We're excited to launch our brand-new BA Honours programme in Electronic Music and Business* for Producers, DJs, and Artists. The new course builds on WaterBear’s reputation for offering a new approach to higher education and innovation, with a commitment to smaller classes and one-on-one mentoring.
The course will be delivered onsite, online, and on demand and has been put together by industry professionals at the very top of their game including; Billy Mauseth - Founder Director of the UK’s foremost conference for electronic music, the Brighton Music Conference, Claire Spooner (Just Her) - Internationally acclaimed producer, songwriter, label owner, DJ and vocalist, James Fitchett (Prok | Fitch) - One of Beatport’s highest selling artists of all time, plus Spotify streams in the millions, Tim Belcher - Veteran producer, studio engineer, DJ and tutor, signed to over 50 labels and with around 500 releases under his belt, and Jack Kingslake - Artist currently signed to ‘electronic soul’ label Tru Thoughts. A go-to producer for a massive range of Hip Hop, Grime, Soul, RnB and Trip Hop artists.
The course is fully accredited and approved by Falmouth University, and is completely flexible with a wide choice of course modules and activity tailored to the individual including;
• Music Production – writing, recording, mixing, mastering.
• Performance – on stage and in the studio.
• Music Business – DJs & Producers will learn to innovate and design their own life in music.
• One-to-one mentoring – mentoring with top DJs and producers.
• Access to professional studios – free rehearsal and recording time in professional studios.
• Work experience – opportunities to work at leading radio stations, record labels, festivals, and live events.
Students will study across our citywide campus in the heart of Brighton, with facilities including two Apple Mac suites, recording & mix studios, rehearsal rooms, and of course WaterBear’s very own seafront venue.
The BA Honours degree course in Electronic Music and Business* is designed to give Producers, DJs, and Artists the perfect blend of artistic freedom alongside practIcal strategies to forge their own careers.
The degree is built on three fundamental elements – music, career, and projects. It deals with what really matters in the industry, will expand students’ options and push them to create original, boundary-shifting music.
*Subject to approval Spring 2021
Welcome to our August Round Up of all the latest news from WaterBear HQ. Our focus recently has been on resilience, something truly at the core of our ethos at WaterBear. Afterall, that’s what a ‘Water Bear’ is known for. Being resilient over these last few months has been essential. Not only are we approaching our September reopening with confidence, we’re also hugely excited by all the latest announcements we have in store! We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to ensure our city-wide campuses are COVID-19 secure, creating environments which nurture creativity and excellence. Read on to find out more…
No matter the situation, we are dedicated to providing our students with all the tools, resources and facilities they need. So, and to support the local live community, we’ve acquired our very own live music / club venue on Brighton seafront! That means even if it takes a while for the live sector to return to normality, you’ll still have a place to play. The venue will also serve as teaching space and will be a great place to hang out and socialise.
This is also a great opportunity for MA students who might be looking to develop careers within the live industry. Combining an MA project with a functioning music venue has amazing potential for career development. To find out more, please get in touch.
Check it out:
We’ve also got more new premises at 15 Bond Street, situated in the iconic North Laine area of Brighton. Here you’ll find more teaching space and a large open mezzanine area, plus it’s directly above one of the best coffee shops in Brighton. 15 Bond Street really is a creative’s haven.
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We are thrilled to welcome award-winning duo Royal Blood into the fold as WaterBear patrons. And to celebrate this partnership, we’re giving away the first ever Royal Blood Scholarship award, the recipient of which will have all of their course tuition fees paid. The scholarship applies to all current and incoming BA (Hons) students, who are studying on-site in Brighton or online. Scholarship applications are open until the end of August so if you are still considering joining us, now is the perfect time to apply.
For details of how to apply for the Royal Blood Scholarship and all Ts and Cs click here
We love innovative & forward-thinking musicians – and that is exactly why Rabea Massaad is a fantastic fit for WaterBear. Not only is he an insane guitarist, he’s a titan of YouTube and a real champion of the DIY music ethic. Students will be seeing more of Rabea from September, producing lesson content and getting involved with masterclasses and events. And it’s not only Rabea joining the team. Our tutor roster is always growing with amazing people, keen to share their skills and knowledge.
