On the 24 January, myself and Emrys were lucky enough to be invited to Perfect Score in Leicester. It was a day where students considering a career in music or the creative industries got to hear keynotes and panels as well as attend workshops. We were also treated to a showcase from students on a project run by Pedestrian 1998.
The music industry is currently worth £5.2 billion to the UK economy, while the creative industries as a whole contribute a whopping £101 billion. Creative industries can often seem nearly impossible to get into, unlike more linear careers like medicine.
This is one of the biggest barriers that prevents students going onto work in the creative industries. The existence of days like Perfect Score, where students can make meaningful connections with industry heavyweights like PRS, PPL and UK Music are vital. They’re exactly what the creative industries need to continue their development and encourage young people to work in them.
As a young person studying a music business degree I’ve worked hard to have the opportunities at all the amazing festivals and for the amazing bands and publications that I have had. But whenever I go to networking events, even with all the skills I have to offer people there, I still feel out of my depth and intimidated to the extreme.
If I’d had the opportunity to attend days like Perfect Score, with my teachers and school friends I would be so far ahead of the game. Furthermore, I would’ve realised years sooner that a career in music was a legitimately viable option. Something that would’ve saved me years of breakdowns over A Level Chemistry (sorry Mrs H!).
After a keynote from Louise Rickwood (Creative Careers) on all of the possibilities that jobs in the creative industries can bring, it’s safe to say even my mind was blown. Sometimes working in such a niche area of music, you can forget just how big the ‘creative’ umbrella is. For example, museum collection curators fall under the same umbrella as my job as a music journalist! Then after a short break of informal networking students got to split up into three groups for a series of workshops.
My personal favourite was on the role of Stage Managers. As someone who’s worked closely with them I take every chance I get to shout about their importance! To sum up an hour’s workshop… essentially any show you’ve ever been to just wouldn’t have happened without one. From classical orchestral symphonies to The Pyramid stage at Glastonbury there’s a talented Stage Manager behind every single one.
Many students were naturally surprised to find out just how crucial some behind the scenes roles were, and it was so rewarding to chat with them about career options if the spotlight isn’t for you!
Then after lunch we moved onto a short and sweet panel with grime artist Skatta sharing his knowledge and experience of the music industry firsthand. The main topic of discussion? Managers and Labels. More specifically, if they’re really necessary?
It seems the current industry trend of DIY artists using companies like ‘The Orchard’ that offer ‘Label Services’ is only really known about within the industry. So, when panelists got to tell aspiring artists that just starting by yourself is key I knew that the students would leave feeling positive about their future!
Skatta also pointed out that it’s important to know when you need to bring people on board for certain projects too. But most importantly, always make sure that potential managers/agents can bring something to your table otherwise they’re not really necessary.
Finally, to close the day, we were all treated to a showcase from students on one of Pedestrian 1998’s artist development programmes. Full of promising talent on Leicester’s rising rap and R&B scene it was an utter delight to see just how impactful properly funded arts education can be on young people.
In order for the music and creative industries to continue their rapid development it’s imperative barriers of entry and removed. It’s my hope that inspiring events like Perfect Score can continue to do just that.