The Media Playground
As a part of the module I was required to work in a group on a project that would explore our individual career aspirations, that would then be presented in a stall at an event. This required application of team work skills, organisation, and the ability to stick to a planned schedule to get things done.
What we deducted is that each of the members within the group were interested in a different aspect of the media. Therefore, we decided that we would each research what is required to pursue a career in our individual fields and then present them on a collective website in a blog format. At the event we then presented our website to others that are also aspiring to careers in the media and gave them personal advice based upon what each of us had learnt. The advantage of each of us having separate specialisms, is that one of us could help anyone visiting the stall regardless of what they were interested in going into. The industry which I researched was careers involving music in the media industry.
The skills that this project required are:
- Team Work-We frequently met as a group to plan what we wanted to do for the Media Playground and each of us contributed our efforts to the final project.
- Ability to stick to a schedule-In order to get everything done in time we set out specific deadlines for when work was to be completed by in order to work efficiently. These were adhered to with a professional attitude.
- Planning for an event-We had to come up with a concept for our stall and consider logistics such as decorations, props, leaflets, and anything we would need for the event to run smoothly.
- Organisation-organisation was key to this operation as we had to ensure we all knew what we were doing and what the final result would consist of.
- Initiative to conduct research-whilst this was a group project it required each of our individual efforts to make our own contributions based upon each aspect of the media that we had chosen. Sufficient research into the topic was required of each of us into the subject and what advice we could give other people in terms of pursuing careers in that particular sector of the media.
The project overall required us to apply ourselves, similarly to a professional media setting.
I felt our stall was relatively successful as we were able to give advice to students in a similar position to us, based on the research we had done. Rather than this being told by a teacher or a media professional it will have felt more relatable coming from people at the same stage as them.
BBC Music Talks
In carrying out research for the media playground event and in preparation for writing my contributions to our group's blog, I attended a series of talks from industry professionals that involve both media and the music industry. As someone with a passion for both of these and who aspires to combine them in my own future career, this was an ideal opportunity to get advice directly from those that have made it in their fields.
Radio One DJ Annie Mac gave a talk on how she got into radio. She was an incredibly humble personality as she described her beginnings, from frequently going to night clubs in Dublin to discover new dance music to working her way up to today taking on the 7PM weeknight slot on Radio One. She gave a fascinating insight into the inner workings of a radio DJ, and what came across most was that if you are determined to make a career out of something your passionate it is possible with determination and persistence. The main point I took away was to seek opportunities to gain experience in the industry that you want to go into. According to Annie, if you have the 'air miles', then that is what will get attention and allow you to rise up in your given field.
Careers in the music industry talk
As well as the inspiring talk from Annie Mac, I attended a discussion with Jo Whiley and a number of speakers from various positions within the music industry, outside of being an artist.These included Lauren Bren, a music producer at Radio 6 Music,a social media consultant named Nick, Rich Perry a music plugger, and Ally Mccrae an A&R and manager for the band Prides as well as past BBC Radio presenter.
I was particularly fascinated to learn about the music pusher position as it is something I previously had not heard of. Rich's job is to liaison between record labels and radio stations to get their songs playlisted, and to predict what will be commercially viable to push most to stations. This is something I could potentially be interested in pursuing in the future as it combines media and music, and requires attentiveness to the industry that I possess.
I had a lengthy discussion with Ally Mccrae following the talk about what it is like to be a manager and how he progressed to the position he is in today. I enjoyed hearing stories about various tours he has been on with groups as well as responsibilities that I had not considered before, such as booking tours, covering logistics at festivals or tour dates and many more.
What I learnt from this experience is that any job in the music industry requires determination and passion for everything music. It made me aspire even more to get a position in media that combines my passion for music as I believe it is an aspect that I would excel in, as I am constantly attentive to what is going on and am always on the look out for artists up and coming in the scene.
An industry that I am potentially interested in going into is music journalism. Therefore, Before my second year of university I got in touch with West Midlands based online publication Counteract. They have become fairly renowned for their music news, gig reviews, interviews and many other music written pieces and have been established for over 6 years.
A link to Counteract's website is below
The site prides itself on providing a platform for budding writers to gain experience and to have their work published on an established platform, with a relatively large reach of readers. Founded in 2010 by Richard Franks,their aim is to provide contemporary coverage of local news targeting both local and national audiences. Alongside this they also organise gigs and club nights in Birmingham to showcase local up and/or up and coming talent.
With Counteract, I was able to acquire press passes to a multitude of gigs within the West Midlands area. These have included The Japanese House, Ellie Goulding, Walk The Moon, Troye Sivan, Years and Years, Gabrielle Aplin and many more. I also had the opportunity to conduct interviews with American band LANY, Walk The Moon and up and coming act Gengahr. What this opportunity has allowed me to do is gain experience writing at a professional standard and have my work distributed on a platform that is widely read by many people. In interviews I have had to maintain a professional attitude and approach to my interactions with artists, as well as liaison with artists managers to organise logistics of where and when the interview would happen.
Below is a link to a selection of some of my best published pieces