Change was the principal theme at the first-ever Appetite For Disruption conference, as 700 students from more than 15 educational institutes, including BIMM, joined music industry insiders in Brighton for a day of insightful discussions, panels and presentations on the future of music.
The BIMM-sponsored event, which is spearheaded by Phil Nelson, our music industry ambassador and The Great Escape festival co-founder, saw some of the biggest names in music get together at the Clarendon Centre for what some have tipped as one of the most important conferences in music.
The day saw 19 specialist talks across four conference spaces and gave students from BIMM, Brighton and Sussex universities, Middlesex University and the Bournemouth Academy of Modern Music the chance to rub shoulders with a genuinely star-studded guest list of experts. As well as attending the conference many BIMM students were helping the day run smoothly by working in a range of key roles.
They included Ruth Barlow of Beggars Group, which owns labels 4AD, Rough Trade and XL, Festicket Commercial Partnerships Director, Michael Baskerville, Dawbell PR’s Jade Foster (a BIMM graduate herself), Audioactive CEO, Adam Joolia; WMA’s Head of Social, Simon Bush, and many more.
Also present was a host of BIMM faculty, who took the opportunity to inspire and engage audiences with their first-hand experiences, having worked alongside tomorrow’s rising stars. They included Caitlin O’Connor, our student support officer, and Business Development & Creative Careers Director, Vaseema Hamilton, who also spoke very highly of the event:
“Today’s conference made it more than clear that not only do many young aspirant professionals have an “appetite for disruption” they are also hungry for knowledge and information about the current music industry. Who better to engage with them than successful young entrepreneurs and industry specialists who are still crafting and developing their own careers?”
We were also privileged to be joined by Natasha Bent, a former BIMM student, who has gone on to find great success as a booking agent at CODA Agency (First Aid Kit, Savages, FKA Twigs, David Rodigan, etc). Natasha’s panel discussed the importance of the live industry and grassroots venues, and the challenges both sectors face. She told BIMM:
“I think Appetite For Disruption is probably one of the most or could become one of the most important conferences. Having started in BIMM when it first opened many, many years ago, it was actually through people coming into BIMM and talking about what they did in their job and their position, that allowed me to understand the business.”
Elsewhere, we saw stand out keynote speeches, including an inspirational talk from Stevie Wonder’s manager, Keith Harris OBE, whose illustrious career has seen him work with Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and more.
Also present was Murray Strassen Editor of Audio Media International, whose updates reach over 30,000 music fans daily.
Murray told our reporters: “I think events like this are a great opportunity for students to learn from professionals in the industry. I hope they’ve learned a lot. I’ve certainly learned a lot from listening to the panels speak. And I hope the things they’ve heard here today will help inform their decisions with regard to their careers.”
We’d like to take the chance to thank everyone who made this year’s event possible, including our fellow sponsors – UK Music, Read Audio and Help For Musicians – and our guests, for which there are too many to mention in one post. Special thanks to Phil Nelson and his team, and all those who attended. We hope you came away as inspired as we have.