Insider tips to succeed in the music industry

Josh Saunders, guest lecturer at Flinders University

Recently music industry specialist Josh Saunders held a guest lecture for the Bachelor of Creative Industries (Music) at Flinders University on the importance of digital marketing to promote new music to fans. We caught up with him to find out more. 

Josh Saunders’ music industry background 

Originally from Wales, Josh’s first role in the music industry was for Richard Branson’s indie label V2 Music. Going from creating websites for bands such as Stereophonics and Underworld in 2000, when websites were still in their infancy, to later leading a team of designers and developers at EMI Music, the only major British music label at the time, Josh built his expertise in promoting music online. 

“In 2012, EMI was sold to both Universal and Warner, leaving only 3 majors: Universal, Sony and Warner. I was in Warner from 2012 to 2023, running an internal tech/creative team for marketing and fan engagement, supporting the labels and artist managers”, he tells us. 

Nowadays Josh freelances and consults for labels and artist management companies, in areas of production for audience and fan engagement – and lectures in Commercial Music at Bath Spa University in the UK.   

“My journey has ultimately been about the creative/technical and production aspect of marketing campaigns and products, and how this generates success for the artist and their music.”  

What makes the music industry a great workplace 

For Josh the great sense of combined team mission and camaraderie around the belief in the artist’s music, their authentic artistry, and contributing to achieving their goals makes the music industry so appealing to work in. “Whether these goals are around sales, social media, music charts, streaming, or innovation – several angles keep the work in the music industry varied and dynamic.   

“It’s also an impossible industry to be on autopilot with, by which I mean: the cultural and technological changes to the music industry’s economy and requirements are constant, and ever shifting.  Nothing ever stays the same.  If you think you have it figured out, it’ll change. This makes it exciting, dynamic, and requiring of a creative and motivational energy that a lot of other industries don’t need as much.” 

Josh Saunders

Josh’s advice to students interested in a career in the music industry 

Initially, Josh recommends doing as much voluntary work, and DIY learning and contributing as possible. “Setting simple marketing and business goals for your own music is a perfect place to start and learn – or for friend’s music.”   

Also keeping an eye on LinkedIn, following industry commentators/influencers in media or labels and artist managers is helpful. “Don’t ‘spray and pray’ in terms of hitting people up, remember to take a step back to strategically focus on the particular part of the many areas of the industry you could join – the ones in which you know you have skills and experience (or a key inner interest) that could add value, for instance: A&R, junior marketing co-ordination, social media, merchandise, live, publishing, radio – the list goes on.”  

How Flinders prepares students for a career in the music industry 

“The strong list of teaching materials and deliverables one creates in the music-oriented Bachelor of Creative Industries (Music), will give you solid skills to then hone for your employability and next steps.   

“Music lecturer Michael Bunce‘s experience and skills are already a superpower to the course, and the syllabus and teaching materials in general, will arm you with what you need, if you apply yourself with your own intrinsic motivation, or ‘hunger’.   

“Music industry employers are often looking for employees who align with the future of the company, not the past. So ensure you are building up skillsets, motivation and experience for the music industry as it will look in the next 5-10 years.” 

Take the next step  

Keen to discover new bands or market artists yourself? Find out how you can make a career in the music industry reality with the Bachelor of Creative Industries (Music) and apply for midyear entry.

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Career Music

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