Category Archives: Live Music and Events

R House is Proof Dance Music has a Bright Future


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 –

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Join the Split Parade… (and find out how music money’s made!)


In partnership with The Bunker and Generator, MMBE are proud to be a sponsor of Split Parade on Saturday 15th September and will be hosting some top live music at The Little Room, presenting


Find details of the event here:

Following on from last year’s inaugural Split Parade, Sunderland will again ‘get their BEAK on’ with the City’s best venues presenting the hottest names in the North East.

ImageOne of Sunderland’s very own, Nadine Shah returns home following the release of  highly anticipated single Aching Bones. After the release of triumphant EP, ‘Exotica’ earlier in the year, Polarsets bring their tropicana to Sunderland for the first time. Last year’s parade leaders B>E>A>K will bring the party to a close headlining the main room at Independent. Special guests Nately’s Whores Kid Sister will be joined by a host of emerging North East artists across Sunderland’s ‘holme’ of music. The parade will again kick off at Cosa Nostra with representatives from all across local music invited to enjoy comedy, food and a folk style sing-along with Barry Hyde in the cabaret opening event. The Parade will once again be led by a very special Sunderland musicians collective from Cosa Nostra on to the wealth of talent waiting on Holmeside.

2011’s Split Parade built on two previous years of events to warm up the city for Sunderland’s biggest festival. Led by mackem high flyers B>E>A>K, Holmeside and local gig-goers were led on a merry dance to packed out venues and stellar line-ups. Highlights included a show stopping opening from Tynesiders Young Liar at Plugged Inn, a headline performance from Newcastle’s finest Lets Buy Happiness in The Little Room before Razmataz Lorry Excitement took the party into the early hours in Independent.

Split Parade organiser Emma Howe says; “We are very excited to once again be bringing Split Parade to the streets of Sunderland. Last year was such a fantastic event and this year is going to be even bigger. We have a brilliant lineup that showcases the phenomenally high standard of music we have coming out of the North East, and a team of organisers from all across local music working together to ensure the Split party begins nice and early.”

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Fancy a Career In The Music Industry? MMBE Taster Session Alert!

Following the success of Generator’s Managing a Music Business Enterprise (MMBE) courses at Gateshead College, the course will be back for a new intake of students beginning on 7th November 2012.Image

MMBE covers the fundamental areas of building a successful music business including publishing, marketing, digital media, revenue streams and business models.

We will be holding a special MMBE taster session on Wednesday 26th September from 4.00pm to 6.00pm 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

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Edinburgh Festival Hosts 2 Day Event For DIY Artists

Organised by CMU and the team involved with The Great Escape, a 2 day event dedicated to offering advice to bands and artists going it alone will be coming to Edinburgh Festival on 11th & 12th August. Topics on the agenda for Stagetime include engaging with fans, playing live, the alternative revenue streams available, amongst others that will be discussed amongst panels of experts over the weekend. Find out more and buy tickets via the links below…

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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:

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MMBE & Gateshead College to Sponsor Music Futures Series Event

MMBE and Gateshead college are pleased to announce sponsorship of the second in the Music Futures Series, ‘The Future of Music Publishing’.

‘Music Futures Series’ is Generator’s new music business panel programme, giving regional musicians and businesses the chance to pick the brains of some of the industry’s leading figures like Simon Raymonde (Bella Union) and Caroline Elleray (Universal Music).

Featuring a series of weekly panels, running from Thursday 28th June to Thursday 19th July at Newcastle’s Live Theatre, industry experts will give their unique insight into the future of record labels, publishing, marketing and broadcasting. The panels will demonstrate how regional artists and music businesses can take advantage of the latest industry developments and use them to create new platforms and sources of income.

The second event on 5th July will focus on music publishing, which is now considered by some more important to an artist’s career than getting a record deal. Panelists will discuss how songwriters and musicians can generate income from their songs in the new music industry.

Giving their insight here are Caroline Elleray of Universal Music, who signed publishing deals with Coldplay and Keane; Ryan Farley of Warner Chappell; Steve Farris of Polar Patrol, a publishing company set up by the band Snow Patrol and Helen Gammons CEO of Sync in the City and author of ‘The Art of Music Publishing’.

The 5th July event will be an ideal opportunity for anyone interested in studying MMBE to come down, meet the tutors and have a few free drinks!

Future of Music Publishing – Thursday 5th July: 5.30pm – 9.30pm

Each panel runs from 6pm – 8pm and is followed by networking and drinks

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MMBE Graduate’s Festival Tops the League!

Ian Mcmanus set up the Red Dreams charity in honour of his son Kyle, who sadly passed away in 2007. Inspired by his son’s love of music, film and all things creative; Red Dreams works with singers, bands, filmmakers, sound engineers, the list goes on. “We have a very basic ethos of ‘Confidence through Creativity’; however this is underpinned by a number of values including dedication, respect, focus, determination and support.”

The work of the charity quickly culminated in the creation of a festival, ‘Pitch Invasion’. From 1500 attendees in 2008 to 9000 last year, Pitch Invasion has lived up to its tagline: ‘The little festival that roared!’

Ian was subsequently approached by Hartlepool United and Pitch Invasion has been promoted to stadium proportions. This year’s festival is being held on 12th and 13th May featuring fifty acts across two stages. The main stage will see performances from bands such as General Fiasco, who have previously opened for Snow Patrol, The Hype Theory and Howaysis. The main stage line-up has been designed to have a wide appeal and family friendly atmosphere. Lovers of dance, dubstep and electronic music are catered for at the Marquee stage; acts performing include Lost State of Dance, Lennox and Rossi Noise.

The festival has gone from strength to strength and Ian credits the knowledge he gained while studying the MMBE course as being a catalyst. “MMBE made me evaluate the festival in terms of the return on investment. It made me develop my understanding of the structure of the industry.

Not only that, but it gave me leads into the industry, who to talk to and how to talk to them, it lifts the veil of mystery. This has given us a springboard to make Pitch Invasion more commercial, this year is the first time we’ve got signed bands. Using what I gained from the MMBE has helped to give us a good foundation and reputation.”

Pitch Invasion is being held at Hartlepool Stadium on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May. Weekend tickets cost just £3 for under 16’s, £5 for adults and £12 for a family pass.

We would like to wish Ian, Red Dreams and Pitch Invasion continued success!

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What is a Hotspot not?

‘My homeless hotspot keeps wandering out of range…’

It’s SxSW o’clock in Austin, Texas, and sadly for us we’re back here in the UK manning our desks, slurping tea and having to settle for watching Twitter feeds/websites for breaking news and controversy…

Whilst we’re excited to see and hear about new music what’s really caught our attention, and the rest of the world’s, are these ‘homeless hotspots’.

At first we didn’t really pay the term much attention when it popped up as a trending topic… we’ve made that mistake before; investigating something ‘interesting’ and for it to turn out to be about Justin Beiber. Again.

But then we got our act together and decided to investigate what on earth ‘homeless hotspots’ could possibly be.

‘What are they?’ you ask. Well, homeless hotspots are the brainchild of advertising agency BBH NY. Known for their campaigns for Google and other major brands, BBH NY are collaborating with the homeless of Austin to give them an opportunity to sell a digital service rather than a material commodity (think Big Issue for a digital age).

In other words a dozen of Austin’s homeless have been given a 4G MiFi each and a t-shirt that reads ‘ I’m a homeless hotspot’ to pimp their wares to hipster conference goers in desperate need for wifi access for a small fee.

For a small donation of $2 (be it cash or via paypal) you can get 15mins of wifi and the chance to hang out with a member of the homeless community.

Sounds good, right?

It’s a charitable cause that highlights the plight of Americas homeless with all proceeds going to the individuals. The individuals who’re taking part in the scheme also get paid a daily rate of $50 for their work.

Not only this but the scheme is encouraging us to engage with those living on the streets. After all they’re just like us but something in their lives has unfortunately gone awry, such as Clarence who found himself on the streets after losing his house to Hurricane Katrina.

