income streams can be utilised effectively.”  
Dave McCullough, Urban Niche

“Doing the MMBE course has really ‘sealed up’ that hearsay / word of mouth knowledge that you get plenty of as your finding your way within music and business. The course leaders / lecturers have a wealth of experience and knowledge. They also give you an abundance of much appreciated individual time and attention when asked questions, or when they are presented by current situations or issues. The like minded people you meet on the course has already become a friendly network of people planning to do work together within music.”
John Ross, The Jammhouse

“The MMBE Course is an essential tool for all people wanting to gain a full and concise insight of the Music Industry and its workings. The firsthand knowledge that is passed on by the Instructors and guest music industry professionals will aid anyone that is either a novice or seasoned individual in their goal to successfully manage a music business.”  
Mark Langham, music manager 

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Music Entrepreneur and Former MMBE Graduate Hits the Right Note to Secure Career Success

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The career prospects of a former unemployed Newcastle man are on a more sound footing after he completed a new course in music entrepreneurship.

Stewart Platt, 25, now runs his own record label thanks to a specialist course that equipped him with the skills and confidence to make it on his own in the highly competitive music industry.

The Managing a Music Business Enterprise (MMBE) course was developed by strategic partners Gateshead College and music development agency, Generator.

Stewart, who lives in Heaton, Newcastle, said: “I regularly attend seminars held by Generator so it was through them that I first heard about the course.

 “Mark Hobrough, the music lecturer at Gateshead College was fantastic. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience within the industry. The course really gave me an insight into the music business and its different elements.

I was particularly interested in the record label module and it was this that inspired me to set up my own label. Mark gave me the confidence and helped me with the application and business plan.

Stewart set up his record label and artist and event management company, R House, during the 13-week course.

He first thought about launching his own company when he saw how difficult it was for some of his DJ friends to secure gigs.

He said: “A lot of my friends struggled to get work, which in turn, meant that they couldn’t gain further experience or get their names out there.

I decided that if no-one would give them a chance, then I would put my own events on. That’s how I came up with the idea of Future Proof.

Future Proof aims to find advancing artists and give them the opportunity to perform live and help market their music. This can then be used as a stepping-stone to break into the live music scene in the North East with the objective of developing them from un-established DJ’s to fully-fledged performing artists.

In October 2012 he was granted £300 of funding from the O2 Think Big Initiative. The project aims to help young people between the age of 13-25 launch ideas and programmes that benefit the places where they live.

Stewart said: “I launched the first Future Proof with the funding that I won from O2 and it was a great success. Over 100 people attended and it gave me the desire and confidence to do more Future Proof events.

The events now take place on the first Friday of every month at The Globe in Newcastle.

Mark Hobrough at Gateshead College said: “It’s fantastic to see Stewart carve out a career for himself. He has gone from helping his friends to launching his own record label, a major feat for anyone.

This is exactly the kind of success story we were hoping for when we teamed up with Generator. There are so many opportunities in the region and this course delivers the skills, know-how and confidence to help these careers happen.

Stewart has also been shortlisted by Virgin Money to sponsor Newcastle United against Liverpool at St James’ Park in April. Virgin Money is working closely with local communities by supporting the Government’s Start-Up Loans scheme and giving one lucky start-up in the North East the chance to sponsor a Newcastle match. Vote for R House in the Big Kick Off here.

Other students that have started their own businesses following successful completion of the MMBE course are Ben Holland who runs The Polite Room gig nights across the North East, Grant Brydon who runs his own digital music communications agency Fiend Digital and Troy Slater who owns music production company Synchestra.

Anyone who is interested in enrolling on the next MMBE course, starting on April 10 should email Generator at jonny@generator.org.uk

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Next MMBE Gateshead Taster Session

Generator’s Managing a Music Business Enterprise (MMBE) course will be back at Gateshead College for a new intake of students on the 10th April 2013, following the sheer success of the previous courses.

MMBE thoroughly covers all bases from running a record label to making the most of digital media to licensing and synchronization. It’s a fast track, affordable route to success in the music industry.

If you’re a DIY artist, a manager, promoter, booking agent, record label or publisher, MMBE is suited just for you. It enables you to build and implement a business plan immediately. The MMBE qualification is a full Level 3 Diploma giving students a nationally recognised qualification that is backed by the UK music industry.

We will be holding a special MMBE taster session on Wednesday 13th March 2013 from 4.30pm to 6.30pm where you can meet the Generator team and lecturers to find out more information about the course. This session is strictly limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. If you’d like to attend please email jonny@generator.org.uk.

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R House is Proof Dance Music has a Bright Future

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Recent MMBE Gateshead graduate, Stewart Platt, has used knowledge gained on the course to launch a new ‘Future Proof’ series of events, through his R House promotions brand. Backed by his recent acceptance onto the O2 Think Big scheme, Stewart hopes to change the way aspiring artists are discovered in the world of electronic dance music.

R House plans to find advancing artists to give them the opportunity to perform live and effectively market their music. This can then be used as platform to break onto the live music scene in the North East and beyond. With this ambition in mind, R House has organised a series of upcoming events titled ‘Future Proof’ starting on Friday 19th October at Northumbria University.

If you’re an emerging DJ or electronic artist and would like to be part of this unique series of events please contact Stewart – rhousemusic@live.co.uk.

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School’s In: Steve Melhuish Interview

The Gen Editor Paul Reed has a chat with Music Industry veteran and MMBE (Managing a Music Business Enterprise) Course Coordinator, Steve Melhuish at London’s Music Business School about how the course can help you get on in the industry.

1) How did you start out in the music business?

“I got involved with Richard Branson in the late 60’s, there were around 20 of us working at a magazine in London and a few of us decided that it would be a good idea to sell mail order albums. We were the first to do this, we took out a full page advert in the Melody Maker and had a terrific response but it unfortunately coincided with a royal mail strike”.

“We had all of this stock to shift, so we opened what became the first Virgin Records store which I managed. I then went on to open several record shops, starting in South London called Bonaparte Records. That’s how I started out”.

2) How can the MMBE course help secure a foothold into the industry?

“About 12 years ago I started running various music industry management courses at the University of Kent. Since then, the industry has changed direction and the entire ideology has shifted. You can forget about Warners and all the rest, music has become much more DIY”

“The ethos of the MMBE course is that you will meet and greet people in the music industry. Our USP is that we offer genuine access- I don’t promise that it will get someone a job but it will give you a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet people such as Keith Harris (Director of Performer Affairs at PPL and Stevie Wonder’s Manager)”.

“As a result, our students have got internships and jobs but more importantly connections and the confidence to start their own businesses, we’re getting more and more positive feedback from former students- two have just recently set up a new music management company for example- They met on MMBE and it has given them a foothold and industry partnerships”.

3) On that subject, can you tell me a bit more about guest speakers on the course?

“80% of our guest speakers have returned to talk on further courses – people like Keith, Jon Webster (Chief Executive, MMF) and Henry Semmence from Absolute Distribution – these are people at the very top of the business talking about real issues facing the industry”.

“The profile of the guest speakers has resulted in increasingly more international sign-ups, people from Sweden or Finland doing courses through Skype and utilising the MMBE Learning Zone it completes the circle of digital enterprise”.

4) What is the biggest issues facing the industry right now?

“In a word, Spotify – it encompasses everything and supports this theory that music will become the ‘fourth utility’ in homes. That said, I think that the first decade of the 2000s will essentially be seen as a short blip, a transition after which artist will be able to monetise in all directions”

“Obviously, CDs sales have declined but vinyl sales are up. Downloading and listening online is fantastically convenient but people still want to own a piece of art and that isn’t going to go away.

“I agree with what Martin Mills was saying recently about Spotify and revenue from radio. Digital is a great source of revenue, especially for the independents with sophisticated catalogue such as the Beggars labels, Domino and Warp. There are all these different platforms and forms of revenue now”.

MMBE runs each Wednesday at MBS in Clapham, South London throughout the year and offers various courses, including a four-month fast track option. There is a free MMBE taster session on Tuesday 16 October, the current course is sold-out and the next course begins on 23rd January next year.

To find out more about Steve’s background in the industry go here

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MMBE Student Grant is a Fiend for Digital Marketing

Regular readers of the MMBE blog, may remember Grant Brydon who passed the first MMBE course at Gateshead College. In our previous catch up, he talked about the benefits of the course and how it had “opened his eyes”. We were pleased to hear that Grant has gone to put his new-found knowledge into practice and has launched a new digital marketing company, Fiend Digital.

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Here he talks about his new venture…

“Fiend Digital is a digital communications and online public relations company for musicians, labels and managers. We focus on building up artists fan-bases by implementing bespoke strategies formed on a case-to-case basis.

We believe that in today’s ever competitive marketplace it is becoming increasingly important for artists to build their own brand and fan base to back up their talent before approaching labels, publishers or other external platforms for release, and run an affordable range of services to assist artists in doing so.

