In this instalment of our Featured Alumni series, we catch up with Music Business graduate Tim Steadman.
Tim Steadman has been busy since leaving ACM, performing in an acoustic duo, working in design and marketing for IMG Artists, and setting up his own companies!
We caught up with him to find out more.
Hi Tim! Tell us a bit about your background, and why you wanted to work in the music industry?
I’ve always been passionate about music having been exposed to it pretty much my whole life. My older brother was a drummer, and I took up the guitar at a young age, so the passion has always been there. Plus, the music industry was (and still is) going through a turbulent time, so I thought it was an interesting industry to involve myself in.
What have you been up to since leaving ACM?
I’ve been involved in an ongoing project since leaving ACM. I met an extremely talented musical theatre student, a co-worker of mine whilst I worked in a Guildford bar, and she wanted to sing more ‘pop’. I was looking for a project of sorts, so it worked both ways. We formed an Acoustic Duo – she sang and I played the guitar – and I took care of the ‘business’ side of things (the website, marketing, booking, etc.). We started off by doing small bar gigs in Guildford, but now we focus more on private bookings and weddings, and it’s turned into a good little side-business for both of us. I also launched my own freelance web design agency called Inline|Creative to make a supplementary income to my full-time job. My latest project – The Music Design Co. – is a more specialised, niche aspect of website design and marketing aimed at musicians, with the aim to launch in early 2018.
How did you get into working at a music management agency?
After graduating from ACM, I started applying for every opportunity I could find, as I’m sure many graduates do! Obviously, music is an extremely competitive industry to break in to so you need a bit of patience, persistence and luck when looking for your first job, but I was lucky enough to be given an interview for a marketing role at a global music management company, IMG Artists, around Christmas 2015. Thankfully they gave me the job – two years on and I’m still there, they haven’t found a reason to get rid of me yet!
Tell us about The Music Design Co.
A huge part of my role at IMG Artists has been web design. One of the services we offer is web design for our artists, so I’ve racked up a decent sized portfolio of musician websites, in addition to rebuilding the company website. As I mentioned before, I started freelancing as a web designer about a year ago, but with my industry knowledge and experience with working on music websites, I’ve decided to narrow down my niche to provide Marketing and Web Design services to musicians, bands, DJs, agencies, etc.
Of course, inexpensive web design companies exist, but this is for those who want something a little more professional and bespoke than the average Wix of Weebly website, with the ability to scale and even include self-managed e-commerce solutions. I’m also looking into a subscription model where clients can choose a pre-built layout which has proven to ‘work’, with the monthly fee covering ongoing maintenance, security and hosting. The aim is to launch the service in early 2018.
What are your aspirations for the future?
I’d love the freedom to be my own boss, so a goal would be to get either Inline|Creative or The Music Design Co. (or both) to a level where I can earn a living on a purely self-employed basis.
How did your course help prepare you for life in the music industry?
For me, the best element of the Music Business degree was the emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurism (which may explain why I have three side-projects alongside my job at IMG Artists!). The lecturers, especially in the first year the degree, also encouraged us to involve ourselves in as many hands-on ‘business’ opportunities where possible, be it blogging, managing an artist, or pursuing your own business interests. This is an invaluable tip, as industry/work experience is arguably more beneficial than the things you learn in the music business books.
What motivated you to come and study at ACM?
I was 23 when I started at ACM, so later than most students! I had spent the two years prior to starting at ACM living and working in Australia when I realised I needed to do something productive with my life. I nearly did a guitar degree until I read into the Music Business degree, which looked perfect. A two year accelerated degree also suited me a lot better, being as I knew I’d be 25 when I graduated!
What did you enjoy the most about studying at ACM?
Having meetings and study sessions next door in Wetherspoons! In all seriousness, the lecturers were great and down-to-earth and they were all generally still involved in the music industry in some capacity, so there was always a lot to learn from them. Being surrounded by musicians is also a unique experience that you really won’t see at many other colleges or universities!
Connect with Tim on Twitter | www.inlinecreative.co.uk | www.musicdesign.co