Viewpoint: UK Music's Frank Hamilton on how mentoring can bring change in the music industry

Viewpoint: UK Music's Frank Hamilton on how mentoring can bring change in the music industry

UK Music's Futures Group have published a mentoring guide aimed at anyone seeking a career in the music industry.  Mentoring In Music was led by recording artist Frank Hamilton, who also runs his own label Bedroom Indie, and below he was written a column for Music Week arguing why good mentoring is essential for the future of the Music Industry.

Rejection is common, in life, as well as the music industry. You don’t enter an industry like music expecting an easy ride, but it can still be immensely frustrating and disheartening, especially if you don’t already have connections to guide you.  
Mentoring can be an invaluable source of both guidance and support, which is why I created Mentoring In Music – A DIY Guide, as part of my role in the UK Music Futures Group, to make it easy for anyone, anywhere to seek out their own mentoring arrangements.

I know first-hand how hard it can be to break into this industry. As an artist, I was always told one thing: “sell the first 10,000 copies and someone will step in." So I did, selling 15,000 copies of my first album with no marketing spend.

I also had a truly unique story – the first person to release a song a week for a whole year before turning the ‘best of’ into a #1 album on iTunes and shifting over 100,000 single downloads. Despite all my efforts, no one stepped in and ‘no’ was still all I heard.
I’ve applied to several mentoring programmes over the years was unsuccessful every time. It’s no one’s fault. Most schemes are hugely over-subscribed and under-resourced, but that doesn’t make hearing ‘no’ any easier.

When it comes to mentoring and the talent pipeline, I think we could be doing far better.
The industry needs to nurture both emerging and existing talent. Not only so we can find the artists of tomorrow, but also the next CEOs, business leaders and industry innovators. It’s important that our industry reflects the diversity of our country at all levels and mentoring can help us get there.  
I’m not criticising the work already being done when it comes to mentoring - far from it. This guide was inspired by programmes like she.grows and Cre8ing Vision, and the accompanying directory is designed to shine a light on the wonderful people already doing wonderful things.


When it comes to mentoring and the talent pipeline, I think we could be doing far better.

Frank Hamilton, UK Music Futures Group

The guide is designed with practical use in mind and contains an explanation of what mentoring is, the many benefits and most importantly a step-by-step guide on how to go about it from both sides - both being a mentor – and finding one.
Next year it’ll be the 10th anniversary of #OneSongaWeek and while I’ll probably never understand it, I’ve grown to accept the brutal side of this industry and redefine what success looks like. Firstly, I’m alive and well, which hasn’t always been a given. Secondly, I’m beholden to no one, with a loyal army of fans that keep me in business from one record to the next.
If this guide helps just one person to understand the process and make it seem more achievable, then I’ve done what I set out to do. In truth, I hope it can inspire many to seek out their own mentoring arrangements and improve their chances of success, both personally and professionally.
If you’ve read this far, please consider sharing the guide or better still, offer up some of your time and expertise to help others. It doesn’t need to be a huge commitment and we all know someone who could use a hand or some mentoring. There are benefits as much for the mentors as for the mentees. 
I’ll start - by offering my time to a few independent, self-releasing artists. My contact details are in the guide or find me on socials. I’m in the midst of recording an album at the moment, but I’ll find some time to be the change I’d like to see. Why not join me and help mentor some of the talents of tomorrow?

Download Mentoring In Music – A DIY Guide here.

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