To be fair ‘homeless hotspots’ aren’t necessarily a way to end homelessness but as some have pointed out it’s better than doing nothing. It’s probably safe to say that the majority of us have been guilty of just walking by a homeless person and ignoring them.

Innovation and new technology is a key focus of SxSW, just look at the success of foursquare and twitter, but this innovative idea has had quite the backlash.

What could possibly cause outrage?

• There have been cries of exploitation: at $2 for 15minutes the hotspots won’t necessarily even get paid the National Minimum wage in America (it’s about $7.95).

• There’s been outrage that the homeless are being treated as mere street furniture, which is similar to what happened in Victorian times, and are being dehumanised.

• And what happens for the rest of the year? Surely the project would only be beneficial and profitable when events and conferences are in town.

It seems like Austin might be the end of the road for ‘homeless hotspots’ but let’s not criticise entirely a charitable project. After all it is drawing attention to a social issue that we should all care about.

But what do you think? Would you use a ‘homeless hotspot’?

To find out more or even make a donation visit Homeless Hotspots

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Stop Press! Live Music Act 2012

Yesterday, 8th March 2012, it was announced that Tim Clement-Jones’ Live Music Act was passed by parliament.

Although we’ll have to wait until the autumn for the Bill to come into effect, here, at MMBE, we’re really excited what this means for the live music industry.

The Bill will remove some of the bureaucracy attached to smaller venues and their staging of live music which was brought in with the 2003 Licensing Act.

Basically, venues under a 200 person capacity no longer need local authority permission for live music between 8am – 11pm and if the music is not amplified (acoustic) there’s no capacity limit rule (aka it can happen anywhere).

With this new change in the law we hope that pub landlords and bar owners nationwide will be more open to staging live music and supporting new talent and local grass root promoters. 

Find out more over at CMU

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Tout of Order

Fans out priced by touts

Secondary ticketing has always been something of a problem for the live music industry – in days gone by you couldn’t get into a venue without hearing and seeing several touts charging over the top prices for tickets but in recent years we’ve seen a move into the realm of digital ticket resales.

Channel 4’s recent Dispatches programme highlighted the problem of ticket price inflation to the masses by those on the inside but within the music industry its an ongoing issue we’ve known about for far too long without doing anything to stop it.

The programme named those at the root of the ‘scandal’ as being the promoters of the acts, particularly bigger acts like Coldplay and Rhianna, and venues who are the ones that are pricing fans out of seeing their favourite acts often doubling the face value price. It’s certainly got high profit margins for those benefiting and it’ certainly not fair.

But it can’t all be the promoters at fault – surely those running these online ticket exchange forums (*ahem* Viagogo and SeatWave) are equally to blame. These organisations proved that they had no qualms when it came to buying tickets from primary ticketers and selling them on to desperate fans for more than double the price.

Taking advantage of fans who tried desperately to get tickets – be that from camping out over night or getting up early on a Sunday morning (I’m talking Glastonbury here) – by sending tickets sky high is just not cool in anyone’s book.

But what’s the answer? Should we look to the likes of Denmark and pass legislation (like that proposed by MP Sharon Hodgson) to regulate and restrict the resale of live music tickets? Or perhaps there should be a move to introduce photographic ID onto all tickets sold like seen at Glastonbury?

One thing is sure though – if the industry has been able to embrace the digital world of illegal downloads and fight back by turning it into a positive to make a profit through iTunes and Spotify then can the same not be done for secondary ticketing?

But what about smaller acts? As much as over-pricing affects this market surely under-pricing up and coming artists has an equally negative impact on the industry?

Often smaller local bands who are plugging away, touring and working non-stop set their prices for gig entry low at about £3-£5 trying to attract people to see them. Just because a band hasn’t made name for themselves doesn’t mean that they should under sell themselves. Where exactly did this notion that smaller acts aren’t worth paying a higher price to see? They may be a new act but they still deserve being paid fairly.

Food for thought: We enjoyed this article discussing under-priced ticketing from the artists perspective

Other inspiration came via CMU:

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