I learn so much from Entrepreneurship…

The record label project that I run has taught me many lessons about working in the real world, way before I graduate from University. I once attended a conference about music industry practice, and I’ll always remember what one of the panel members said: “What we do isn’t “sexy”… It’s a hard slog!”. This really put me off working in music because I knew he was right, but I persevere…

The Business School at Edge Hill Uni…

The first and most important lesson is “Don’t think! Do!”, or more accurately, “If you have a plan, stick to the plan!”. I find that initially thinking about things is essential, but determining alternatives is not – I mean my biggest weakness that I am currently conquering is Hesitation. I used to say “hesitation costs, ambition earns”, but this is counter productive because ambition requires hesitation to think about it. This is quite a new lesson learned considering I have been running my label for some time now, but currently whenever I come up with a plan using common sense (that’s what “business sense” boils down to, I suppose) not ambition, I go through with it strait away as hesitation will just cost me time I don’t have. This has proved quite an effective way to go about business, and life in general!

A more difficult lesson I learned is “Cut the fat!”. Assertiveness is something I have to use, and I don’t mind being assertive because it gets the job done (unlike aggression and submissiveness of course). It’s a difficult lessons because of when I have to be Ruthless… There were times when I just got told excuse for not doing work after excuse for not doing work, and it did actually guilt trip me into letting it go – And so I have set a reasonable threshold, so there are so many excuses I can accept before I decide to let people go from a project and replace them ASAP. I have to be assertive and, unfortunately, ruthless for the greater good, which can be a harsh lesson for those working in the real world. What has to be done has to be done – There’s no point in many getting slowed down by a few, basically.

The final lesson is that: “It IS a hard slog!”. I have had many difficult problems (and a few successes on the positive side), and admittedly there have been times when I have encountered problems that require WAITING, which is very punishing as technically it’s a problem which I have, but cannot solve myself in 24 hours. I have now accepted that working in the real world is the opposite of easy and all that, but it is because of that that it is rewarding when tricky problems are overcome.

This post is written to inspire those who have not tried doing business projects yet to perhaps have a go at one, and to help those who are already doing business projects through tough times. Business projects do not have to be long term of course; they can be short term like organising a one day charity event etc. I’m not sure if I regret setting up a label or not to be honest – I just see it as an ordinary part time job with challenges 🙂

Festival Season 2014

It’s just a few short months until the music festival season is upon us and if you haven’t already got tickets, now is the time to make up your mind. My first music festival was Leeds Festival in 2009, and I’ve attended every year since. I’ve also been to Glastonbury and Festival Internacional De Benicàssim (or Benicassim Festival)This year I have tickets for Glastonbury and I’m very tempted by the Rock Werchter Festival line up which includes The Arctic Monkeys, Pixies, Babyshambles, The Dropkick Murphys and Kings of Leon. I’ll also probably find myself giving into the temptation of Leeds Festival which is also hosting the Arctic Monkeys this year.

My collection of festival wristbands
My collection of festival wristbands

A music festival is the perfect way to spend the last summer with your friends before you all move away to university. Here are some festivals to consider…

Latitude

Date: 17th-20th July

Location: Suffolk

Line Up: Two Door Cinema Club, Damon Albarn, Tame Impala and Bombay Bicycle Club.

 

Isle of Wight Festival

Date: 12th-15th June

Location: Isle of Wight

Line Up: Biffy Clyro, Calvin Harris, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kings of Leon.

 

Download Festival

Date: 13th-15th June

Location: Derby

Line Up: Avenged Sevenfold, Linkin Park, Aerosmith, The Offpring, Fall Out Boy and Rob Zombie.

 

Reading and Leeds Festival

Date: 22nd-24th August

Location: Reading and Leeds

Line Up: Blink 182, The Arctic Monkeys, The Courteeners, Jake Bugg and Of Monsters and Men.

