University course designed for 21st century music business unveiled
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
A PIONEERING music programme which will nurture, develop and produce the artists of the future is set to launch at one of the region’s universities.
The BA (Hons) Modern Music Industries course at Sunderland University will be run in partnership with the Northern Academy of Music Education (NAME) – made up of Barry Hyde, from the Futureheads, and business partner Dan Donnelly, who has performed with Celtic Social Club, The Wonder Stuff, and The Levellers.
The first cohort of about 30 students will be based in music studios in the art and cultural heart of the city.
The course aims to fully equip students for life in an industry that has undergone a radical transformation during the past 20 years.
Mr Hyde said: “You used to have to go to a recording studio, a recording studio you would have to pay thousands of pounds to hire for the hour, day or week.
“Today, we live in a time where music technology dictates, and people have direct access to that technology. You can make an album in your bedroom – the ability is there; in many ways now is a great time to be a music artist.”
The programme will be led by Mr Hyde and Mr Donnelly and students will be partly based in Birdland Studios, located in renovated rooms above a city pub the pair took over last year.
Mr Hyde said: “They will be working directly with music industry professionals who have a vast knowledge of the industry dating back to the mid-90s.
“We are professional artists who are still making and releasing music on an international level. This is a programme designed for the 21st century music business.
“It’s no longer enough to be just a musician; you have to be a businessperson, an entrepreneur, an A&R specialist, a social media expert.
“Although you will learn all of these things, we haven’t forgotten the most important factor of all – making great music. The aim is to make a creative explosion and we will be here to mentor and guide these self-motivated musical artists.”
He added: “There is undoubtedly a lot of luck involved in this industry.
“But you can make yourself more lucky. And this programme will equip you with that very ability.”
Despite the current pandemic taking a heavy toll on the arts and creative industries, Mr Hyde said now is the time for a programme of this type. He said: “I don’t believe, and will never accept, that art is a secondary career. The music business alone generates billions of pounds every year.”
Prof Arabella Plouviez dean of Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries, said: “Sunderland as a city, has a strong tradition in music and, like all the creative industries, it becomes even more important as part of how we move forward from the current challenges.
“This new programme is a really exciting opportunity for musicians to learn about the contemporary music industry, develop their own creative voice within that, and draw upon the vibrant scene locally, regionally nationally and internationally.
“The new premises will put students at the heart of the city’s cultural centre offering a truly integrated experience that will provide an amazing to start their careers.”