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Music for Youth's Industry Day

Music For Youth is the national music agency for Young People, therefore we understand the importance of connecting young people with organisations and platforms within the music industry that will support their creative development. As part of this, we offer opportunities to gain hands-on job opportunities, advice and mentorship through our large-scale events.

On Saturday 9th July 2022, as a part of our National Festival, Music for Youth hosted an Industry Day for 16-25 year olds at Symphony Hall, Birmingham. We knew it was important to stay connected to the music industry and ensure that young people have the valuable tools and resources to keep performing and creating, especially as we emerge from the pandemic.

Three panels were run at our Industry Day, as well as a networking lunch: How to Produce Music Digitally Using Ableton with ICMP; Sustaining Your Career As An Independent Artist with Punch Records, PPL and The Musicians Union; and In Conversation with Sheema Siddiqi, The Artist Community Manager at TikTok. The lunch break allowed guests to network with staff from PPL, ICMP, MU, NEU, Punch Records, Trinity, The Ivors Academy and Amazon Music.

How to produce music digitally using Ableton with ICMP

“Whether you are an aspiring producer, sound engineer, composer or someone wanting a better understanding of the full music creation process, this is a great place to start. As we walk through the introductory parts of how to produce and compose digital music”

We heard from three speakers at our first panel: Marcello Ruggiu, Lecturer on BA Creative Music Production); Dani Senior, Lecturer on BA Music Business and Entrepreneurship, BA Songwriting and BMus Popular Music Performance; and Daniel Reith, a 2nd Year BA Creative Music Performance Student. They discussed the art of sampling, equipment and shared their knowledge on microphones, recording techniques and the basics of mixing your music.

Sustaining your career as an independent artist with Punch Records, PPL and The Musicians’ Union

“With the surge of streaming and digital technology, getting signed to a major label isn’t the only way to get your music out there. Many successful artists (Little Simz, Chance the Rapper, Arctic Monkeys, Idles and many more) have released their music independently. Whether this means teaming up with a small label, distributor or label services, find out the different avenues you can use to further your career.”

This panel was hosted by Nikki Riggon from Punch Records, Namywa Jazz and PBN (both artists who have received support from Punch Records) and Natalie Witts-Kilshaw, who is a Senior Regional Officer at the Musicians’ Union.

Topics that were discussed at this panel included:

  • How to sustain your career as an indie artist with the support of the right platforms, people, funding, and initiatives.
  • The artists explaining what the key successes in their career have been, and who/what has helped them to reach those points.
  • Artists were asked what the key mistakes/things they wish they knew now to help them on their journey.
  • All three representatives spoke about their current initiatives and support that can be provided to indie artists
  • Indie vs record label signings & why?

Networking & Lunch

Everyone in attendance received 15-minutes of 1-to-1 conversation with selected industry professionals.

Partners included PPL, ICMP, MU, NEU, Punch Records, Trinity, The Ivors Academy, Amazon Music.

In conversation with Sheema Siddiqi, The Artist Community Manager at TikTok

In the final panel of the day, Sheema told us how she got started as an industry professional working on a platform like TikTok and gave a brief overview of what her career was like prior to this. Sheema then spoke about myths and truths on Tik Tok, specifically revolving the algorithm and ‘going viral’. She went on to discuss how artists can foster a creative community on TikTok in a healthy way, as well as talking about her favourite creatives on the platform and why.

Sheema used some real-life examples of Cat Burns, Ashnikko and PinkPantheress to explain how they built their following and got noticed and what they did differently to their competitors.

We hear you have an exclusive to share with us and everyone attending today, can you tell us a bit about it and how it was developed?

The panel was closed with Sheema discussing and explaining TikTok’s Artist Handbook, explaining the reasons why it was created and developed.

Phil Castang, Music for Youth’s CEO said “It’s been a challenging time for the music industry and young people have found it difficult to get good careers advice and support. So, it feels important to be providing these opportunities again. Music for Youth believes strongly in young people as musicians, composers, songwriters and producers and it’s vital for us to provide opportunities to produce music and learn about the industry not just on stage but also in non-performative roles backstage and behind the mixing desk which is where I started.”

Winnie Sandy, Project Manager at MFY said "Creating equitable pathways for the future generation of musicians and industry professionals is crucial, now more than ever. As Music for Youth comes out of the uncertainty of COVID, it has been delightful to see key organisations and platforms support and celebrate young people's creativity throughout the UK."

To find out more about our upcoming industry events and workshops, please contact Winnie Sandy at

About the author

Abbie Strowbridge-Knight

Abbie works as part of the MFY communications team, managing content for the website and for MFY's social media. She has a background in performing arts and many years' experience in marketing and communications. She also recently completed her CIM Level 4 qualification.

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