Me and my friends at Leeds 2010
Me and my friends at Leeds 2010

Glastonbury Festival

Date: 25th-29th June

Location: Pilton

Line Up: Not yet announced.

We spotted a policeman wearing fairy wings at Glastonbury 2010
We spotted a policeman wearing fairy wings at Glastonbury 2010

Rock Werchter

Date: 3rd-6th July

Location: Belgium

Line Up: The Arctic Monkeys, Pixies, Babyshambles, The Dropkick Murphys and Kings of Leon.

 

Benicassim festival

Date: 17th-20th July

Location: Spain

Line Up- Not yet announced.

Taking a break from the sun under a shelter made from bin bags at Benicassim 2013
Taking a break from the sun under a shelter made from bin bags at Benicassim 2013 

I can’t wait for the summer.

Running a record label and other musical activities…

I’m more of an academic person than an “entrepreneur” or “music producer”; However, I do try to engage with as much music industry practice as I can. This post outlines the activities I do around my Uni course, that are related to the subject I study – Cultural Studies. Uni life is not all essays and presentations (although I like doing essays and presentations 🙂 ) !

2014-01-15 17.21.12
Me outside the EHU Creative Edge building – in there are two recording studios for music students like me to use.

My record label

I was inspired to set up my own record label when I heard two music technology students set one up as a final year project, and that label was seriously well done in my opinion (shame it’s no longer active but the inspiration is still there). Mine is called Melted Leather Records (I’m not putting in a link as I’m not self advertising) which pushes niche genres (ie music you’ve probably never heard of like chiptune, breakcore, dark pop ect) to a wider audience – the idea is that a genre goes from invisible to visible, so if listeners like that music then they can seek out more of it which (in theory) encourages sustainability in the music world. This year I finish organising the label’s debut release compilation which saw me building rapport with artists I have never met before (one was overseas), handling budgets and encouraging everyone to pull their weight. Bear in mind this is way easier said than done. While I’m not a big fan of the law and finance aspects of enterprise (like negotiating funding & fees, working out contracts ect.), I really like the relationship management and creative marketing aspects. Problems are regularly occurring, but it’s awesome when I find ways to solve those problems. I have no idea how long my label will last, but even if it does fade after one or two releases at least I have some business experience to impress future employers.

Uni record label

Speaking of record labels, the University finally has there own! It’s called The Label Recordings, and it’s managed by EHU lecturers and marketing staff, and run by students. From what I know, they are scouting for an artist to sign – preferably a band so they can organise live tours and recordings. I’m more of an observer than an actual participant as of course I am busy with my own label, however I am positive that the label can bring great music to audiences and good experience to it’s contributors.

Music production

I am also trying to be more active in the field of music production. I think production work is one of those things where everything is difficult and trap filled, but when all the knowledge is gained then everything is more straight forward. I am working on an EP for my course but I hope to make two more before the end of the semester. I want to try a little live performance as well as apparently it’s great… but we’ll see about that…

So I hope this gives some inspiration to participate in other projects around your Uni course – hopefully those activities will complement your CV and really impress potential graduate employers.

Faye’s Blog – Trying to be a more active Film Student

So recently I have been a bit of a rubbish film student. I haven’t seen barely any new films that have recently been out in the cinema! Mainly because the cinema is so expensive these days. But luckily my boyfriends friend works at the Odeon back home and whenever my boyfriend helps him out with some of his uni work he gives him a couple of free tickets which is really awesome! So me and my boyfriend went to see Looper last week. And I loved it, I thought that it was such a fantastic film! I feel bad that I haven’t been to see more films now though because I have a feeling I have missed out on a lot recently! Especially when everyone on my course is discussing a lot of the new films.

I am also going to be filming my brother’s band when they are in the recording studio in a couple of weeks time. We are hoping to film one or two music videos for a couple of their original songs! So that should be fun, I’m really looking forward to it. Going to try and get some photo’s of them as well 🙂