Our services include:

Strategy: Helping to timeline and plan a marketing campaign, whether this be specifically targeted to the release of a single/mixtape/album or just ongoing fan base building.

Online PR: Writing press releases and compiling press packs for content and then delivering to blogs and websites. Mailing lists for releases are compiled specific to the artist and their work, based on which sites their target audience will identify and where they are most likely to receive positive results.

Social Media Services: Assistance in the running of social media accounts for artists, advising in how best to utilize and grow these vital online avenues. This can include anything from social media strategy to looking after accounts and updating on the artists behalf, depending on the preference of the client.

Digital Content Creation: Helping to identify suitable content to assist an artists campaign that will interest their target audience and help to keep fans engaged both on the run up to, and between, releases.

We are currently operating with a very varied roster of artists nationwide including Trafik, Barzin, Verbal Contact, This Ground Moves as well as clients such as Triptik Records and Bad Taste Cru, and we also act as management for Distinction.”

Grant has a background in urban music journalism, and has been running his own internationally respected hip-hop blog, HipHopFiend.com, for the past few years, as well as contributing weekly columns to SB.TV (‘Mixtape Mondays’ and ‘Ones To Watch’) covering a wider variety of genres, and industry tastemaker blog ‘The Tipping Point’ run by Generator.

For more information please head to www.FiendDigital.co.uk / http://www.facebook.com/FiendDigital or contact fienddigitaluk@gmail.com

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Yet Another Young MMBE Grad Shows Amazing Entrepreneurial Spirit

Former MMBE student Michael Hughes may be young but following his graduation he has established a thriving music business, after identifying and capitalising on a gap in the market. Image

Here he tells his story so far…

“In primary school I was told I could not achieve by peers and teachers, but I saw this as a challenge and set out to achieve the best I could. I started thinking about business when I was 16 and in secondary school. I love music and all my friends were musicians and private tutors so I built the business around them. I quickly realised that the North-East was missing a music tuition business but had hundreds of music tutors that may not be safe, qualified or right for the customer.

Music Tutor Direct is a pioneering music tuition business in the North-East. We provide Guitar, Bass Guitar, Piano and Percussion lessons to all ages and I have a team of tutors who specialise in different areas of music who can provide the best one to one tuition available. I recruit diverse tutors who are passionate, determined, professional and qualified so when a new customer contacts me I am confident that we can meet specific requirements.

The MMBE course was a great way for me to learn what it takes to run a successful music business.

It was incredibly helpful, it helped me understand opportunities in music where I could potentially take my business and gave me the confidence to take the last step in the start-up phase and just go for it.

I have set up my own business at the age of 19 which is innovative, affordable and solves industry problems for both the Tutor and the Pupil. We are growing in the recession and now my goal is to turn Music Tutor Direct into a house hold brand. Some people may say that I will not be able to achieve this but I know I can.”

Find out more about Music Tutor Direct here: http://www.musictutordirect.com/

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Former MMBE Student Makes Good

Evgenia Domnenkova, who began the MMBE course in January 2012 in London, has now become a partner at LiveMusicStage.com, a high-end online broadcasting service with interactivity and monetisation engines.

Evgenia shares:
LiveMusicStage.com was founded in Finland and has been active in Nordic countries. With the additional funding, LiveMusicStage.com is planning to revamp its design, enhance the broadcasting capability and introduce new features in the next three months as part of UK and global expansion. I believe LiveMusicStage.com is a very exciting opportunity for the industry to get hold of new income streams and to enhance ways of marketing, promotion, merchandise sales and brand sponsorship. I am very glad to be on board with this innovative startup’

If you are curious you are welcome to contact Evgenia to explore what LiveMusicStage.com is about and how it can help your businesses and careers.

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Talented MMBE Graduates Celebrate Their Achievement

This month saw the graduation celebration for some of the regions brightest new music business talent.

Managing a Music Business Enterprise (MMBE) is a new qualification that delivers the skills and knowledge essential to running a successful music business and is a nationally recognised Level 3 Diploma. The course was developed in the North East and now runs at Gateshead College, the Music Business School in London and is being rolled out nationally.

Whether embarking on a new venture or running an existing music business, MMBE covers the fundamental areas involved in building and growing a business in today’s music industry.

“Generator created MMBE so that people could leave the course with a qualification and also a ‘real world’ action plan to actually start a music business. There’s never been a better time to be independent in the music industry and it’s great to see that we are helping convert the students aspirations into reality .

