June 13, 2006 – 8:58 am
Well, I suppose since I’ve received the official word, it’s safe to make it public. From August, I take up a new post at UCE: Senior Lecturer and Degree Leader in the Music Industries.
It’s a busy time of year at UCE. We’re wrapping up the marking, getting things organised for Exam Boards and so on, making sure we have enough students for the new academic year in September – and recruiting the staff we so badly need in a number of areas.
The new degree in Music Industry starts this coming semester, and they needed to appoint a degree leader. Long story short, I applied, interviewed and got the job.
I was genuinely surprised and relieved – because having met the other candidates and having realised how published and how much further along the academic path they were, I knew I was in for some stiff competition.
The interview process was weird – not just because it involves giving a presentation in front of the whole department and being grilled at length by a 5-person panel – but also because it leaves you alone in a room with the other candidates for long stretches of time. It was entirely amicable and, of course, we had a lot to talk about (we’re interested in many of the same things).
Afterwards, the three of us headed to the pub and talked shop. Those are some very impressive contacts I’m going to be pursuing.
I’ll be on the Online Music Enterprise stuff till the end of August, and there’ll no doubt be loose ends to tie up on the project after that, but I’ll be in new job mode with lots of preparation to do before the year starts. After all, the Music Industry degree is a new thing – not just at UCE but, as far as I can tell, in the UK.
It’s not a music production course, and nor is it about music performance. It’s modelled on the kinds of degrees that you can do in radio, television, journalism, new media and so on – with a mix of theory and practical skills. It’s designed to cover a wide range of music business environments.
The difference between the other media businesses and the music business is that the latter is far more geared towards entrepreneurialism. There are some big record companies of course – but between them and the one-man band, there’s not quite so much going on. Very few 50-employee companies in the music business…
So a large part of the focus of the course will be on the entrepreneurial stuff. Rather than simply learn how to do an entry level job in a media business, you’ll learn how to have the business.
Of course, the online thing will feed into that quite substantially. But we’ll also be integrating closely with the other media degree courses – because the word ‘Music’ works so well as a prefix to every single one of them:
Music Promotion and PR
Music Web and New Media
There’s a good amount of theory in the mix. This isn’t a business course as much as it is about understanding the institutions, context, history, structures and operations of the music business – as well as equipping yourself with the tools to carve out your own place in it.
The possibilities are quite exciting – and it really seems that this hasn’t been attempted in the same way anywhere else (with the possible exception of what Matt Mollgaard, Trevor Plant, Peter Hoar and I started to build at AUT, and which they’ve continued in my absence). Of course, that also means there are research and publication possibilities here – and a degree of self-determination you don’t often get in academic posts.
So… I’m quite chuffed.