Postgrad Lives: ‘You get to put your own spin on every area’

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The Independent Online

Liam Maloney, 26, is nearing the end of a part time MSc in music and creative industries management at Bolton University.

Why did you want to do this particular Masters?

After my first degree I did a PGDE teaching qualification for the FE sector and got a job as a lecturer in sound and music technology at Hugh Baird College in Bootle. But after a couple of years, there was a huge cut in funding for adult education and I lost my job. So I had time on my hands and thought I should be advancing myself rather than just sitting around looking for jobs. After starting the MSc, though, I got a job running a sound recording studio at an FE college, so I’ve been fitting the study around my job.

What’s the course all about?

It concentrates on the theory and background of how you go about marketing and managing every sort of musical event, or any artistic event with a creative slant. There are six modules: intellectual property rights; e-marketing; finance for managers; managing creativity; innovation and problem solving; and a dissertation.

How’s it organised?

There are three modules in the first semester and three in the second, and I’ve done them all now apart from the dissertation which I need to finish by Easter. I had to go in to university one afternoon and two evenings a week for lectures. I was in a group of seven doing the same course and there were three of us who started last February, so when we started the other four had already done three modules, which actually helped because the ones who’d already done a semester passed on the methodology to the new ones.

So what’s your dissertation about?

I’m looking at the idea of musical taste and who are the taste-makers who define it. In the old days it was big figures such as John Peel, whose radio programme had enormous influence, but I’m looking at how that’s shifted in the digital economy, where the taste-makers use more informal, social means of communication. The crux is how we identify the taste-makers of today, because if we can identify them, then we can market music much more efficiently.

How have you found the course as a whole?

It certainly hasn’t been a walk in the park – late nights have been really hard for example – but it has been incredibly enjoyable and it’s freer than any course I have been on before. You get to explore stuff you are interested in and you can put your own spin on every area. For example a Thai girl on the course explored how the piracy market in Thailand affected film and musical marketing there.

Where do you think the MSc will take you?

That’s the big question consuming me at the moment. I thought I would either do another Masters or maybe a PhD, but because I’ve learnt so much (about e-marketing for example), all sorts of other avenues have opened up, which in one way is scary, but it can’t really be a negative.

How have you funded it?

I was really lucky really because it was a brand new course sponsored by the EU. They wanted to promote it and thought there would be a massive market for it, hoping professionals and creative people would then come and set up in the area. As a result of that, the course fees were only £100!