Here’s Rabea to tell you more…
Our Master’s course, the 1-year MA Music Entrepreneur, just keeps getting better! The opening of our new venue will allow all WaterBear MA students to gain invaluable experience in a real-world setting – fantastic for anyone looking to gain skills in venue and events management. Alongside this we've also launched our Production Lab, these will be optional weekly music production workshops, again available to all MA students. These workshops will offer in-depth content from our highly experienced audio production team.
And if all this wasn't enough, there’s now a tuition fee loan available of up to £11,222, meaning you can access an additional £1272 on top of your course fees for any kit, software or gear you may need. Find out more about the course here.
So you can see we’re confident this September at WaterBear is going to be epic! Our incredible, diverse and talented students and tutors bring the college to life and we can’t wait to open our doors. If you’re interested in being part of WaterBear or finding out more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re ready – hope you are too!
With a DIY ethos you can really make things happen in the music industry. There are countless examples of bands who do not wait for things to happen for them, they take control of their own careers and future.
Hopefully, you see your band as a micro industry, and understand the consequent implications of this. Your job as a band is to create cool & current music, polish your live show and increase your audience size.
If you are confident about your musical output – the next step is the marketing of it. Marketing is integral to the music industry. It accounts for a $1.7 Billion annual spend across the sector. Now, what does that mean for you?
Traditionally, this is where your label would kick in. To increase the reach of your music, a label uses a team of PR agents, digital marketing experts, social media gurus, pluggers and traditional marketing specialists. It’s a complicated business which doesn’t always have clear lines of cause and effect.
As a DIY artist, you will not have the same team as a major label – however you’ll have your band and you need to assign them marketing roles that play to their strengths. You also need to be realistic about your team’s available time, and what can be achieved.
An important aspect of a release campaign, that ultimately falls to the traditional and digital marketer, is securing attention from press, radio and blogs. This in turn increases your potential audience engagement. Looking specifically at blogs, each have their own preferred genres, which attracts their following and reach. Remember, securing a blog is not the be all and end all, however, they are an important part of a campaign. Plus, a good review is always beneficial for band morale.
Here is a curated list of blogs to get you started;
Genre: Not specific
Genre: Indie /Alternative
Genre: Punk / Metal / Rock
Genre: Alternative / Indie
Genre: Indie / Rock / Folk / Pop
Genre: Indie / Rock / Alternative
Genre: Indie Pop & Rock
Genre: Indie / Commercial
Genre: Hip Hop
At WaterBear, the college of music, we have published several videos and tips on how to get your music on the radio. We're passionate about helping emerging artists and bands get heard. In this blog, we provide a practical route filled with submission links to popular music radio stations in the UK.
Before diving into each specific radio station, lets recap on the top three tips that will give your tracks the best chance for radio success:
Read this blog (link above) for further information on:
Editing out the swearing
This should be self-explanatory but to get radio traction you’ll need to keep the cussing to a minimum. Have a clean and dirty edit of your track for this reason.
Consider the length of your track
There is a sweet spot of about three minutes in the perfect radio edit. There are exceptions, but you'll notice a successful song usually adheres to this rule. Creating a radio hit is an art – learn to enjoy the creative restriction around it.
The importance of the intro
Consider having an intro, this will allow the presenter some time to speak and introduce you before the singing starts. It can really help.
Writing a press release is an art form in itself – here are some top takeaways (don't forget to check the link in the title).
Keep it short
Your press release should be one-page maximum. If you have gone over, consider revising it. A producer will want to scan through it to find your act's highlights.
To keep it easy, here's the best way to order your press release:
2. The name of the single/EP
3. Have links embedded into the single or video (Professional Recording)
4. Artwork (Hi-Res Main Image/Hi-Res Professional Shots)
5. The blurb
6. Social media contact info
Note, this should all fit on one page!
