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Currently based at Sandbag Ltd – worldwide merchandising manufacturer, distributor, ecommerce and ticketing platform provider – ACM Music Business Alumnus (2009) Phil Birch’s day-to-day responsibilities touch all areas of a release strategy.

Having spent time building his credentials and experience through previous positions with 12th Degree, Apple iTunes and Roadrunner Records, Phil has spent much of his time working with labels, PR, live agents, management and artists to engage with existing audiences working with the likes of:

Status Quo (Universal / Warner ADA / Abbey Road / EDEL)
Of Mice & Men and Miss May I (Rise Records)
Mr Hudson (G.O.O.D. Music)
Mallory Knox (Sony / Search & Destroy Records)
Charlie Simpson (Nusic Sounds / Warner ADA)

ACM caught up with Phil to find out more about his journey into the music industry.

What are your aspirations for the future?
I’d like to branch out to working within a wider team, to stress less about the little things and take a more holistic view of the campaigns I control.

How did your course prepare you for life in the music business world?
You know that feeling when you get out of secondary school for the first time? It’s almost inevitable that someone at the pub will say “seriously, why did I need to learn pythagorean theorem? I’m NEVER going to use that”, perhaps you are that someone.

I can honestly say that every part of the business course has touched my working life. Whether this is as simple as being able to hold a casual conversation about current events in the industry, the cultural awareness to make informed decisions about key elements of a campaign or (probably the best piece of advice I ever got but never grasped until I left) the importance of networking, there’s always been that voice of “oh yeah, we covered that” in the back of my mind

Do you have any advice for those looking to get in to industry?

  • Be prepared to give your time away for free but don’t come away empty handed. There’s always something to learn from even the worst internships.
  • Get to know every. single. one. of your classmates and tutors. The importance of networking can’t be overstated and it should start with them. Not all of you will be there at the end of the course but the ones who are will be those you’ll want to be on good terms with.
  • If there’s one thing that is of equal importance as networking, it’s reputation. If your work, knowledge and attitude are lacking, no amount of elbow rubbing will make your phone ring. Be known as someone’s go-to and eventually you won’t have to solicit new work, it will come to you. The industry is a surprisingly small world and a good or bad word in the right ear can change your career.

What motivated you to come and study at ACM?
To quote filmmaker Kevin Smith (among others):

“Find what you love and learn how to make a living off it.”
Kevin Smith Filmmaker

What was the best part about studying at ACM?
Three people in particular:

  • Adam Pain – He’s just brilliant.
  • Chris Parles – For making me realise marketing was my thing and for getting me on the first and second rung of the ladder.
  • Keith Lowde – Gone but not forgotten.

ACM would like to thank Phil Birch for taking time out from his busy schedule to update us on his progress and wish him the very best of luck for his forthcoming projects.