How do you go from Bucks New University to working on ‘The Voice’ alongside Sir Tom Jones, at a beach-side festival in Portugal, and landing your dream job in the music industry? Read on..
Name: Conor Byrne
Job Title: A&R Coordinator
Working for: Universal Music, within Bravado.
Studied: BA(Hons) Music Management
What is involved in your day-to-day work?
My role varies day to day, I deal a lot with artist managers, tour managers along with the whole Bravado team. My job is basically the link between the artist and their management and our company. I’ll help get artwork for our production team to use, this might mean arranging a photoshoot or so. I’ll then attempt to get approvals on products from artist managers and the artists. Along with ensuring samples are sent out in time to management. On the other side of things, I’ll ensure our touring team has all necessary stock and that the tour is running smoothly.
As part of my role, I also seek out new artists to try sign to our roster and will work on the pitches to their management – before signing someone, the A&R team will have to create appraisals and forecasts which will help justify why we sign someone. This will include putting together a contract (working with our legal team), asking our international and UK teams what they reckon sales forecasts could be and so on. All to ensure that if we sign an artist, we’ll be able to recoup any advance given – this also helps when pitching to the artist and management.
What have been your main career achievements to date?
A variety of things! I helped run merchandise at Download and Wireless Festival, was previously sent to Portugal for a massive event there, so spent a week working on a beach.
Then I moved into artist management, where I was the management assistant within Sir Tom Jones’ management team – from there I met a wide variety of artists, worked on The Voice UK and helped with the international release of an album and autobiography.
My biggest achievement to date is probably getting this job as an A&R Coordinator, as I always aspired to work within A&R.
How has your qualification from Bucks helped your career?
It provided me with the knowledge required to work in my position. A general understanding in how the industry works is a massive benefit, but the added knowledge Bucks provided me has meant I’ve been able to have a career within the industry.
Upon reflection, what skills did your qualification give you that help in your job?
At the moment, the biggest skill is probably the ability to read contracts! But then everything my course taught me has provided me with the confidence to walk into any meeting/room and fully know what everyone’s talking about – whether its down to copyright laws, contracts, advances and royalty rates etc.
What advice would you give to a student who is about to graduate into your role/industry?
Getting into the Music Industry is pretty hard – it took me just over a year to get my first paid role. But doing something you love everyday is highly rewarding. If you really want to work in Music, whether that’s in a label or within management, keep job hunting!
Apply for internships, apply for jobs, get involved with whatever music you can in any way possible! I was doing merch for a company, along with independently managing acts myself, which really helped me stand out amongst other applicants. Once you get your first job, or find something you love doing it’s a great industry to be within.
Are there any misconceptions about your role/industry that you would like to address?
I’d say the biggest misconception is that record labels and management companies are places where artists are walking around constantly. And that working in music is something out of ‘Get Him To The Greek’. Granted there are a lot of ups, such as attending gigs, free music, travelling, social events and so on…but not so much furry walls and Jeffereys.
What advice would you pass on to your first year self?
Attend more gig’s at the SU! They had a lot of great acts performing there, a few of which I missed!
Please tell us anything else about you, your time at Bucks, your industry or role that will be of interest.
Funnily enough, I advertised my previous position through the Bucks alumni team, and my replacement ended up being a Bucks Graduate!
A message from Bucks New University Alumni Service:
We would like to thank Conor for providing this testimonial, for alerting us to a vacancy opening up when he changed roles (which another graduate snapped up), and for mentoring a second year music student.