Hyperlink text to point to the relevant social media channels and streaming sites. It looks more professional and helps to condense your text. Also, get Soundcloud so you can distribute private links efficiently.
This is your chance to show off a bit – put your key highlights in bold, so they are easily readable!
Make it easy for the radio producer to find you
Don’t tell people where to find you – give them links to your socials and streaming site. Always think about making the presenter's job as easy as possible!
If you have a professionally recorded radio edit and press release ready, you have all you need to start sending to the below links. Good luck!
Submit Your Music
Submit your music here
BBC 6 Music – Giles Peterson Show
Genre: Hip Hop/Rap, Dance/Electronic, Soul/R&B/Funk, Jazz
Email: [email protected]
Submit your music here
Hard Rock Hell Radio
Genre: Hard Rock /Metal
Submit your music here
Radio Reverb 97.2FM (Brighton)
Submit your music here
Rinse FM 106.8FM (London)
Genre: Garage/Grime/Dubstep/House and Jungle
Submit your music here
Fresh on the Net
Submit Your Music
Submit Your Music
Submit your Music
Under Dogs With Lucy Leeds
Submit Your Music
Genre: Hip Hop/RNB/Grime/Garage/Bass Music/Drum & Bass/House/Reggae & Afrobeats
Submit Your Music
Submit Your Music
Genre: Old Skool and Anthems
Submit Your Music
Genre: Rock/Metal/Hard Rock
Submit Your Music
Genre: Rock/Alternative Metal
Submit Your Music
Submit Your Music
BBC Radio 1Xtra
Genre: Urban/Hip Hop/Grime
Submit Your Music
Submit Your Music
This blog is all about press releases, which are super important. Now you may think of press releases in terms of print, for example magazines and newspapers. However, we are talking about audio here, we are talking about music. The press release is still very much necessary to get your band, or career as an artist, out there.
So, who will be reading these press releases? Well, when you send it to the radio, it could be the music co-ordinator, it could be a presenter or a producer. They need to be able to scan through your press release as quickly as possible, as they will be receiving loads of these. They want to find out if you are interesting and if it's worth listening to your single.
I started out as a radio plugger, and so I was writing press release all the time for various acts. Due to that, I'm going to give you my secret recipe for writing a great press release.
Your press release should ideally be on one page. If you think you need to spill out over two pages, then you probably need to condense your writing a little bit as producers will want to scan through this as quickly as possible. If they see there are two pages of writing in there, it will automatically turn them off, and they simply won’t read it.
The reality is, the only time I'll get to read press releases is in-between songs. Perhaps on advert breaks, there are three minutes in which I can scan through my emails. It would help if you made this as easy as possible, a helpful simple page I can quickly read through and go back to the radio.
To keep it easy, here’s the best way to order your press release:
1.Your band or artist name.
2.The name of the single/EP
3.Have links embedded to the single or video (I’ll come back to this one).
4.Artwork (Main Image)
5.The blurb (I’ll also revisit that one in a second)
6.Social media contact info
So this should all fit on one page!
There are different ways of doing it but trust me, if you do it this way, it’s going to work well. First of all, do not copy and paste the whole URL into your press release, write ‘listen here’ and hyperlink the word ‘here’. It will look a lot more pro, and the link will lead the presenter/producer straight to your SoundCloud track, and they can listen there. Please note, check your track permissions and make sure it is downloadable! Otherwise, this whole thing is pointless.
Okay so you might be thinking that you have so many social media websites everywhere, but you don’t have a SoundCloud. My advice is to create a SoundCloud… it's free, it's easy, and it's the right way for the music co-ordinator to access your music.
The all-important blurb is where you can talk about your story and inspirations. It's also a chance to show off a little bit. You want to include in there how many plays you have had on Spotify and/or radio, cool people you have supported or big venues you have played at. All of these sorts of things, please put them in BOLD. If I’m reading this press release, I’ll be scanning through as quickly as possible and probably only reading the bits in bold, so it would make my life easier!
