Record and Release - developing young musicians

,  18 July 2018

Sandra Dartnell is the Creative & Cultural Skills Partnership Manager for the North West. She considers the role that access to guidance on routes to market can play in making sure that young musicians make the most of the platforms and opportunities available to them.

Students from band My Only Solution taking part in the Record and Release pilot. Image Credit: FutureSkills at MediaCityUK
Students from band My Only Solution taking part in the Record and Release pilot. Image Credit: FutureSkills at MediaCityUK

What is Record and Release?

Working with Kycker, Creative & Cultural Skills developed an artist development programme called Record and Release. We did this because we understand that the skills gap which can exist between the making of music and earning money from music is something that disadvantages young people as they try to break into careers as independent musicians.

"Creative & Cultural Skills has worked with Frank Wilkes, the man behind the artist development platform Kycker, for a number of years. Frank has been keen for some time on a project like this that draws upon his knowledge and expertise to help people gain invaluable insights into the music industry.”
Rob West, Programme Director, Creative & Cultural Skills

Together we created a pilot programme which aimed to introduce young people to the modern music business and give them the tools to start and grow their careers. The focus of the Record and Release pilot was to add enterprise experience to college learning, and our National Skills Academy member Salford City College was the first to take advantage of the project.

“The music courses we offer at FutureSkills at MediaCityUK strive to give students a wide scope of experiences within the music industry. The National Skills Academy relationship offered an innovative and engaging opportunity to work on the release of their final products.”
Frank Beaver, music teacher FutureSkills at MediaCityUK

“The programme offered us insight in to what is involved and what goes on behind the scenes, such as intellectual property, development deals, getting tracks on Spotify and how to get playlisted”
Ryan Coop, Lead Singer and Guitarist, My Only Solution

Mentoring students for the music industry

As Kycker took the students through the unique programme the emphasis was on making the experience a real encounter with the modern music business – digital, international, local and continuous. As well as including production assistance for audio and video, release artwork and communication assets, the programme introduced students to: the importance of understanding the value of Iintellectual Property; the methods of monetising a fan base and the practicalities of managing worldwide distribution via major online platforms such as Spotify, itunes, Deezer and other channels.

Students received mentoring on effective planning for release and cycles of promotion through social media and radio leading up to and on from launch.

“Along with creating high quality, relevant assets additional skills are needed in order to create an effective release strategy, cut through the saturated music market and achieve the full potential of your new music. For new and emerging artists, it is vital to have the skills to plan a release. It is also extremely important to understand the concept and value of monetising IP. Both are essential in order to maximise the potential income streams of an artist and build a sustainable business from your music. Many students and emerging artists overlook these things altogether and fail in their music careers before they have even begun.”
Frank Wilkes, Kycker

During the pilot Kycker worked with the National Skills Academy and Salford City College to begin to develop the careers of several new artists from the college across genres including artists folk storyteller The Dove & The Dragon, goth rock trio Dead in Absentia, blue soloist Paul Muldown and alternative rock band My Only Solution.

Listen to these artists’ work:

The project culminated in a live release show at the Ruby Lounge in Manchester.

The impact of the programme

Through this project the National Skills Academy and Kycker demonstrated the importance of access to mentoring and coaching in sector specific business skills, to young musicians of all backgrounds, to their potential to start their own independent music careers.

To wrap up the pilot we asked programme participant Ryan Coop how he felt about his independent music career as a result of the programme

“Record and Release has shown how we can work independently to develop a career and manage our own creative output without having to rely on the big labels. We have put a lot of effort into building a following, recording and promoting and are in complete control of every part of it”
Ryan Coop, Lead Singer and Guitarist, My Only Solution

We spoke to tutor Frank Beaver for his opinion on the outcome and impact of the pilot programme

“It’s difficult to overstate the impact that the development programme has had on our students. Giving the musicians real-world experience and focussing them on the end product allowed them to draw upon the wide range of skills that they had developed during their course of study at FutureSkills. It embodies what we are all about.”
Frank Beaver, music teacher FutureSkills at MediaCityUK

For full details of Record to Release contact

With thanks to Frank Wilkes at Kycker

Rights and royalties for artists

Some advice from Frank at Kycker on rights and royalties for artists

  1. “If you are not currently a member of PRS (Performing Right Society) or PPL, you are missing out on payments for your live performances and radio broadcasts. The money paid to the PRS through these licenses is then available to be claimed by artists and bands who play live, or have their music broadcast publicly. Find out more about PRS and PPL
  2. The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) offers ongoing support and guidance for working musicians. Find out more about the ISM."

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