Sound City celebrates 10 years of Launch Training

Sound City is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its revered Launch Training programme, which supports 16 – 24 year olds with an ambition to work in the music business as an artist or industry leader.

This year’s Launch Training programme will run from October 16 – December 18 and is complemented by 40 bursaries for participants in 2023-24 to celebrate the landmark.

Successful participants will be eligible for an individual bursary of £750 if they are performers or artists and need financial support to develop their practice. Students who would like to work in the music industry in a variety of roles will be supported through a UK Living Wage four-week work placement at a leading music company.

Supported by CAPLL and Arts Council England, Sound City’s Launch Training programme has supported more than 600 aspiring North West artists and music industry professionals over its decade long history, having a hugely positive impact on both the North West of England and the UK’s creative industries by diversifying their workforce and incubating new talent.

100% of previous Launch Training participants said the programme improved their industry knowledge and 90% said they would recommend it to a friend.

The exclusive 10-week course is a perfect alternative to higher education, designed to expand students’ knowledge of the music industry, empowering them to take their first steps towards the music career of their dreams.

Launch offers a wide range of industry insights into musical performance, production, music business and more, across weekly sessions led by expert mentors sharing their extensive knowledge and offering constant feedback and support.

Leading industry speakers have included Shell Zenner (BBC Introducing, Amazing Radio), Emma Edgar (Tour Manager, Wolf Alice), Seye Adeyekan (Gorillaz), Nova Twins, Remi Harris MBE (Music Leaders Network/Young Guns Network), Ben Wynter (AIM), Pierre Hall (PIAS/Speedy Wunderground), Tanyel Vahdettin (Eleven Management), Nike Durosaro (Big Drum Entertainment) Chi Chi Nwakodo (Sony Music Publishing), Mike Murphy (Ditto Music), Jamie  Eli Brazil (Napster), Eli Best (RCA) and Phil Loutsis (AWAL).

Past trainees have gone on to perform worldwide tours, play at major festivals such as Reading and Leeds, and establish careers at global companies including Spotify, BBC and Nintendo.

You can read more about Launch’s alumni, including Brendan Walsh (Universal Music Group), Jess Rafferty (Coca Cola), Jordan Hetherington (Spotify), Amy McArthur (Live Nation), Holly Jones (Sound City), Sean Fay (Standon Calling), Jenuelle Na-Oy (Modern Sky), Holly Minto (Crawlers) and Imogen Storey (Esche Haus Audio) here.

All Launch students are offered an industry mentor post-programme and supported via Sound City’s other free programmes, including volunteering opportunities, mentoring, artist development opportunities, networking events and internships. They’re also the first to hear about access to paid work opportunities at Sound City or within the Sound City network.

Sound City Managing Director Becky Ayres said: “We are incredibly proud of the legacy that we’ve created over the past 10 years of Launch, guiding and nurturing artistic and professional talent. No other organisation has the track record we have when it comes to helping young people from the North of England into industry jobs at a broad range of companies, including some of the biggest in the world. That’s alongside the countless emerging artists that we have helped onto bigger and better things in the business. We have a unique set-up here, with education and training being a vital and complimentary part of our work alongside our sister management, label and publishing companies, and our renowned festival. It all combines to create a potent offering that has changed the lives of hundreds of young individuals – and the creative industries at large.”

Vanessa Bakewell, Global Client Partner at Meta and a former Launch mentor, said: “Sound City has achieved incredible things for young people and our industry through its training programmes.  Speaking as both a mentor on its programmes and as a recruiter in the music industry, I can say that Sound City is the only dedicated music industry training provider in the North of England that is truly preparing candidates for jobs in our sector in the 21st century. Young people graduate from Sound City programmes equipped to work fast and with creativity, tackle big challenges by working in brilliant teams and – importantly – are comfortable being themselves in the world of work. You only have to look at the number of young people who have gone into music industry roles as a direct result of completing Sound City training to understand its impact. If you see ‘Launch Training’ on a CV, give them an interview!”

Brendan Walsh, who embarked on Sound City Launch training in 2015 and is now International Marketing Manager at Universal Music Group, said: “The opportunities afforded by Sound City and their training were invaluable to me at the time. Besides offering me a first taste of the industry, it provided me with a confidence that can’t be gained in any other way. The biggest barrier for me and many people is the cost of London living, but lack of long-term opportunities outside of London. I didn’t have any savings that would allow me to move when I got my first job in London. I commuted four hours daily for 3-4 months! I would implore more music businesses, especially from outside London to look at what Sound City has been offering for the past 10 years and try to do the same so that we can continue to have a diverse and readily equipped pool of young talent in the music industry.”