Please do yourself a favour, make it as easy as possible for me. If you imagine there is so much going on at a radio station, reading a press release is just a small snippet of the day. Keep it short and simple, you'll have a better chance of being played on the radio.
If you want me to find you on social media, don’t tell me where to find you – give me a link. If you want me to check out your Spotify, don’t tell me you are the third one down when searching your artist name, give me the link. Make it easy for me to help you!
Ok. It can’t be denied that traditional journalism, particularly print, has been greatly affected by the rise of new media. Music journalism hasn’t been immune to those changes. New media, using the internet, can source content from non-traditional sources and operate on different models. E.g. bloggers and influencers who bypass traditional publishers and platforms to build up followings and leverage advertising for revenue, rather than relying on the old-school models of employed and freelance journalists. We’ve looked at parallel developments in independent music publishing and direct-to-fan marketing and distribution.
Consumers can access music journalism online from bloggers’ own sites, from music journalism and media websites, they can listen to podcasts, or watch vlogs on YouTube and the like. Often such content is free to access, and supported by advertising. Sometimes there may be subscriptions or paywalls.
There’s no denying that there has been a steady, progressive decline in music press circulation. That trend has claimed some major scalps, including the iconic NME which does continue successfully online but closed down as a print in March 2018, despite valiantly attempting to adapt by becoming a free magazine, supported by advertising and advertorial content.
Various hammers nailed NME’s coffin shut, including changing demographics and market, an ageing (and thus dwindling) readership, weakening influence and rep, and falling circulation. The final print issue came out on 9th March 2018.
When NME’s once-mighty cadaver hit the forest floor, some pundits and punters saw it as a sign of the end times for print music journalism. But if you look around, especially in the aftermath, you’ll find a diverse, thriving and healthy menagerie that’s repopulating the landscape. Walk into W.H. Smith, or large newsagent, and you’ll find shelves filled by dozens of titles; far more than was the case in the heyday of NME, Melody and Sound et al.
Now these latterday titles may have lower circulations than the giants of yesteryear, which used to command circulations in the hundreds of thousands, but there’s more diversity, often because these new titles are more genre- and niche-oriented. Arguably, NME’s demise was in part a failure to adapt to the new, more segmented and specialised marketplace; instead, it continued to try to pitch to a general audience, being everything to everyone, but sadly failing to hook loyal purchasers and subscribers as the more-specialised titles have done. Even going to the free price model wasn’t enough to save NME’s print form, despite the brand’s iconic standing.
So what strategies and tactics ARE working in today’s brave new world of print music journalism? First off, adapting to expectations of smaller circulations, such as thousands or tens of thousands than hundreds of thousands; also to more competitive markets, with competing titles, both in print and online, including free content. In order to survive and prosper, publishers and titles need to be lean, lowering overheads and using smaller teams. In terms of focus and content, they need to identify core specialisms. In terms of writing, prints tend to benefit by offering quality, long-form journalism, with engaging writing style and depth, to set them apart from the more ‘disposable’ acres of free content online.
Established old school titles like Mojo are working to avoid NME’s fate by adapting and evolving. John Mulvey, for instance, editor of the 63,000 per month-selling title (stats from Bauer Media) believes that music press has to realise that they are now specialist publications, not mainstream ones. He’s also worked to add coverage of newer artists into the magazine’s remit, so whilst the ongoing stories of veteran rock and pop artists, traditionally favoured by Mojo’s readers, continues, new performers, material and trends also gets reported on.
As usual, we’ve gone out into the field to ask for first-hand, expert insider insights and advice.
Our first interviewee is Jonni Davis, Head Honcho of Hard Rock Hell, a.k.a. HRH: Europe’s most successful residential festival provider. HRH incorporates its own in-house media arms, including HRH Mag, HRH Radio and HRH TV. HRH Press also provides access to these straight-to-fan channels. They’re actively using multiple media and channels of communication, and (as Jonni tells us) are far from ready to write off print media and journalism.
