YouTube Music's Lizzie Dickson has discussed the success of the company's Accelerator Programme in the wake of its latest milestone.
Launched in 2018 in collaboration with the Music Managers Forum (MMF) as part of YouTube's Futuremaker project, Accelerator is the world’s only independent funding and professional development programme designed exclusively for artist, songwriter, DJ and producer managers.
Offering financial and educational support including 12-month grants of up to £15,000, alongside expert-led professional development training, the initiative has generated numerous good news stories to date.
Two former Accelerators - Clare Wright (Blackstar Management) and Nike Durosaro (Big Drum Entertainment) – currently sit on the MMF board, while other beneficiaries have included representatives of Joy Crookes, Wes Nelson, PinkPantheress, Moses Boyd, Nafe Smallz, Squid, Dry Cleaning and Porridge Radio, as well as Eliza Rose, who scored a No.1 in September with her debut hit B.O.T.A (Baddest Of Them All).
Rose’s manager Callum Reece, who is creative director and co-head of artist development at One House, was part of the inaugural Accelerator class and became the first graduate to lead their client to the top of the UK charts.
There has been incredible success in terms of the accolades that have come out of Accelerator
Lizzie Dickson, YouTube Music
“Three years ago, he came on board for the programme and is now managing a No.1 artist,” said Dickson, YouTube Music's head of UK label relations. “It goes to show that investment in early stage career talent can lead to great things.
"There are so many ways you can look at success, and there has been incredible success in terms of the accolades that have come out of Accelerator. We’ve just had our first No.1 in Eliza Rose and 10% of the Top 50 albums in 2021 were managed by Accelerators."
Dickson helped set up the Accelerator Programme’s alongside YouTube Music’s head of artist relations Roz Mansfield. By 2023, the programme will have supported more than 100 managers from across the UK, with the MMF reporting that 40% of its participants are “from nations and regions outside of London, 43% from Black or ethnic backgrounds and 44% women or gender minorities”.
“It’s helping to bring a more diverse pipeline of talent to the industry,” added Dickson. “All the programmes that we touch, we try and build in diversity as a foundation. Bringing through a more diverse pipeline of execs and artists will only make a more sustainable business for our future.
“It’s been important for us to include the creativity of modern Britain in these programmes and make sure that we’re building a pipeline of talent that is as diverse as possible, to make the music industry as entrepreneurial and reflective of the country as possible. That is incredibly important.”
Long term investment has been really important to us. When we’re looking to bring people on, it’s with an understanding that it takes time
Lizzie Dickson, YouTube Music
Applications for the scheme's fifth year closed on October 24.
“We’re into our fifth year now and sometimes it takes that long for artists to grow and reach those kinds of accolades,” said Dickson, speaking in the new issue of Music Week. “That’s why the long term investment has been really important to us. When we’re looking to bring people on, it’s with an understanding that it takes time. It’s about investing now for the long term and giving them the space to learn and connect.
"You can look at success from an accolades and stats point of view – Grammy, BRIT, Mercury nominations and all of that – but longevity is also part of it.”
The full interview with Dickson appears in the new issue of Music Week.