The biz's brightest new talents tell their stories. This week it's the turn of James Osgood, music coordinator at United Talent Agency.
How did you break into the industry?
I secured a six-month full-time internship at UTA within the classical ...
Last month, Tiffany Calver starred on the cover of Music Week and praised her generation to the hilt.
In an interview about her journey to her dream industry job, the 24-year-old presenter of BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Rap Show couldn’t hide her excitement about the success she shares with her fellow up-and-comers. For Calver, this is the finest music industry crop in years, and her story has attracted the attention of executives across the business. But is the new generation shaping up to be the best yet? And is the industry more open than ever to new talent?
Kate Reilly (pictured), director of people and organisational development at PPL, kicks off Music Week’s examination of where the biz is at with recruitment in 2019 with an emphatic ‘yes’.
“There has been a lot of focus on fair access to all for entrance-level jobs. There is now more awareness of diversity issues in the industry than previously, so there are more initiatives ensuring people from a range of backgrounds have an equal chance of gaining employment and experience in the music industry,” Reilly begins.
“One example of this is apprenticeships. Thanks to a focus from UK Music, supported by PPL in recent years, as well as the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in 2017, there is a host of new opportunities available.”
Calver has been touring with West London MC Fredo, who the DJ first encountered at college in Westminster, where drill star Headie One also studied. Many among the new wave of UK rappers are surrounding themselves with trusted friends, offering a route into the industry to those who may not otherwise have had one. J Hus, managed by Music Week Rising Stars and Music Week Awards nominees Kilo Jalloh and Moe Bah, is a case in point.
Reflecting on this trend, Handle Recruitment’s David Johnston tells Music Week that, “Emerging artists have more options around releasing and sharing their content, so it’s less about hiring ‘friends’ and more about the ability to network in a meaningful way and build creative teams within your network. People are encouraged to go out and make connections.”
Handle partners with organisations including UK Music, BIMM, Urban Development and Young Guns Network to connect with new talent. Johnston says such initiatives are designed to “offer opportunities for young professionals to attend events providing really practical advice on how to succeed and progress within the industry”.
Johnston believes the recruitment landscape is shifting in 2019, as established routes are broadening, giving a “wider, more diverse range of people” the chance to break through. And it’s not just entry-level positions that are being affected by the changes.
“Now more than ever, at more senior levels, the industry recognises the value of welcoming individuals, with complementary skillsets, from outside music,” says Johnston.
“As the industry continues to innovate, creatives are crossing over from other businesses rather than via a bottom-up route, bringing fresh perspectives and ideas to nourish the creative process.”
Indeed, Helen Ward, managing director at music industry and media recruitment specialist The Music Market, says we’re in “a highly competitive multi-media age driven by the need to provide an immediate and seemingly inexhaustible amount of content”.
Ward argues that artists need to have trusted teams around them who are “skilled in new technologies and are financially viable in a time when marketing and development budgets are under pressure.”
Moreover, she stresses that the industry “is always open” to those with knowledge, a work ethic and passion.
“The hours do not suit everyone, the nature of the business on occasion requires people to work at any time required,” she continues. “Whilst this may appear glamorous, it requires real commitment. It is not enough to love music, you have to be up to speed on all aspects of popular culture including fashion, art, digital, technology and broadcast media of all types. The broader your scope and knowledge, the more you bring to an employer.”
Kate Dosanjh, operations manager at accountancy firm CC Young, also emphasises the importance of exposing the reality behind music’s rock‘n’roll image.
“One of the traps people can fall into is thinking that working for a music industry-related company will be all glitz and glamour,” she says. “Ultimately, people need to enjoy the underlying role, for example, being an accountant, as much, if not more than, the industry in which the role is being performed.”
That said, Dosanjh adds that an intrinsic understanding of music and its value is necessary across the business.
“It helps to link the various sectors of the music industry together, ultimately working towards the same goal, but in the knowledge that everyone has a part to play,” she says. “It is best when the different roles in the business sectors work together as a cohesive team to help the artist.”
It seems newcomers to the business have more and more to offer, wherever their entry point.
Silvia Gargiulo, founder/director of BIY People & Talent, works across recruitment, human resources and people development.
She agrees that the industry is now “more open”, putting this down in part to the prominence of social media and digital platforms. This, Gargiulo adds, is dovetailing with more traditional music biz values.
Reeling off a list of skills common among new executives including content creation, curation and general business understanding, Gargiulo says, “It’s about being proactive, self-motivated and actually doing it, which certainly isn’t a new idea in the music business!”
BIY People aims to equip young people entering the industry with resilience, not forgetting “the absolute basics that we take for granted like organisation, effective communication and managing expectations”.
Gargiulo’s company also seeks to be the link between candidate and employer, to ensure clarity of communication. “That can be anything from educating employers about what a good recruitment process is, to how to be a good people manager, or helping entry level candidates be truly work-ready,” she says.
BIY partners with BIMM on its Future Talent Programme, a service aimed at smoothing the graduate recruitment process for employers. There are five BIMM colleges in the UK, and each has a team offering support with CVs, mock interviews and assessment centres. Its students undertook 800 work placements in 2018.
Mel Thornton is head of careers & employability at BIMM, and is very clear about what the music business must do to prosper.
“The key to continued success is to inspire young people to believe that there is a place for them and to equip them with the required soft skills, work experience and resilience to succeed,” says Thornton.
“BIMM supports UK Music’s Talent Pipeline campaign, the nature of the music business means there’s always a need for young talented people, but as music features less and less in classrooms, we all need to ensure that the workforce of the future knows about the opportunities available and how to access them.”
While Thornton acknowledges “great support” from companies including PRS Foundation, the Music Venues Trust and BBC Introducing, she says the onus falls primarily on major labels and larger companies to open the door to new talent.
Thornton is happy to report that the majors are “stepping up brilliantly,” citing investment in internships, mentoring programmes and working more closely than ever with education providers such as BIMM.
RCA’s Parris O’ Loughlin-Hoste, crowned Rising Star at Music Week’s Women In Music Awards in 2018, said “the future is female” in her winner’s speech, and her rise through the Sony ranks shows what’s possible.
Thornton believes “there will always be demand for entry-level jobs” and notes significant opportunity in digital marketing and the live sector in particular. Word of mouth and communication, unsurprisingly, continue to be of paramount importance.
Where, then, does all that leave music industry recruitment as 2019 rolls on? One certainty is that the sector will continue to roll with the changing times.
The Music Market’s Ward has been in business for 30 years, and says “recruitment has changed beyond all recognition, becoming far more professional and targeted.”
“External agencies have had to raise their game as the growth of in-house recruiters has reduced the roles outsourced,” Ward continues.
“In 2019, it is not good enough to be inexperienced but enthusiastic – roles are becoming more specialised and candidates need to be able to demonstrate that they have the right skills.”
Looking towards the future, PPL’s Reilly says the industry “is making positive strides” by asking “important questions” around diversity, equality and unconscious bias.
PPL received the Company Award For Diversity In The Workplace at Music Week’s Women In Music event last year, and Reilly says diversity is at the top of the agenda.
“The industry can shake associations with a lack of diversity and equality and it is already making progress,” she explains. “UK Music’s 2018 Music Industry Workforce Diversity Survey revealed representation of BAME and women is on the up.”
However, the report also revealed a lower representation of women aged 35 and above and said BAME representation in the 45-65 age groups is still lower than the UK population average. “There is still work to do,” says Reilly.
BIY Talent’s Gargiulo has a simple message on the subject: “We must all be advocates, we all have a responsibility to call out inequality and help others.”
Handle’s Johnston supports the point, while praising the industry for work done so far. “Isn’t it unfair to accuse the music industry of not progressing?” he asks. “We’d like to think the days of nepotism and private schoolboys hiring ‘someone like me’ are well behind us. Diversity is the major topic of change and continues to be a focus.”
Handle recently launched its second mentoring programme, Creative Breakthrough, to help nurture the next generation of female leaders, while the company is working with clients to support wellbeing. “Burn-out is a common feature of candidates we see looking for an alternative to a career in music,” Johnston says.
Driven by its commitment to support, opportunity and commitment to better diversity and modernisation, music industry recruitment is pushing for a better future.
PPL’s Reilly offers a rousing statement in conclusion.
“Why do people go to work?” she asks. “They want to be successful, work with good people and be rewarded and recognised. It is important that we create an environment that allows this to happen, while being respectful, open, honest and fair.”
HIRE AND HIRE… Top names reveal the most exciting aspects of life in music business recruitment…
KATE DOSANJH, operations director, CC Young & Co “As the world continues to become more digitised, the traditional role of an accountant will change. But people will always love music and people will always need accountants. The creative element and the business element of the music industry need not be divided. I’m excited about recruiting and training up the next generation of music industry accountants to help bridge this gap.”
