What can you do with a degree in Music Business?

By Kath Hartley

Posted

Studying Music Business at Leeds Conservatoire provides you with the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of the music industry and develop entrepreneurship. The programme covers many operational functions of the sector – including marketing, PR and communications, artist and events management, and the music licensing processes, legal considerations and contractual arrangements that impact upon people working in the music industry.

The course also gives you the opportunity to develop your own business ideas, and trains you to be self-sufficient in running your own business, developing skills in project management, planning, budgeting and business report writing. At the end of all this hard work though, what career paths are available? Where might this degree take you?

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Career Paths

Our graduates have gone on to a variety of careers, including tour management, artist management and development, event promotion, festival production, marketing, music licensing, publishing and much more. Many have set up their own businesses or work for themselves, using the skills, knowledge and networks that they developed whilst studying here at Leeds Conservatoire.

Here, we look at the career paths of five graduates from our Music Business Class of 2018, to find out how they are progressing just two years on from completing their studies…

Tour Management

A tour manager looks after artists out on the road, taking charge of scheduling, organising transport and accommodation, looking after finances and being the main point of contact between the artist, promoter and venue. Tour Management is a busy lifestyle with long hours away from home, and a responsibility to ensure that things run smoothly for all parties. To get into Tour Management you’ll need top-notch organisational skills, good decision-making ability, and a calm head in the face of adversity, but it’s a rewarding career for lovers of live music – with plenty of on-the-road-camaraderie to boot.

Ollie Horner

Ollie Horner, Tour Manager

Since graduating from Leeds Conservatoire with a Music Business degree, Ollie Horner has gone on to a busy career in Tour Management, working alongside bands including Blink 182, Stormzy, Good Charlotte, and All Time Low. Most recently, Ollie has acted as UK Tour Manager for Busted, European Tour Manager for Chase Atlantic and international tour manager for The Faim.

Ollie’s career took off whilst he was still studying at LCoM, and he found valuable support from our Music Business academic staff. Ollie says; “It was in my third year at Leeds Conservatoire that the Tour Management work really started to kick off for me. It was really interesting to speak to lecturers on the Music Business programme who had experience in large scale events and touring, and learn from their expertise.”

Read Ollie’s full profile

Music Licensing

The Music Licensing sector ensures that creators, composers and performers of music are paid for the use of their work within certain settings – including live, via broadcast media or on the internet. Working in this field requires excellent analytical skills and attention to detail, the ability to collaborate, and excellent customer service. It is a field that really champions the rights of musicians, providing support to songwriters, composers and performers.

Niall Oconnor

Niall O’Connor - National Account Executive for PRS

Niall O’Connor enjoyed a proactive three years at Leeds Conservatoire, during which time he started two businesses; the Rhino Sessions, a video production company, and Goobie, a promotions app. On graduating, Niall landed a job in Music Licensing with PPL PRS, and was recently promoted to the position of National Account Executive.

Niall says that his time at the conservatoire gave him the opportunity to develop vital skills that employers value; “The Music Business degree at Leeds Conservatoire will help you develop your knowledge and understanding of all aspects of the industry. The conservatoire is full of people willing to collaborate – so get stuck into everything Leeds Conservatoire and Leeds has to offer. Employers will not only invest in your skills but in your personality. If you can demonstrate years of experience which have been gained of your own accord, then you have already demonstrated your drive and a keen work ethic to making it within the industry before you have an employer.”

Read Niall’s full profile

Public Relations

Public Relations (PR) can be an exciting role in the music industry, and is a transferrable skill applicable to a number of sectors. It involves raising the profile of artists and promoting tours, events, new material, and any other news on behalf of a client. PR campaigns and can take a multitude of creative forms, and working in this kind of role requires excellent communication skills, creativity and the ability to network and build relationships with a range of people including clients, press and the general public.

Samii Taylor

Samii Taylor - PR Executive

Seizing an opportunity advertised by a Leeds Conservatoire Music Business lecturer, graduate Samii Taylor has since completed a series of internships within music PR. Samii now works as a Junior Account Executive at KPPR, and has worked on campaigns for Steps’ Lee Latchford-Evans and comedian Alexei Sayle. In addition, in 2019 Samii was nominated for an ‘Outstanding MAP Graduate Contribution to Music’ Award.

On how her degree helped to get her career off the ground, Samii says; “Honestly, I think that the Music Business Programme Leader, Dr Alex Timewell, and all of the other lecturers on the degree helped to prepare me for a career in the industry. Alex knows how to get the best out of you, and all of the lecturers have varied industry experience, meaning that the way they speak, teach, and what they expect of you matches working in the industry.”

Read Samii’s full profile

Events & Festival Management

If you enjoy the hustle and bustle of events and have excellent organisational skills, then a career in events management may be for you! Events Management can entail many tasks, including booking and liasing with artists and management, drawing up contracts, managing relationships with venues and suppliers, ensuring the smooth running of the event itself, and everything else in between. The world of events is a fast-paced environment, so you’ll need to be able make decisions and problem solve, have a good head for logistics and a flexible attitude towards your work.  

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Charlie Hewitt - Artist Liaison & Festival Producer

Following the completion of his studies, Charlie Hewitt has been busy gaining experience in festival management, working with Envision in Costa Rica and Coachella and Lightning in a Bottle, both in California. He is currently working as an Artist Liaison for the London-based events company, Broadwick Live.

Charlie found that the broad approach to the Music Business programme helped him to develop a holistic understanding of the different roles in the industry, allowing him to build good working relationships; “Leeds Conservatoire allowed me to try out different aspects of the industry through doing assignments for different modules. My experience allowed me to understand the broader music industry so that I’m not just focused around events and festivals. It means I can empathise with agents, labels and PR professionals and understand their respective roles.”

Read Charlie’s full profile

Marketing

Marketing roles within the music industry involve the design and implementation of campaigns to promote artists, products and services. This can incorporate a variety of work including digital marketing and content creation, social media and advertising campaigns.

Marketing is a fast-paced, dynamic business, which requires innovative thinkers who can understand and engage their audience in a creative way. Developing skills in this area can be transferrable into other sectors too – as graduate Gaby Stead has found. 

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Gaby Stead - Marketing & Communications Assistant

Since graduating from Leeds Conservatoire with a first class degree, Gaby has completed a Masters in Advertising and Marketing and is now working as a Marketing Communications Assistant for a children’s charity in Leeds. Gaby also continues to run her own regular live music events too in Leeds.

Gaby feels that one of the most valuable aspects of the Music Business degree is the ability to learn directly from those with industry experience - she says; “Virtually everyone you meet at Leeds Conservatoire has so much industry knowledge and is happy to share what they know in order to help you. There’s such a practical focus to the teaching and assignments and the course leaders are so supportive of students taking on their own projects and gaining real-world experience.”

Read Gaby’s full profile

By Kath Hartley

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