Live Q&A: Career options in the music industry

Heard the one about the candidate who paid more than £3,000 for a placement with the hip-hop artist Jay-Z’s record company Roc Nation?

Well, it’s quite an extreme example, but it just goes to show the lengths some folks will go to try and land their dream job.

While they won’t all have deep pockets in common, one thing those aspiring to break into the music industry are likely to share is a knowledge of just how tough it can be.

Alex Eden-Smith, who is now marketing manager at EMI, told career website icould he spent a lot of time at school thinking “No-one gets a job in the music industry”, or that it was “too hard” to get into. And Sarah Woodhead, who is vice president of VIP experiences at Live Nation, explained how it wasn’t easy getting to where she is today, saying: “There’s so much competition it will make your head spin.”

Still, Alex, Sarah and many others have managed to find work. It’s not impossible, says freelance journalist Anna Britten, if you gain the right experience and go about your job search the right way. In an article on icould Anna, who has spent many years working in the music industry, advised: “The good news is, if you plot carefully, an exciting and varied career is usually in reach of anyone with the right know-how and personality.”

If you to know more about what it takes to find industry jobs and how to beat the competition, join our experts in a live Q&A on Friday 5 August. We’ll be examining a the range of behind the scenes jobs and the skills you’ll need to get them, so join us from 1pm until 4pm – advance questions are welcome below.

To keep up-to-date with our regular Q&A sessions, you can now sign-up for our newsletter here.

Our panel:

Mel Thornton is head of work-based learning at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music (BIMM). Mel uses contacts generated from 15 years experience in the music industry to generate work placements and work-based learning opportunities for students at BIMM in Brighton and Bristol.

Andy Farnell is a computer scientist specialising in audio digital signal processing and synthesis. He is the author of Designing Sound, which teaches students and professional sound designers to understand and create sound effects. His is a visiting professor at several European universities, resident lecturer at SAE Institute and a consultant to game and audio technology companies.

Morna Cook is director of HR at Universal Music UK. She has worked in HR for the creative industries for 18 years.

Robert West is head of programmes for the National Skills Academy Creative & Cultural – an industry led organisation, focusing on live music and backstage production which produces the website

Charlotte Penton-Smith joined music charity Future Talent in 2008 having previously managed the opera development programme of the Royal Opera House.

Mark Gurney is head of apprenticeships at Livity. He created and runs the Music4Good programme, which offers paid, accredited music business apprenticeships across the sector. He also runs digital training programmes with Google.

Luke Armitage looks after the marketing interests for the whole of Metropolis Group, which incorporates the studios and mastering house, creative agency, record labels, educational academy, TV formats, and international strategy.

Mark Blackstock is the full-time general manager of Wolverhampton Civic Hall and outdoor events manager for Wolverhampton City Council. Mark is also a member of the Creative and Cultural board at the National Skills Academy.

Sophie Lucas works as web and content manager at careers charity, Her job involves looking after the website and also writing articles about different careers.

Cherry Shaw works as head of communications for icould. Cherry recently launched a new campaign called Music Insiders, which highlights the careers of people who work with, and support, music artists.

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