Big names from the music industry dropped in on Southampton Solent University’s inaugural Solent Music Industries Live Event (SMILE) on Wednesday 11 March 11.
Guests included Nick Halkes, founder of XL records, Maria Forte, mastermind of Radiohead’s In Rainbows download campaign, and Janine Warren, PR for Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party.
A packed lecture theatre heard Nick Halkes recount the tale of his purchase of the rights to Reel to Reel’s classic 1994 dance track I Like to Move It – for a paltry £1,500 – before it became an international smash hit.
Maria Forte, whose career has put her at the forefront of digital rights management, fascinated students with her accounts of the huge fees charged for the use of audio samples. Happily – amid pessimistic proclamations about the supposed decline of the music industry – Maria offered a positive view of the industry’s future.
Martin James, the event organiser hoped the event would inspire students to emulate the success of the speakers. He said:
“Meeting music industry professionals will hopefully demystify the industry – help students to realise that the people who work within it are just like them, and that they too are able get into the industry.
“The fact that respected industry speakers are eager to come to Solent demonstrates that the university is increasingly recognised as a centre of excellence in popular music”, he added.
Throughout the day students on the Popular Music Journalism course interviewed guests for a film of the event and for their own feature writing assignments. Guest quotes from these student interviews were subsequently used within the university’s own marketing materials.
“I really enjoyed SMILE. It was an excellent opportunity to meet young people who are clearly on track to do some exciting work in the music and media industries over future years… questions from the students were thought provoking and the level of enthusiasm amongst students was high. I look forward to a return visit!”
Nick Halkes, Incentive Music, A&R for The Prodigy.