SILVIA GARGIULO, founder, BIY People & Talent “Helping people grow and develop, watching their careers go from strength to strength, and helping them come back stronger from the challenges that work and life have thrown at them. Success is raising others up to help them reach their goals, supporting, empowering and encouraging people to succeed is what it’s all about. If you invest your time in helping people achieve, every little success becomes another piece of happiness that you played a part in making possible. It might sound cheesy, but it’s why I do what I do!”
DAVID JOHNSTON, executive director, Handle Recruitment “It’s a positive time for the industry and it’s an exciting time for recruitment as the music landscape changes the power shift from label to DSPs. Major labels are innovating their structure, which is creating new roles, departments and opportunities that never previously existed, paving the way for talented young people to come through and make their mark on the industry. The content space and platforms such as Vevo, GRM Daily and Kyra are providing additional opportunities amidst the social media age and the consumer’s thirst for all things content. People are investing in the industry for the first time in years.”
KATE REILLY, director of people and organisational development, PPL “For PPL, we are excited to continue our focus on diversity. After winning the Company Award For Diversity In The Workplace at the Music Week Women in Music Awards in 2018, we are keen to keep developing our own initiatives whilst supporting the industry in recruiting the right talent, wherever it can be found.”
MEL THORNTON, group head of careers and employability, BIMM “From speaking to senior HR and recruitment people, it’s clear that diversity and inclusion are big priorities. These guiding principles are throwing up some really exciting and innovative ideas. We’re hearing about mentoring programmes, events discussing the challenges presented and many other interesting discussions. We’re also really inspired by the way employers are embracing mental health and wellbeing as key concerns. Finally, the investment in internship programmes run by major labels and forward-thinking companies like CAA and Spotify are vital. It feels like we’re moving in the right direction as these programmes gather pace.”
HELEN WARD, managing director, The Music Market “There has never been a more creative time in the industry in respect of how music is shared and distributed both visually and audibly. The sheer diversity in the personalities and skills required to drive the machine is exciting and inspiring. We are proud to support and encourage the development of new talent in sponsoring The Rising Star feature and the Rising Star Award at the Women In Music Awards – we fully expect all of these featured individuals to go far… And possibly pay us a visit one day.”
Some of Martin Bandier’s UK colleagues and partners pay tribute to the great man...
“Marty’s a mentor, a motivator and somebody you enjoy winning with. He’s sharp as a tack. Any bad deals I’ve done, he always remembers, but it’s done with humour and motivation. Marty had no reason, when I was a young, slightly club-crazed kid wandering around the New York office, to take any interest in me or listen to my ideas, but he’s always supported me. I’m leaving the company myself and, in this game, you’re always looking forward. But when you look back at what Marty’s achieved – buying Jobete, running EMI, building the No.1 music publisher – it’s pretty incredible.”GUY MOOT, OUTGOING UK MD & PRESIDENT, WORLDWIDE CREATIVE, SONY/ATV; INCOMING CO-CHAIR & CEO, WARNER/CHAPPELL
“I have worked for Marty for longer than anyone else in my career. I have learned more from him than anyone else and, most importantly, I have had more laughs with him than with anyone else. One of my colleagues once said that, if you stand near Marty, good things happen to you. A bit of the angel dust that has landed on him throughout his career lands on you, too. With his generosity and loyal support for those around him, that angel dust has landed on so many of us.” GUY HENDERSON, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL, SONY/ATV
“Marty is recognised as a legend in publishing for good reason. He has a true appreciation for the value of the song and the importance of the songwriter in a world where the focus is more often on sound recordings and artists. That’s why he’s been so successful.” ANTONY BEBAWI, EVP DIGITAL & SOCIETY RELATIONS, INTERNATIONAL & UK, SONY/ATV
“Marty is a true icon, an entrepreneur and pioneer of the music publishing business. I am very lucky to have worked closely with him for the past seven years. He has relentlessly fought for songwriters in the constantly changing musical landscape and working with him has been a complete honour and a total privilege.” DAVID VENTURA, UK HEAD OF A&R, SONY/ATV
“Marty will be missed at Sony/ATV – he has always been a presence in Ed’s career and always made time for us. His knowledge, wisdom, and some great stories, were always gratefully received.” STUART CAMP, ED SHEERAN’S MANAGER
“I’ve known Marty since the 1980s. He helped drive the Cannes Agreement, the start of a new relationship between publishers and collection societies. I’ve worked for him at EMI and Sony/ATV, but it always felt like I was working with him and the great team he built.” WILLIAM BOOTH, DEPUTY MD, UK, SONY/ATV