I know a lot of you might be struggling right now. There’s a pandemic, work is scarce in most industries, and it’s scary to see what’s happening to the music industry. But, I wanted to share my story to help people see that it is still possible to get work in the industry despite all that’s going on – and even start your very own business based around music.
I’m Harry, and I currently run a website all about music production. That’s my job. It’s called Whipped Cream Sounds and, right now, it makes money through display ads and affiliate sales. But, I have big plans to turn it into the number one spot for sample packs in the industry. Imagine the UK’s version of Cymatics – that’s what it’ll eventually be.
I currently get to write about all the topics I love on a day-to-day basis, like VST plugins, sound design, mixing and mastering. And, I get to spend a large portion of my day working on new sample packs, tracks, videos and more! It’s incredibly amazing to be able to work for myself and have a job that allows me to be creative. I know a lot of you want that too!
So, how did I do it? And how did BIMM help?
The music industry can be a scary place. When I was growing up, I was constantly told to get work in a “stable sector” or train in an in-demand skill. Well, if you’re anything like me, you’ll have grown up – and you might have even ended up taking that advice.
It took me a while to decide to study Music Production at BIMM Institute, and it was by far one of the best decisions of my life. I urge you to take every opportunity BIMM throws at you because it will help more than you might realise right now. Here are three ways BIMM helped me achieve where I am today.
BIMM Careers Advice Got Me My First Music Job. Use It.
One of the main reasons I managed to secure my first industry job as a Sample/Loop Editor was because I reached out to the Careers Team and asked if they could help me find work. I cannot stress to you enough how influential this was in getting my first job in the music industry.
I urge you to take action and sign up for all the extras that BIMM offers to get the most out of your time there. You have so many contacts at your disposal at BIMM. These contacts have not only worked in the actual industry but are there to answer any queries you may have.
“BIMM is one of those universities that care about you after you leave.”
BIMM is one of those universities that care about you after you leave (if you show you care about them too). I didn’t fully realise just how useful it would continue to be; even a year after my graduation.
Since graduation, I’ve had tons of career advice from companies that BIMM hires specifically to help us find work (how amazing is that)? Without this help, I don’t think I would have had anywhere near the same chance of getting the job I did.
The CV and Cover Letter sessions were incredible, and the BIMM Careers Team were always willing to go the extra mile, look over my CV, and help make it the best possible representation of me. After that, BIMM helped by recommending me directly to roles suited to my profile.
Remember when I spoke about industry connections?
Well, because of these industry connections, those recommendations came from someone the employer trusted and knew in real life. And, the rest is history.
If you’re serious about music (which I know you are because you’re a student of it), make sure to check your emails from BIMM and look over them. More often than not, you’ll find some valuable content or classes you can sign up to. In all of it, you will find some value.
Making Assignments Specific To Your Real-Life Goals
The assignments are there to grade you at the end of it all but don’t just look at them as a grade on a piece of paper. Think to yourself: “how could I use this assignment to further my skills?”.
In second year, we had a lesson dedicated to Music Business, and in this particular assignment, we had to build our own business plan. So, I used this assignment to plan out my music releases and apply it to the ‘real world’.
You want to use assignments like these to plan for something you actually want to pursue. Writing a plan as in-depth and thorough as we had helped me realise my goals fully and what it would take to achieve them. It gave a clear path of what the road to success looked like.
“I still use everything I learned from those lectures and the assignment to write my yearly plans and goals for my current business.”
I still use everything I learned from those lectures and the assignment to write my yearly plans and goals for my current business. I’ve left an example below of what a plan could look like for your very own music release/business plan.
Fast forward a year (to third year), and we had to do an assignment called the ‘Production Project’. It was based around creating 30 mins of audio (an album, sample pack, etc.). I chose to build a free sample pack and give it away in return for people’s email addresses.
This was the proper start of seeing success in my current business. The sample pack had over 1,500 downloads (using free promotion) and gave me over 2,000 emails to start marketing my website, packs, or songs! The sessions at BIMM – and having someone to talk to each week about my plans, whether they made sense, and how I could achieve them – helped an incredible amount.
In third year, you get several lecturers for this project, so you can go to the class that best suits your goals. They put me with Jonny Amos, who just so happened to sell his own sample packs. The knowledge I learned from him during these lectures was incredible! It helped me achieve the final result; from marketing tips to sound design and how to folder structure samples.
It can help you too. If you ask BIMM for help with anything, they’ll point you in the right direction and who to speak to about it. All it takes is a simple email.
That brings me onto tutorials. I used tutorials a lot for help with assignments and expanded my knowledge in my weaker areas. It was hands-down one of the most significant factors in helping me get industry work and building the foundations of my business.
The best part about BIMM is that you can book tutorials with anyone, from any subject. That means if you want to learn an instrument, but you’re doing Production, you can book a tutorial with one of the Professional Musicianship lecturers.
“Having the insight of someone who has worked in the industry helped to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.”
I used these tutorials countless times to further my knowledge and ask for advice. I can’t tell you what happened explicitly in these sessions, but having insight into someone who has worked in the industry helped put all the pieces of the puzzle together. Use them.
The lecturers are there to help you with anything, and they will offer some incredible knowledge if you make use of them. I miss being able to talk to someone every week for 20 minutes for help. You won’t know how good you’ve got it until you leave, so don’t miss the opportunity you have right now. I know it can be challenging to see from your student poverty, but this stuff is literal gold dust.
My four years at BIMM helped me do something I love for a living, and it can help you too – but not without the will for it. The lectures were incredible, but just attending classes and not diving into everything else that BIMM has to offer will only get you so far.
I urge you to make the most out of the resources you have right now. They are unique, and you will find some value in all of them. Keep your head high and keep pushing. When you feel stuck, don’t be afraid to ask BIMM for help. Who knows? You might just learn something useful.
Wow, really amazing to see Harry persevere during these difficult times! For more information on how BIMM could help with your career visit our Careers and Employability hub.