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Belfast Course Update

After a hugely successful first course in Belfast, Managing a Music Business Enterprise (MMBE) returned to Oh Yeah Music Centre on Thursday 28th November.

Although the course is already underway, a small number of part-funded places on the course are still available, anyone interested should contact Jonny Gray, jonny@generator.org.uk, for more information on the course and enrolment. Anyone joining the course at this stage will given ample opportunity to catch up through tutorial sessions and the online Learning Zone resources.

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MMBE Taster Session at Belfast Music Week

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After a hugely successful first course delivered in Belfast, we are pleased to announce that Managing a Music Business Enterprise (MMBE) is coming back for a second beginning in November.

The course begins on Thursday 28th November, but there will be a FREE Taster Session held at Oh Yeah Music Centre on Tuesday 12th November, 5pm-7pm as part of Belfast Music Week.

This session is designed to give those attending an overview of what the course has to offer and how it can assist them with progressing their career within the music industry.

The taster 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 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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MMBE Course Comes to Belfast

Following the continued success of Generator’s Managing a Music Business Enterprise (MMBE) qualification, we are extremely proud to announce the course is now going to be rolled out in Northern Ireland.

In a partnership between Generator, Creative & Cultural Skills and Department for Employment and Learning (DEL), the MMBE course will be delivered in Belfast at the Oh Yeah Music Centre beginning on 23rd May.

Stuart Bailie CEO of Oh Yeah said, “We have great resources of musical talent in Northern Ireland, but there’s a lack of business expertise when it comes to bringing the artists to market. In the past, we haven’t encouraged music entrepreneurs and we’ve lost many of them to London, Dublin and beyond. This MMBE course will help to fill an important gap and in the long run may bring the revenue from management, publishing and other sources back here.”

MMBE will be hosting a free of charge taster session on Tuesday, April 23rd at The Oh Yeah Music Centre between 5pm-7pm, this is designed to give those attending an overview of what the course has to offer and how it can assist them with progressing their career within the music industry.

To sign up for the MMBE taster course please contact jonny@generator.org.uk

*Please note spaces are limited.

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Last Chance for MMBE Gateshead at 2013 Fees

New government legislation and funding regulations mean that fees for level 3 courses in the UK will be changing. From August 2013 the Skills Funding Agency will no longer be contributing any subsidy towards these courses and instead all beneficiaries will be required to take out a student loan to cover course fees.

The Managing a Music Business Enterprise (MMBE) course starting at Gateshead College on 10th April is the last opportunity to take advantage of the subsidies before the new rules take effect from August. Anyone interested in taking the MMBE course is recommended to take advantage of the current subsidies now while they’re on offer.

Call Jonny on 0191 255 4469 or email jonny@generator.org.uk to find out more about the course.

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Funding Available for New Music Businesses

If you read Generator’s blog/newsletter The Gen then you’ll be well up to date with the new SME Access to Finance Schemes Report, which has this week been released by The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). In general terms, the report is a guide for labels, management companies, recording studios and other small music businesses to various lending and investment schemes.

Often, for a new business, looking at possible avenues for funding, or ways to generate some startup income is a daunting and rather confusing prospect. 

Jo Dipple

There are many questions to ask, such as how much money can a business get? Where can it get these funds from? What are the terms and conditions of getting these funds? UK Music CEO Jo Dipple suggests that ‘this is the Government’s attempt to make things a lot easier and put all the available funding opportunities into one comprehensive document’.

This is therefore good time to start up a music business, and there is no better way to equip you for the music industry than the MMBE Course. If you’d like to hear more about the course, take a look at our previous post (which includes a brief summary of what the course contains, including a list of all the units), and call Jonny on 0191 255 4469 or email jonny@generator.org.uk.

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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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Michael Hughes – MMBE Graduate

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We recently caught up with Michael Hughes, graduate of MMBE, who was awarded a £5000 start-up loan from Virgin Money for his business Music Tutor Direct. Initial pessimism from those outside the business has made Michael even more determined to make it a success. Boasting over 125 clients, the business is certainly on its way up.

What is the programme you have gone through with Virgin Money?

The programme that I went through is called ‘Start up Loans’. It’s brand new and I’m one of the first people to go through it in the first batch of businesses. Only 35 businesses have actually been a part of it so far before it gets rolled out properly. The reason we’re getting so much publicity is because it’s new, and to advertise the start up loans, so the fact that they’re choosing us is great.

Did Branson offer you any pearls of wisdom when you met him?

I went into tunnel vision and went straight to shake his hand, and he almost dropped the cheque!

He was saying well done, and good luck for the future. He replied to a tweet I sent him not long before, so he said keep tweeting and keep in touch. He’s not an intimidating character to be around, really down to earth, and seems really people orientated. He’s known through Virgin as Mr. Yes, and I hope one day I’m known through Music Tutor Direct as Mr. Why Aye!

