Course hits the right note with young music entrepreneur

A former unemployed graduate is on song for a career as a digital communications entrepreneur after sounding out a new career in the music business.

Three months ago Grant Brydon, from Kingston Park, was living off benefits but, thanks to a new course that promotes music entrepreneurship, the 24-year-old is now the owner manager of his own successful digital music communications agency, Fiend Digital.

Before completing the Managing a Music Business Enterprise (MMBE) course with Gateshead College and Generator, the UK’s leading music development agency, Grant was desperately trying to carve out a career for himself as a music journalist.

He explained that, though he had the writing skills, knowledge and interest in music, the 13-week MMBE course, which enabled him to turn his passion into a profitable business.

“When I finished my degree in contemporary art practices at Leeds Metropolitan University, I knew I wanted to pursue a literary career; specifically one as a music journalist because I love music so much,” explained Grant.

“I quickly realised just how difficult it can be making a living from writing. Immediately after graduating I started a hip-hop blog, HipHopFiend.com, as a hobby, I built my way up to interviewing some of the most exciting artists in the genre including Eminem protégé Yelawolf and producer 9th Wonder who is known for his work with Jay-Z and Destiny's Child, but was still finding it difficult to convert this into an income.

“It was the MMBE course that really gave me an insight into the huge variety of career options available, it really opened my eyes to the work that is done behind the scenes of the music business.

“The course also gave me the confidence I needed to really go for it and set up my own music marketing agency which would still allow me to utilise the skills I'd already acquired from running my site.”

Grant now earns his living through Fiend Digital by providing online communication campaigns for a wide range of artists and bands including North East based electronic duo Trafik, hip-hop producer Barzin and indie band This Ground Moves, as well as handling management for London-based producer Distinction.

He offers a range of services from creating communications strategies and publicity to managing social media and is also involved in working with Bad Taste Cru, Dance City and Juice Festival to organise the annual Just Jam International hip-hop festival in Newcastle. He also writes for online music channel SB.TV and continues to run HipHopFiend.com.z

Phil Richardson from Gateshead College said: “It’s fantastic to see that Grant has been able to make music his career and we’ve really enjoyed working with him while he was studying on the MMBE course and afterwards to provide advice and guidance.

“This is exactly the kind of success story we were hoping for when we teamed up with Generator to offer this fantastic course in the North East. There are so many opportunities in the region for people to tap into the music scene and make a career for themselves and the course delivers the skills, know-how and confidence to help make these careers happen.”

Other students that have started their own businesses following successful completion of the MMBE course are Ben Holland who runs The Polite Room gig nights across the North East and Troy Slater whose music production company Synchestra was commissioned to create music for the Olympic Torch Relay event in Newcastle.

Anyone who is interested in enrolling on the next MMBE course with Gateshead College and Generator should drop into the taster session at Gateshead College’s Baltic Campus on Wednesday 24 October, 4-6pm or email Generator at jonny@generator.org.uk.