The profile of North East based musicians nationally has never been higher and the quality of the managers , labels and promotions companies needed to support this is also developing rapidly . You no longer have to leave to region to be successful as an artist or a music business.

This is a nationally significant course that was developed in the Ouseburn Valley by Generator, awarded by NCFE in Newcastle and delivered in partnership with Gateshead College. As well as celebrating the student’s achievements we’d like to think MMBE is another North East success story too!” (Damian Baetens, Course Director)

“Gateshead College is delighted to be working in partnership with Generator delivering the MMBE programme. The course offers unparalleled development of a student’s entrepreneurial music business skills and experience with many graduates progressing into this field.

The quality of delivery is simply outstanding and students are clearly inspired from their sessions with leading music professionals, resulting in excellent success rates (93%). We are excited to see that the MMBE is building a national reputation, with MMBE already running at Music Business School, London and more planned to follow.

Gateshead College always works with the best partners to deliver outstanding provision, and the success of the MMBE epitomises this.” Phil Richardson (Gateshead College)

Having completed the MMBE course last February, graduates were presented with certificates and told of their successes so far.

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Since completing the course Amanda Gallagher (pictured) has established a music PR company, rockpig. Amanda said; “I’m really pleased to graduate and receive my MMBE certificate as I feel the course has been absolutely invaluable to me!  It has given me a real insight into the music industry and really ‘fast-tracked’ me and allowed me to identify a gap in the industry.”

“It’s been nearly 18-months now from my initial business idea, and I have now firmly established rockpig as a PR, Marketing and Promotions business; up to now I’ve managed an album release campaign for a band and I’m currently doing some independent event promotion, where I’m mainly dealing with the press and publicity side of things.”

“In addition, I’ve recently started presenting my own radio show called Born North on 102.4 Radio Hartlepool, which is the station’s only show dedicated to the North East music scene, I’m hoping to achieve some great exposure for our region’s talented musicians and help to raise their profiles through airplay, so I’m quite excited about this latest venture of mine!”

Rob Larkin (pictured) has launched his DJ career and played this year at EvolutionFestival, the North East’s biggest music event.

Polly Kerr (pictured) has used the knowledge she gained on the course to bag herself an internship at Generator, the UK’s leading music development agency. She is now in the process of setting up her own PR  company.

MMBE Gateshead is running again this year for a third term beginning on Wednesday 7th November 2012. We recently held a taster session for people who want to get involved and find out more.

Due to extra demand, we are holding another MMBE taster session on Wednesday 27th June from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Gateshead College where you can meet the Generator team and lecturers to find out more information about the course.

This session is strictly limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. If you’d like to attend please email jonny@generator.org.uk.

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MMBE Student’s New Company Lands Olympic Commission

The Olympic Flame will be passing through Newcastle this evening (Friday 15th June) and one of our current MMBE students, Troy Slater, has been commissioned to create the soundtrack to the celebratory performance.

Newcastle City Council approached Troy after hearing great things about his company, Synchestra, and offered him this unique opportunity. “Last year I started going to as many Generator workshops and seminars as possible and when I heard about MMBE, I jumped at the opportunity. Mark (Hobrough) said that we would all change our ideas about what it was exactly that we wanted to do in music and that statement applied to me. The funny thing was I ended up back where I started- wanting to compose!”

Subsequently, Troy and his business partner Brian Brooks have founded Synchestra, a track library offering bespoke audio soundscape, production and composition.

“Two months after starting the company we landed our first serious commission for the Olympic Torch relay performance. I’m stoked about this job because I’m working closely with the performers who will be doing a Parkour and dance routine. I’m there at rehearsals with a laptop arranging the audio to their performance. I also met Malik Diouf, one of the creators of Parkour. It was a great honour as I love parkour and it is an exciting project to be involved with.”

The show will involve eighteen young people from Newcastle who have created a performance which will represent a journey exploring the shifts in culture of the Games – from the ‘modern’ Games in the 19th Century to the ‘contemporary’ Games – both Olympic and Paralympic, where we value Excellence and Determination as well as Equality.

The performance will be expressed through some truly spectacular movement combining Parkour, Dance and Circus-skills as well as friendliness and wit, for which Newcastle is renowned for.

The Olympic torch will travel by zip wire from the Tyne Bridge to the Gateshead side of the Quayside at 5pm where the performance will take place with an audience of 5000 expected. The event is ticketed and for those without tickets the evening celebrations will be broadcast live on huge screens which can be viewed for free from Newcastle Quayside.

Find out more about Troy and Synchestra here: www.synchestra.co.uk  www.troyslater.com

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