Our second interview is with Christian Brown, editor of Maverick Magazine: The leading independent country magazine and website. Based in Kent, in the UK, and dedicated to country, folk, Americana, bluegrass & roots music, Maverick has published for over 13 years and puts out 6 issues a year, with over 20,000 circulation in UK, USA and Scandinavia.
WB: How do you see the current state of play of print music journalism and press? What’s the landscape like and how does your title fit into it?
Jonni Davis: Some say print has had its time: it hasn’t; it has just evolved, and funnily enough the fans know exactly what they want. HRH Mag was created by fan demand, as well as frustration from what was currently available.”
Christian Brown: “Generally speaking, very positive. I firmly believe there will always be a place for print based music magazines, so long as they are meaningful. For example, you can pick up an old copy of Q and the features inside will still be as interesting to read now as they were then. Given that Maverick is also bi-monthly, that’s the goal we’re trying to achieve.”
WB: How does print music journalism and publication differ from the online equivalents or alternatives? What advantages does it offer over its online competitors, such as bloggers, websites etc?
Jonni Davis: News travels fast. If it’s hot, it should be put out via a ‘push notification’ strategy and not be put in a mag that will be 4/6 weeks out of date, even before it’s printed. Mags are about creativity: thinking out the box and delivering stories that are not available elsewhere.
Christian Brown: “It’s having something physically in your hands that you can read. Something that you can put down and pick up again with ease, rather than scrambling around to find a link on a website homepage that could be pushed down a fair way due to new content being uploaded. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with digital - NME for example have (very) successfully rebranded themselves online and it’s working out brilliantly for them, but people will never get tired of being able to hold something. Especially at a time where people are looking to cut down on their phone screen time, so having something in print form is a good alternative!”
WB: How would you describe the relationship between print and online music journalism? Are they bound to be rivals or competitors, or can they complement or enhance each other? How does your title, for instance, make use of the web and social media?
Jonni Davis: “It can have too much red tape, which end totally tangles up and takes away the parallel creativity and vision. That’s why I’ve got Print, Online, app, Radio ‘n’ TV working to the same agenda and timeline.”
Christian Brown: “It needs to be strong and I would say that it is at this present moment. Competition is always healthy as it spurs you on to do better with your platforms. At Maverick, we make sure every upload is tweeted out and put on Facebook with the topic of the story tagged in the post and if that’s retweeted/shared by them, it really helps us with traction etc. We also make sure that with every gig we go to, an image is to be put on Instagram and that every picture we get with an artist goes up as well. As always, more could be done, but it’s something we’re working on.”
WB: What makes a music newspaper or magazine relevant, appealing and successful today?
Jonni Davis: “Talk to your fans. Understand them, then go above and beyond to stimulate and excite. It’s not rocket science!”
Christian Brown: Honestly, not having it too accessible. Take NME as an example - in its heyday, it was probably the most important magazine in the UK. If a band/artist was on the cover, they were guaranteed Radio 1 coverage and at a time where we couldn’t discover things so easily at our fingertips, a weekly magazine was a godsend.
“It’s no coincidence their downfall came at a time where social media/online was on the up and for a magazine so broad in their coverage, perhaps the writing was on the wall. Kerrang thrive as a weekly mag because the genre they cover is quite specific, whereas s had fingers in many pies and while that was a fantastic thing, it ultimately played a part in how things panned out for them.
“I personally believe being bi-monthly is the best approach for a print-based music mag - people will pick it up six times a year if they like it, they probably won’t 52 times. It makes it more appealing having six issues a year as well, as what’s inside the mag gains more relevance and appeal on the basis it isn’t going to be forgotten about in a week.”
WB: We’ve seen several iconic titles like NME fold or pull out of the print market, but smaller, more niche-titles have appeared on the shelves and are selling. What’s your take on the niche-market model for print music titles?
Jonni Davis: “The model has changed and boutique stories are the beauty of a niche market, hence why they sell: they have the fan affinity and reward their loyalty by giving them what they want.”
