Q&A With Josh Holland

6th April 2018

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Josh completed a BA (Hons) Music Business in 2017 and has since found himself an internship at Insanity Records, London – home to acts such as Craig David, Shy FX and up-coming indie pop sensation Tom Grennan. We caught up with Josh for a quick Q&A to hear all about his experience at the label so far.

Hi Josh, tell us about your work at Insanity Records. 

Hey! I’m a Marketing Assistant (Intern) over at Insanity Records. One of the reasons I love the job is that no two days are the same, marketing plays such an integral role within a label and an artist’s career so you end up covering many aspects. Day-to-day I deal with anything that lands in my inbox but here a few areas: creating assets for socials, creating ads for various platforms, coordinating press days for artists, liaising with our independent media businesses to plan and implement marketing strategies, tracking data and creating KPI reports, creating/updating artist web pages and mail-outs, running competitions for artists, raising invoices for third party businesses, delivering artist’s material and assets to our central team to deliver to DSP’s and online outlets, release planning, ordering physical products, devising marketing plans for artist releases, dealing and ordering with merchandising suppliers, and everything in-between.

How did you first get involved with Insanity? 

By jumping in the deep end, feet first. I worked for free for practically six months undertaking two internships prior to landing the role I’m currently in. The first being two weeks after handing in my dissertation. I headed down to London for a two-month internship with Machine Management (Clean Bandit, Years & Years). I came back up to Manchester for a brief period, at which point I secured another internship in London, this time 3 months with Communion Records (Catfish and the Bottlemen, Bears Den) assisting mainly within their marketing team. After finding out I had the Communion internship I decided it was all or nothing and took the plunge to move to London. I rented out a flat and sold everything that wasn’t bolted down to fund the move (as the internship was unpaid) with the idealistic plan of being in paid employment at the end of my internship.

Two weeks prior to my internship ending, I was contacted by Sony HR (who I was in contact with from a previous application) and told about the position at Insanity, and a week later I was hired. There were many closed doors throughout that time but the one underlying thing that kept me going was my passion and love for music (huge cliché, but true) and my desire to work in an industry where I found so much enjoyment. When one door closed, I’d just go and find another to knock on. That’s one thing you have to be prepared for in this industry, whether you’re in the business side or artistic, there will be many setbacks, but you just have to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing and crack on, eventually it will work out.

It’s worth mentioning here Silvia Gargiulo and her company BIY People – who BIMM put me in contact with. Silvia helped me secure my first internship and each position since – an incredible woman who you should 100% work with if you get chance.

What’s been the main highlight/s since you started there?

Watching Tom Grennan smash Shepherds Bush from side of stage having seen him grow and work on his campaign for 6 months, that was special. Don’t get me wrong, like any job there are dull moments. But I think unlike any other, there’s always at least one moment a day that makes me think ‘I bloody love my job’. I value getting up in the morning and looking forward to going to the office over anything.

How did your Music Business Degree help prepare you for this role? 

Mike Burgess for one. He’s a don and without him and his knowledge (which is second to none) I wouldn’t be where I am today. His attitude – and all the tutors for that matter – towards you as a student was incredible. They always have time to talk through anything, whether it be course related or not. Andrew Garfoot over in careers – when I literally had no idea what to do with my life, he was a sane voice with a wealth of knowledge of careers in the industry. He really helped me focus on where I wanted to be and how to get there. One of the most valuable aspects of the Music Business Degree is that it covers all major areas of the industry. Being armed with that knowledge helps with any role you may end up in. As a marketer its greatly beneficial to understand why a publisher is operating in a certain way, what certain aspects of a contract mean or why management are making a specific decision (although the latter can still often baffle). Understanding how and why a label interacts with a publisher or an agent is also imperative, and the Music Business Degree gave me that knowledge to use in the real world.

What advice would you offer a current student who’s looking to follow your footsteps into a similar role?

Let’s continue to roll out the clichés. Say yes to everything (obviously within reason) – you never know where it may lead or who you may meet doing it. Don’t be a tool – it’s a very small industry, people are going to find out. That extends to your time at uni – your peers may very well end up your colleagues at some point, so bear that in mind. Use your passion as your weapon – as mentioned before you’ll get knocked back, but as long as you hold onto that passion you’ll get where you want to be.

Don’t stop learning – keep teaching yourself new skills that will make you an invaluable asset – I taught myself to edit photos and videos and now make adverts for artists. In fact – TEACH YOURSELF TO EDIT PHOTOS AND VIDEOS. There’s a huge amount of material online to help you do this, but trust me, if you can go to an interview and confidently say you can work with photos and videos you’ll be high up on the list of candidates (within marketing anyway).

Do something outside of the course that shows your ambition and passion. Remember, all employers have in front of them is your CV. Have fun while you’re a student and take risks. Being at university and BIMM in particular gives you the perfect opportunity to try things out and make mistakes and it not matter, so go make mistakes, that’s how we all learn. Not to sound old or apathetic but it’s a big bad world post-uni, people are cut throat and won’t hold your hand through things – you’ve got to prove yourself. So have fun! 

Are you interested in studying a Music Business Degree like Josh? Click here to apply! 


James Watts

Social Media Assistant, Professional Bassist and Music Journalist. Career highlights include performing at some of the UK's premier music festivals, recording in Abbey Road and interviewing Debbie Harry.