Thursday, 1 July 2010

MA: Music: Innovation and Entrepreneurship

‘There’s something happening in here.
What it is ain’t exactly clear…’

(For What It’s Worth/Buffalo Springfield)

Although Stephen Stills wrote those lyrics about a riot on the Sunset Strip back in the revolutionary 60’s, that sentiment could just as easily apply to the current state of the music industry.

A new music initiative from the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) is addressing this situation by offering a ground-breaking new course that aims  to be as creative, energetic and innovative as the best of '6os thinking and create its own educational revolution.
The worlds of academia and business have been radically brought together in UWS’ MA Music: Innovation & Entrepreneurship which commences in Glasgow this September.

It is a one-year course aimed at anyone who is passionate about music and wants to set up their own music-related business.

 The MA is the first course of its kind in the UK and has the backing of major iconic figures from the music industry including Geoff Travis of Rough Trade whose forward thinking attitude resulted in what we now know as the independent sector.

Programme Leader Alan McCusker-Thompson says:

‘The traditional music industry is a ghost that’s sitting at the table. Everybody keeps talking to it as if it’s still there but it’s dead. This course is about learning to ‘think different’. It’s not about working in the music industry. It’s about working with music’.

To show how much the times are changing, in the first semester students ‘homework’ will include organising  a one day music conference at the CCA during which an entire album featuring a variety of Scottish acts will be recorded, mixed and mastered from scratch, the packaging designed and the whole thing physically manufactured  and given to delegates  as they leave the conference. It will also be made  available, digitally, around the world on the same day.

While the programme is ideally suited to artist entrepreneurs who wish to set up their own record labels, management or publishing companies, it seeks to go beyond this and develop music-related business ideas that may span everything from apps to fashion to hotels and beyond.

‘In one sense, the course is a blank page. We don’t know where it’s going to go but we want to create the environment where talented, energised individuals can push the envelope in generating new income streams’.

In effect, the course, which is delivered right in the heart of Glasgow at the CCA (Centre for Contemporary Arts) will function as a business incubation unit for cutting-edge, music products, processes and services.

Each student will have their own ‘digital board’ drawn from academia and the creative industries who will support them throughout their year of development and the programme  will ultimately connect students  with potential backers for their ideas.

‘Music has a phenomenal reach and cachet within the creative industries and enhances all media platforms both aesthetically and commercially. That’s why we’re involving practitioners from business, the internet, the film, TV, games, publishing and fashion industries…oh yes, and the music industry’.

The course will suit those who have an undergraduate qualification or prior experience in music, the performing arts, art and graphic design, media, film, business or any of the creative industries; however it is not confined to these backgrounds.

The programme is delivered mainly at the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) in the centre of Glasgow, where the University’s School of Creative & Cultural Industries has a hub and also at Film City, Govan. Delivery of some programme options will also be offered at the University’s Ayr and Paisley campuses.

Applications can be made through

Contact Programme Leader, Alan McCusker-Thompson on 07977 224258 or for further information.


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