Christian Brown: “I think it’s great and I hope those fledging titles stick around and are passed down by today’s generation to tomorrow’s. So long as brilliant content is being produced, they have a chance. Our title is aimed primarily at country music, but also Americana - so you could say those are niche genres in the UK, despite their rapidly growing popularity in the country. Mainstream titles will do well if the content is there - a front cover with a major mainstream star is always going to shift magazines if it’s done right.”
WB: Do you believe that that print music journalism will have to continue to change in order to survive and prosper? If so, how can it best do so?
Jonni Davis: “Absolutely! But more importantly, in 5th gear, no time for prisoners: ‘Ready, aim, Fire!” is the currency!”
Christian Brown: “I don’t think it necessarily needs to change as such - more to adapt as and when required in the future. People have been saying for years that print is dying etc, but we still live in a time where print publications in the music world are thriving due to how they’ve adapted with the times, not shoved things into your face on a regular basis, and reward those who choose to pick the mag up with the content inside.”
WB: How important is it for an artist or band to be getting coverage in print music media? What can they gain from it, especially what can they gain that they can’t get from other outlets?
Jonni Davis: “If it’s done from a new angle and not the same context, like all good stories, it can really help a fan connect with the tone and personality of the band and the individual. We shouldn’t have to wait for the autobiography when they are dead.”
Christian Brown: “I would still say an awful lot. Cover stories are still a huge deal and the written feature element goes a long way as well as it’s far more interesting than a generic Q+A. Generally speaking, the ones who buy magazines are the ones who consider themselves to be core members of whatever genre the mag sits in, so to be introduced to that crowd is big for a band/artist.”
WB: What kinds of thing are you looking for that’s help get the band or their stories on your RADAR?
Jonni Davis: “Anything out of the box, strong personalities, common sense, cool image, signature sound and a great big set of balls.”
Christian Brown: “New releases, press releases, upcoming releases and tour dates are the big ones as you can see who is currently super relevant and who will be in a few months. These are the main things.”
WB: What’s your advice for someone wanting to make a career in music journalism? What are the best moves to make?
Jonni Davis: “It’s changing that fast that I feel any individual should express their style from their own perspective via their own site/blog and then, if it fits the mag’s strategy and vision, they fuse together.”
WB: Do you cultivate contacts and long-term relationships with agents, PR specialists etc? How might an aspiring music pro go about building up such contacts and relationships? What are the good things to do? What mistakes do people make?
Jonni Davis: “It’s always good to keep all your doors open and networking professionally can only help broaden your musical spectrum. It’s only after your first few meeting you’ll find out who talks any real sense.”
WB: The Guardian reported that new music prints are proving successful by adopting business models with lower overheads and smaller teams. What’s your opinion about that kind of leaner model?
Jonni Davis: “Absolutely! HRH has a HUGE audience; our mag is free and high quality; its reach is ruthless, it’s curated by the fans and delivered with the HRH tone and personality. We have managed to make it work and it’s expanding every few months. All about the fan, band and market affinity.”
Thanks to both Jonni Davis and Christian Brown for their informed and valuable insights, and for the success stories of their respective publications, disproving the naysayer for print’s prospects. Proof that print music journalism still has a bright future, from which artists and bands can benefit.
The world’s changed, but print music journalism is far from dead and still offers value and opportunities for artists and bands. Jason Tanz, editor at large for Wired magazine put it this way: “…the answer is not to pine for the days when a handful of publications defined the limits of public discourse. That’s never coming back, and we shouldn’t want it to. Instead, smart news operations… are finding new ways to listen and respond to their audiences—rather than just telling people what to think.” (Wired magazine)
- ‘Water bear’ is the common name for a Tardigrade.
- Tardigrades are micro creatures, found everywhere on earth.
- They are the most resilient creatures known.
- They can survive and adapt to their surroundings, even in outer space.
- Their resilience and ability to adapt and survive inspires us in everything we do. We love them.