Music lover turns entrepreneur

Music collector and promoter Mark Elliott is set to make a full time career out of his hobby thanks to a music business course at Gateshead College.

Mr Elliott, 48, completed the part-time Managing a Music Business Enterprise (MMBE) course at the College with the support of Generator, the Music Development Agency for the North East and UK.

It's been a labour of love for Mr Elliott, from North Shields, who has been promoting music and supporting the North East scene for over 10 years on a part-time basis. When he was asked to manage local band The Watchers, he realised it was time to get serious and turn his passion into a business.

He said: "I had attended a number of music business seminars and events provided by Generator. When I heard about their MMBE course, the timing was perfect for my ambitions and goals for The Watchers. Being able to study one evening a week allowed me to plan around my current work and other commitments."

Since taking the course, Mark has taken The Watchers on tour with the Charlatans and they are now having tracks produced by Coldplay producer, Danton Supple.

Mr Elliott has had some varied and interesting jobs throughout his career, from taxi driver to oil rig worker, and is now looking forward to the prospect of making a full time job out of his management position with the band

He said, "MMBE has allowed me to take The Watchers to another level. The course has given me sound knowledge to progress within the music industry and the skills to finally create a sustainable career from something I am extremely passionate about .

"The main tutor, Mark Hobrough was superb. He has worked on many levels within the industry, so his experience and input was invaluable and he was always willing to help in any way.

"The course covered almost every aspect of the music industry and brought in some fantastic professionals to share their experiences. I made some great friends and contacts on the course who were in a similar position to me. We keep in regular contact and support each other's careers now that the course has finished."

Mark Hobrough, Mr Elliott's tutor at Gateshead College, said: "I'm delighted that Mark is enjoying such success in managing The Watchers. It just goes to show that if you gain the right knowledge and skills and are prepared to put in the effort, you can really make your own luck, and he's certainly done that.

"There is no real shortcut to succeeding in the music business, but with some application and advice you can make good career decisions and build a business. Mark is a great example of just that."

Due to the success of the course, Managing a Music Business Enterprise will be running at Gateshead College from March 2012, visit http://mmbe.co.uk/ for information.