"I can create my own network and do whatever I put my mind to."
- Ollie Azadi, SAE London Music Business graduate
That is what Ollie Azadi has learnt since completing the Music Business degree at SAE London. What started out as an idea, soon became his Major Project and since graduating has now developed into a professional venture, known as Groundwork Music Ltd.
For his Major Project studying Music Business, Ollie created a compilation album to promote various artists. Having sourced all the artists himself and created the album, he has been organising the entire launch of Groundwork Music - from creating website content to filming artist interviews.
“The basis of the project is to create assets and marketing material for the artists to boost their profile and I’m hoping this will help me secure a job in music marketing,” Ollie tells us.
During his penultimate term at SAE London, Ollie created and implemented a business plan for a booking agency service to get gigs for some DJs he knew at SAE. To inform his research further, Lee Erinmez, Music Business Programme Coordinator, helped Ollie arrange an interview with a booking agent. It was during the interview that the booking agent imparted some crucial knowledge to Ollie: that creating a compilation album was one of the best things he had done to promote artists.
“He told me this was crucial in getting gigs for his artists, especially in the states. So I decided to focus my major project on creating a similar compilation, as I already had a great deal of experience working on compilations during my time working as a label coordinator for an electronic music label,” Ollie explains.
Ollie opened up the project to anyone who had good music to share and ended up with a selection of talented second year students from SAE. Now building the promotional assets for the release of the album, the project is still very much ongoing but has been a real source of enjoyment for Ollie, as well as a big learning curve.
“Any energy I put in to the project really gathers momentum and everyone I speak to about it will either try to encourage me or even offer to help. I really believe I can help these artists and also that the project is moving in the right direction.”
Despite the support it’s received so far, there has been a lot of groundwork for Ollie to do before getting to this point and it has been in no way easy.
It started with Ollie promoting his idea internally and then trying to build awareness and interest from the artists. From then he had to do a lot of planning and designing to come up with a key theme and selling point for the album, so he could market it to a specific audience. He then had to go through all of the tracks that he’d been sent to select what would feature on the album, trying to create, as he describes, “a cohesive blend of different genres that make sense as a collection of music.”
With the album finalised and all of the artists formally on board through a process of signing contracts, Ollie is now in the midst of organising its release. There are a lot of components to it such as writing press releases, creating content for the website and social media, filming artist interviews and getting the DJs to create exclusive mixes for the album.
Having nurtured this project from its inception right through to this final phase, Ollie has proved that he has the capability to become truly successful in music marketing.
Marketing was in fact one major aspect of his degree that Ollie learnt the most from. “There was an incredible amount that I did not know before starting my degree, even having worked in marketing positions in the music industry.” Also learning about reflective analysis and business planning has been beneficial and will serve him well in his future career.
One of the Groundwork DJ's (Guonka) will be interviewed live on The Beat London 103.6 FM on the 10 July from 1pm - 4pm, talking all things Groundwork - be sure to tune in if you want to find out more.
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