What do you plan to do with the £5000?

We’re going to use it mainly to gain more customers, and to improve the website and the management of the business. We’re growing that quickly I’ve now got to utilize technology to come in and do the hard work so I’m using things like an iPad now, whilst before it was all on paper. I was using the whole Amazon Rainforest!

Before I set it up people said it was a bad idea, and we then also had 7 months with no customers… but since March 2012 to the present we’ve gained 128 customers. Bit of a ‘I told you so’ to some people, and it illustrates the quick growth that Music Tutor Direct has had.

How did MMBE help you with Music Tutor Direct?

To be honest what kept me going was the support from MMBE. After going through the course it gave me some confidence. Deep down I knew it was going to be successful. The MMBE gave me more knowledge about the music industry. If you want to be successful then you’ve got to have the knowledge, or it’s the equivalent of having a one hit wonder like ‘I Am the One and Only’ but in business!

Tell us a little more about the business model of Music Tutor Direct…

The best way I can describe the Music Tutor Direct business model is that it’s changing the way people are learning to play an instrument.  Normally music tutors would work in a 5-10 mile radius but with Music Tutor Direct we can cover a much wider area. In the near future we’re hoping to expand outwards, so definitely within this year we’re going to be opening it up in more city centres. A big advantage to Music Tutor Direct is that because there are plenty of tutors covering various areas, we don’t need the main premises; all the central business from my end is done from home. Therefore a massive overhead is gone and it helps to put more money into the actual business itself.

Any highlights then so far?

Well because of all the negativity that was sent towards the business plan in the first place, if someone had said in my second year of business I would meet Richard Branson I would be like…erm! We’ve also had publicity in the Sunday Sun, which I’ve framed.

To be honest there are not many businesses that have done what we have and it’s not only because I’ve kept so dedicated, but also because the tutors are so fantastic. They’re the unsung heroes. I ask them what could be done better, and what we do wrong and they tell me. They’ve really got behind Music Tutor Direct and they are one of the things that have made it so successful.

Getting a virtual office to take and organize customer contact details is a big help. The future is looking really fantastic, especially because we’re still growing in one of the biggest recessions that we have ever had. There is also something planned for the future in our services and I can’t wait to reveal it very soon. It’s the next step in Music Tutor Direct.

Sounds brilliant Michael, anything else you’d like to add?

I’d just like to say thank you to everyone, who instead of dismissing it as a business, accepted it and helped it grow. Thanks to Generator, MMBE, and everyone who believed in it. We can’t wait to expand even more and provide an even bigger and better service.

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Midemlab 2013

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Music Ally recently posted a page featuring all 30 music startup pitches from Midemlab 2013. It features many of the best new companies, services and apps in the world of music, such as instruMagic, jamplify, Stagelt (who all won the main categories).

Audience.fm, launched this year, won the Coup de Couer prize. What’s interesting is that Audience.fm integrates all the social media platforms to bring the artist and fan together. So a fan can engage heavily with its artist, and more importantly an artist can identify who its fans actually are and create effective campaigns based on this information. It gets to see who its ‘hardcore fans’ are for instance, so they can ensure that the fan doesn’t miss out on anything important or exciting. It allows the fan to create a profile that seamlessly links SoundCloud, Spotify and other streaming services to collate who they listen to most, as well as measuring artist-fan engagement across these sites and others like Facebook. Its innovative in the sense that it acts as a bridge between all the platforms, which works in a way that’s beneficial for both parties. Wired spoke to CEO Jules Terrien when Audience.fm was featured on their Startup of the Week, and when asked what the biggest misconception was about Audience.fm his reply was that ‘we’re yet another social network for music. We do have social and gamification features but we primarily use them to make sure that users have a seamless experience, that their privacy is respected, and that they get the rewards they’ve earned. Audience.fm’s core is the artist and label features (analytics, fan targeting, and the reward system); our business model is solely B2B’.

The site is one of many new businesses in the music industry that is seeing and acting upon the value in online fan interaction and engagement. Have a look at the three videos Music Ally have posted (if you have a spare 6 hours!). Which ones do you think were the best?

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Stewart Platt – MMBE Gateshead Graduate

Stewart Platt - MMBE Graduate

Good to hear that Stewart is putting his knowledge from the MMBE Gatehshead course to good use in securing additional funding for Future Proof!

“I started by managing a couple of friends who were DJs and quickly realized that it was a lot tougher than I had thought. Being part of the course offered me the opportunity to make new contacts and develop the skills needed to create a sustainable business, inspiring me to start my own record label, and event and artist management company.”

“My coursework formed the basis of my funding application to O2 Think Big, my platform for launching Future Proof, an event which supports up and coming DJs to get the break into the industry that they need.”

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by | Thursday February 21st 2013 · 3:59 pm