We caught up with BIMM Brighton Alumni Kelly Northorpe to find out how she has been getting on since graduating last year.
So, over to you Kelly!
My time at BIMM Brighton studying Music Business enabled me to build my portfolio of experience and contacts within the music industry. Alongside my studies I volunteered in as many areas of the industry as I could: artist management, synchronisation, licensing, journalism, production, and simply being a helping hand at music conferences and gigs in the local area. I really enjoyed the huge range that I threw myself into, and during this time I was able to determine the department that I wanted to build my career in: music publishing. To get a feel for the work, I set up a music publishing company as my final project in Year 3, where I signed upcoming songwriters and bands to help them progress within the industry.
Running this company was the first step towards my career goal. From that point onwards I was talking to industry professionals as a business woman, rather than a student. I would discuss my vision with them and hand them my business card. I was able to build my confidence and networking skills, which really shined through when I got to share my knowledge about the music business.
Nearing the end of my final year at BIMM, there was a CV masterclass run by the HR manager at Universal. I approached her as she was leaving, and professionally introduced myself. It worked: she took my card and we stayed in contact. By the time I was graduating, I had a joined the line up at Universal Music Publishing International.
Universal was my big step into the career that I love. My main day-to-day focus was to pay out the money collected to our songwriters. This was a whole new light on how it the industry works: while I understood the process from my lessons at BIMM, I never really considered exactly how this was done. There was something really honourable when I paid money to my role models such as Hans Zimmer.
I worked at Universal for three months, and since then I have been extremely lucky to work at Kobalt Music Publishing. I studied Kobalt during my degree and knew that, one day, I wanted to work for them: I was inspired by their vision and values, their focuses and their successes. Little did I know that I would be part of their copyright team by the time I was 20 years old.
I have now been in my role at Kobalt for 8 months. I look after the copyright of our songwriters specifically in the United States, where I make sure they are receiving all of their deserved royalties: when their songs are streamed, played on the radio or TV, listened to in public spaces (such as in a shop or restaurant), and performed live. Our catalogue is huge, including well-known songwriters Bob Marley, Bon Jovi, Dave Grohl, Lionel Richie, and Zayn Malik. It’s a tough job continuously checking up on all of our registrations, making sure there are no major issues or disputes for any of our works, and then also recognising where potential income may be missing. As our catalogue continues to build, so does the workload! There is never a dull moment at Kobalt and we are driven to give our songwriters the best experience.
What I love most about my job is that I am able to leave at the end of the day feeling successful. Our songwriters do not know me directly, but I am a piece of the bigger picture. My helping hand means they do not need to worry about their finances, or continuously wonder where their next pay cheque will come from: it means they can focus fully on their creativity, and share their talent with the world.
I am very aware I would not be where I am today had I not taken the approach I did back at BIMM. I pushed myself to get involved, show my face, and became someone that people could trust. The more I put in, the more I got out. Without having started my own music publishing company, the HR manager at Universal would not have seen my potential. And without having worked at Universal, Kobalt would have not considered me for another good 5 years, until I had built upon my experience in publishing. I recommend to everyone who is looking for a role in the music industry to face it straight on.