Music students meet with the pros
Students from BA (Hons) Popular Music Performance, BA (Hons) Music Management, and BA (Hons) Popular Music Management and Production recently had the chance to visit music manager Colin Lester at his office in London. Colin has previously been awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Music from the University, and also manages fellow Hon Doc Craig David.
Colin also invited esteemed colleagues from the music industry to speak with students. His guests included Louis Bloom (Head of A&R at Island Records), Gary Howard (Senior Booking Agent at United Talent Agency), Rak Sanghvi (MD of Spirit Music Publishing), James Walsh (Owner of indie label Ditto Music), and Alice Beal (Label Manager of Insanity Records, Sony UK).
Colin started the day by giving students tips on how to approach music in the global market, and how to work with the different characteristics of those markets.
Louis Bloom also gave an insightful talk on how the industry has changed and how it’s increasingly difficult for A&R to break acts. For example, when previously it could take two years, now it typically takes around four.
Senior booking agent Gary Howard walked the students through show budgets, deals, the relationships between agents, artists, managers and promoters, and discussed the criteria he uses to analyse acts before signing them.
Rak Sanghvi then spoke about publishing deals and the complex nature of the industry and chatted about his experience working with the young Jessie J.
Ditto Music owner James Walsh discussed the ever-growing importance of streaming services and distribution deals. He admitted that, although streaming makes it easier for independent acts to get featured, it still isn’t lucrative – with one million streams earning the artist around £5000.
Instanity Records label manager Alice Beal then spoke about her journey into the industry, the importance of marketing, and the length of album campaigns that often start years before releases.
Head of Music Paul Rutter says, “Colin provided a rare opportunity once again to experience the new music industry first hand, with varied and esteemed guests. As our valued Hon Doc, Colin continues to provide key experiences which inspire our music students in their future music careers.“
Music management student Connor Lebas added, “I thought the day was enjoyable and truly beneficial to all of us that went. I was really impressed with the level of professionals Colin was able to bring in to share with us their expertise, giving us great advice.“