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A career in the music business

Part of me is excited for them, another part is understandably anxious.

We can dream for our kids, but we also want to protect them from the dangers that life can throw at you. The dangers of other people, mainly.

When I was a kid I told my Dad I wanted to be a writer and he encouraged me to get an accountancy qualification first, something to fall back on. I didn’t.

In actual fact, the kind of writer I was inspired to be was an American drug fuelled pyschopathic genius called Hunter S Thompson who at one time had a contract out on him by the Hell’s Angels.

One of Thompson’s most famous quotes is actually about the music business: “The music business is a long plastic hallway where whores and pimps run free and good men die like dogs. It also has it’s downsides.” 

And you expect me to be excited?

But at Joe’s graduation ceremony last week we had a real shot of optimism and excitement about what the future could hold.

He’s graduated in Music Business at a specialist music college called BIMM, the British and Irish Institute of Modern Music. He did his final year thesis on the music streaming service, Spotify. 

The degree he now has was awarded by the University of Sussex, but he studied at one of their campuses in Manchester. The others are in cool places like Berlin, London and Dublin.

I say ‘studied at’ but most of the final two years he was stuck in a small student flat in the centre of Manchester, with little human contact. He then had a much nicer shared house opposite Hulme Park. His lectures were on Zoom, his one-to-one tutoring session also either on the phone or over a flimsy WIFI connection.

Part of the appeal of a specialist seat of learning like this is that they have great industry connections, guest lectures, masterclasses and introductions for future job openings. 

By way of example, the breakthrough artist of 2021, Rebecca Lucy Taylor aka Self Esteem was on the BIMM campus recently working with the current performance students and recording a special version of her smash hit I Do This All The Time. 

Joe missed out on experiences like this. 

I don’t blame BIMM for this, I blame COVID. But I hope they are going to come through and provide ongoing support now that he’s got his First Class degree. 

Everything I saw at the graduation ceremony gives me confidence that they will. Nick Donovan, the Principal, seemed like a really decent guy and delivered a very thoughtful and inspirational send off for the Class of 2021. 

But the highlight was the guest motivational speech from the Happy Mondays singer Rowetta. She was passionate and considerate; she urged hard work and team spirit, but spoke with such deep knowledge about the rough and smooth of the music business. 

I’ve always liked her. As well as having an amazing voice, she’s got an even bigger heart. I know that first hand because she gave her time generously to be a judge in a charity music talent show I helped organise in 2010. She is also one of the industry specialists who gives back the love to students in Manchester and helps them out.

I’ve learnt a lot about the power of music over the last two years from doing this show. Last week I felt a lot better about my lads being part of that future. Thanks Ro.

You can listen to Michael Taylor and Neil Summers on Music Therapy on Tameside Radio 103.6FM on Sunday evenings from 9pm to 11pm. Click here to subscribe and catch up on previous shows.

Michael Taylor (left) and Neil Summers.


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