In this instalment of our Featured Alumni series, we catch up with Music Business alumnus Ryan Ottley-Booth!
A recent graduate, Ryan finished ACM in 2015 with a BA (Hons) in Music Business & Innovation. We caught up with him to find out what he’s been up to since graduating, and also to get his thoughts on ACM and his advice for those looking to get into the music industry.
Hi Ryan! Tell us a bit about your background, and why you wanted to work in the music industry?
Having completed a degree in Music Business and Innovation at ACM, I currently work at Carlin Music Corporation, an independent publisher based in Chalk Farm, with offices in the US and France. I’ve been involved in music in some way from a young age, but this has been my first full-time job in the music industry, and has been a valuable learning experience in terms of how modern music companies operate.
I’ve been involved in music in some way from a young age, and working in this industry allows me to stay close to something I care deeply about whilst also providing me with a number of interesting potential career paths. The industry faces new challenges nearly every day, so it will be incredibly tough work that is ultimately fulfilling.
What are your aspirations for the future?
I intend to work either in the legal and business affairs department at a record label or music publishers, or to work at a law firm that has a large presence in the copyright and IP areas. The main goal for me to is to use the skills gained at ACM and those I am currently learning, to protect the rights of songwriters and artists. Eventually, I would like to set up a pro bono centre to offer free legal advice to those who have an interest in the music industry.
How did your course prepare you for life in the music industry?
When I started my degree at ACM, I had no idea about how the music industry worked. I had my own preconceptions, but these were mostly false and I was able to learn the most vital facts concerning the music business. The biggest impact the course had was on my pessimism towards certain companies and what they meant for the industry.
For example, before I started the course, I was under the impression that streaming was going to be hugely damaging; clearly I was wrong. The course taught me to consider the bigger picture and take all factors into account when making my own mind up about something. Furthermore, the course taught me skills from various areas of the music business which, whilst not necessarily relevant to my current role, have been hugely beneficial in my wider understanding.
The Discovery and Development project enabled me to use my own skills in a group environment, and gain huge amounts of knowledge from the others in my group; the second Live Industry module allowed me to do this again, but had its own challenges in that we were required to organise our own 7-day tour; the psychology modules gave an interesting insight into how music is consumed and how it ties in with culture; and the copyright and publishing modules gave me the desire to pursue a career in copyright law. Overall, the course was incredibly insightful and gave me the fundamental skills required for a career in the music business.
Do you have any advice for those looking to get into the industry?
My biggest piece of advice would be to be more confident in your own abilities, even if you are unaware of how the industry runs to begin with. I was hesitant at first to put my own ideas forward because I had very little knowledge, but found that when I was more confident in myself, I was able to open up a more insightful dialogue with the tutors and other students. This confidence will eventually assist you in job interviews and when meeting people at industry events. Another piece of advice is to keep listening to music; I fell out of listening to new music for about 6 months during my second year, but it’s important to know what’s going on, even with genres you don’t particularly like. This might not seem like a problem for most people looking to attend a Music Academy, but it’s surprising how easy it is to listen to the same music for 6 months at a time.
What motivated you to come and study at ACM?
I wanted to be involved in music from a young age, but my desired role has changed over the years. Initially, I intended to go into classical composition and performance, but this developed into areas concerning business when I started college and had to choose a final subject. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the business classes more than I ever thought I would, so I decided to seek out a way to combine music and business.
ACM was my first and only choice when I finished college, because I felt it would provide me with the skills and knowledge I’d need to pursue a career in the industry. I researched similar institutions, but ACM seemed to have the best grounding, tutors and course material on offer. I definitely made the right choice.
What was the best part about studying at ACM?
The people I met and those I learnt from. All the tutors, particularly Mike McNally, Julia Martin, Oli Sussat, and Patrick Rackow made each lecture highly enjoyable, because the passion they had for their respective subjects was obvious. The best part overall, though, was the love of music embedded in the walls of ACM that was felt by everyone who walked through its doors.
If you’d like to be a student at ACM to kickstart your career in the music industry like Ryan, please call our Admissions Team on 01483 500 841 or visit www.acm.ac.uk/open-days/ to book a place on an ACM Open Day today.