Pandemic Photography

2020 was full of online streamed gigs, and Architects were just one of many that really provided a performance we would all have paid to see in person. Undeterred by the global pandemic, they found a way to record and stream a gig at the Royal Albert Hall, with all the production we would expect at an in person gig. Being one of the most exciting events of the year, aside from a big supermarket shop, of course I felt the need to get my camera out and have a go at some digital photography! 

2020 Catch Up

2020! What a year it’s been.

A year that was supposed to be one of the best yet - but that doesn’t mean it was a complete write-off. Like many others in the music industry, I had my own fair share of struggles, as I was in the middle of completing my final year at BIMM university to graduate in a global pandemic.

So what have I been up to in the past year? 

I decided to take a step back from photography at the end of 2019 as I got a dream internship at a company I’ve long been admiring from afar - 30 Century Management. If you aren’t familiar with them, they offer artist management services and work with the band that first introduced me to the alternative music scene - Enter Shikari. They also worked with artists such as Blood Youth, Hacktivist, The Slow Readers Club and Sean McGowan. As soon as I heard about this opportunity I knew I had to go for it and I’m so glad I did as I finally got to meet the team behind some of the artists I listen to. Albeit a small team, Ian and Lee were a dream to work with and to introduce me to the working world of the music industry where I could apply knowledge from my degree. I also learnt several invaluable hard skills required for the industry that could be transferred to other job roles, whilst confirming a passion for artist management and igniting one for e-Commerce. Whilst assisting with the launch of Enter Shikari’s fan club, the Future Historians, I learned how to operate and maintain the band’s website - including webstore. We shared office space with Music Glue, who are music business specialists in e-Commerce and host all of 30 Century Management’s artist websites. This made liaising with them very efficient as queries and issues could be sorted all in person. Overall, this provided me with the perfect opportunity to learn about what an artist or manager needs from e-Commerce, as well as e-Commerce business operations through their back-office systems. 

The company initially hired me to help with the set up of the Future Historian fan club using technology that Music Glue had developed and previously used with Iron Maiden. This was a very exciting project to be involved with as I got to use analytical skills to research merchandise products to present to the team, build up data spreadsheets and even use my established photography skills by using photoshop for product images. By the beginning of 2020, the fan club achieved huge success, exceeding the expectations of the management team. Whilst all this was going on, the band were also preparing to release a new album in April 2020. In January I was able to attend all the label and publicist meetings where we all heard the singles for the first time, which is an experience I’ll never forget. Even with the pandemic hitting the UK in March, the album was a great success upon release in April, even climbing to number 2 in the official UK album charts.

The entire experience I had at 30 Century Management helped me so much to develop as a person and industry professional, but also with all of my assessments in my undergraduate. In fact, every module (bar one) I did in the third year was merited a first, and I based all of them on work I did at the company with Enter Shikari. With the amount of pressure students across the world were facing at the time, I was very proud of myself for proving that I could get through it and look forward to celebrating properly when graduation happens in 2021.

Over the summer I went back to working my day job at the Disney store on Oxford Street, but before long I was furloughed again and no work at the O2 Forum meant another furloughed job. This was definitely a huge disappointment as many people know I was selected to take part in a student placement in Florida, USA at the Universal resort Sapphire Falls. Fortunately enough the placement was able to be deferred to 2021 but now even that hangs in the balance! Due to this falling through and the lack of jobs in music at the time, I decided to look into a postgraduate Masters degree in music. Unfortunately, BIMM university doesn’t offer postgraduate degrees in non-performance music subjects, but I knew friends that have done music courses at the University of West London. Researching into their courses I discovered an MA degree studying Music Management and Artist Development, which sounded like the perfect course for me. 

Of course, starting at a new university during a global pandemic wasn’t ideal, but it was a way to keep up my development in the music industry whilst normalcy is somewhat on hold. So far it’s had it’s ups and downs but it’s been great to connect with more likeminded people, including the tutors. I also finally delved into the world of TikTok to understand the app’s relationship with current and future music trends, I even accumulated 53.4k views on one of my own videos. 

Embarking into anew year, it also seems that the music industry might be bouncing back as internships and other opportunities are coming forward, so here’s hoping I can find myself back in employment within the music industry in 2021!

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