This week's Rising Star is AIM membership administrator Callum Johnson. Find out why he believes the independent sector is magic here...
How did you break into the industry?
I started volunteering at AIM events while studying at the Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM). I got on really well with the team and became events intern before being offered a role as membership administrator. While at university, I set up a management company, which represents underground artists, focusing on hip-hop and jazz.
How important is AIM to the biz?
It’s essential. AIM is striving towards an industry where talent has a clear route to the top. It exists to ensure that, regardless of genre, background or location, everyone has access to the best deals, funding opportunities and the knowledge to grow their business, as well as networking opportunities. It’s been a great time to join the team as AIM has introduced new initiatives focused on music entrepreneurs, like free digital piracy protection, a research project called Mapping The Digital Supply Chain and AIM House at The Great Escape.
How can the indie sector thrive?
Partnerships are key. It’s crucial that the independent community is aligned with the right people. There’s so much to be learned from sharing ideas. This year, our CEO Paul Pacifico joined the board at the Creative Industries Federation. With AIM’s partnership with the Digital Catapult, we’re bringing together the digital and commercial expertise of our members with the most exciting start-ups. We can harness a collective power that allows for greater achievements for all.
What issues does the sector face?
There are always loads! At the moment, we’re focusing on the copyright review in Brussels as, without a proper legal framework for intellectual property, we’re all in trouble! Closer to home, access to finance, funding and managing cashflow are huge challenges for smaller independents and self-releasing artists. We run AIM Academy workshops on these topics and other key areas to bridge the gap. Despite the adversities, the sector has never been stronger. I’m looking to the future with optimism.
What makes indie music magic?
Its sheer diversity is special; it’s a space that allows for creative freedom and nurtures innovation. I feel that music crafted by artists who have a genuine passion for their art is the most exciting, and these artists are building careers in the indie sector. The jazz movement in London at the moment is truly inspiring.
What’s your biggest ambition?
To make my mark by representing some of the greatest independent talent. After organising Looms’ sold-out London show in February, I’d love to continue to shine a light on underground artists. There’s so much great music hidden on the internet…
CALLUM'S RECOMMENDED TRACK: