What is the future of the music industry? That was the question posed to an extensive host of music experts, insiders and professionals at the inaugural Appetite for Disruption conference, which welcomed hundreds of students from not only BIMM, from other UK universities and colleges including Brighton and Sussex, Middlesex and the Bournemouth Academy of Modern Music, amongst many others.
Appetite for Disruption was spearheaded by 30 BIMM students and Phil Nelson – our music industry ambassador and co-founder of The Great Escape festival. The event provided a day-long celebration of the changing face of the industry and an opportunity to meet the faces shaping our business.
They included Ruth Barlow, Director of Live at Beggars Group; Beverly Whitrick, Strategic Director at Music Venues Trust; Maria Lallia, Artist Marketing Manager at Deezer; Simon Bush, Head of Social at VMA, and many more. With 19 talks across four rooms, our students were spoilt for choice.
Also present were BIMM staff and alumni, several of whom have gone on to enjoy great success within their chosen fields since leaving us. Among them was our talented ex-student Natasha Bent, who is now a booking agent at the world-famous CODA Music Agency [First Aid Kit, Savages, FKA Twigs, David Rodigan, etc.]. Speaking after the event, she told BIMM:
“My panel discussed a very important side of the live industry; it focused on grassroots venues and having well-educated industry people who could teach the kids about the background of what a grassroots venue, the challenges they face and actually positive actions that everybody can do to help and deal with these issues.
“I think this could become one of the most important conferences. Having started at BIMM when it first opened many, many years ago, it was actually through people coming here and talking about what they did in their job and their position that allowed me to understand the business.”
“Phil Nelson, who is one of my biggest mentors, gave me my first job and if there aren’t things like this, then kids aren’t going to be able to learn and understand. I mean it sounds very cheesy but they are the future generations, so it’s our responsibility to give back.”
But it wasn’t just new faces – our BIMM-sponsored event also saw appearances from several industry legends too, including a keynote speech from Stevie Wonder’s manager, Keith Harris OBE. Harris’s CV reads like a who’s who of illustrious stars, including Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye, so it was an honour to hear from him; as it was all of our guests.
Reflecting on the success of last month’s sell-out conference, which was only made possible with help from our Event Management, Music Business and Music Journalism students, was Vaseema Hamilton – our Business Development & Creative Careers Director. She told BIMM:
“Today’s conference made it more than clear that not only do many young aspirant professionals have an “appetite for disruption” they are also hungry for knowledge and information about the current music industry. Who better to engage with them than successful young entrepreneurs and industry specialists who are still crafting and developing their own careers?”
We couldn’t agree more. Thanks to all of our panellists and guests, and to everyone who attended and left inspired after a day of networking. Thanks also to our sponsors UK Music, Read Audio, Help For Musicians and our hard-working student organisers, who worked tirelessly on the day to provide industry guest liaison, production and stage management.