Even at the age of 17 ACM Music Business Degree Alumnus (2013) Tom Stafford knew that he wanted to pursue a career in music.
Having formed a band with friends, recorded a series of EPs and experience life on the road, Tom learned very early on about the power of the internet in order to become self sufficient; promoting and selling our music/merch online.Having developed a taste for the business side, Tom’s fascination would only continue deepen and would eventually see him graduate from ACM’s Music Business School and join Shazam – the smartphone-based music identification service.
ACM caught up with Tom to find out more about his journey into the music industry.
Tell us about what you’ve been involved with since leaving ACM?
After a couple of months off, I started a six week internship with Shazam as the music team intern. At the end of my internship I was offered a job as a metadata assistant. It wasn’t the most fascinating role but it got me a foot in the door. Now I work in our brand new music editorial team. We’ve been set up to manage all our Shazam’s music editorial output. Most of my responsibilities revolve around our in app News Feed searching for music based content for the app, building the story and then pushing it out via our news feed. I also spend a lot of my time talking to labels and PR teams, trying to get us exclusive content such as interviews, sessions, exclusive streams etc.
What are your aspirations for the future?
It’s a very exciting time for us at the moment so my main aspirations revolve around Shazam. I feel we have a genuine shot at being a huge editorial platform for music and I’m very happy to be a part of it and want to see how big we can get. The American music market fascinates me so that’s something I’d like to explore in the future.
How did your course prepare you for life in the music business world?
How to do thorough research! If you know where and how to look you can find out anything you need to know. Also, don’t always take one person’s answer as gospel. Look at all sides of the story.
Do you have any advice for those looking to get into the music industry?
Be nice. It seems obvious but it’s true. Go to networking events and talk to anyone and everyone. Don’t pitch to people when it’s not appropriate, buy them a beer and have a chat about football. Volunteer at The Great Escape. On your days off from study do something productive, like put on shows or write a blog. Also don’t worry if your first job isn’t necessarily what you want to do. Getting your foot in the door is what matters.
What motivated you to come and study at ACM?
I went to visit and have a tour and I was sold there and then. The course looked amazing and having lecturers that all work in the industry was a major plus point. Also Guildford’s proximity to London meant it would be easy for internships and going to gigs.
What was the best part about studying at ACM?
Two things. Number one, the lecturers. They all work so hard for their students and are very passionate about what they do. One in particular who I won’t embarrass, I know I can always call on for advice, even though I’ve finished.
Number two, the friends you make. There’s a big group of us all working in industry jobs in London now and it’s been really helpful. Some of us have even worked together on projects and we all support each other when we need to.
ACM would like to thank Tom Stafford 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.