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Which?

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Which?

Postby AntoniaKat » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:22 pm

Hi I am moving from Ireland to London to study Music business. I have looked a couple of schools but yet to see more.

Can anyone tell me which is the better of the two.. Point Blank (1yr cert) or SAE (1yr diploma)

Obviously a diploma is better but on SAE's web site it says nothing about tutors where as Point Blank has impressive tutors.

Anyone with any knowledge or suggestions?
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Re: Which?

Postby Gone To Lunch » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:01 pm

If you want to study business, as in the sense of commerce, copyright law and marketing etc, then City University run some pretty good courses, or at least did years ago when I did them.
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Re: Which?

Postby * User requested deletion * » Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:01 pm

What is it about the music business you wanna learn about on a course? I mean, don't these places employ lecturers that are there cos they can't actually get a job in the music business apart from lecturing about the 'music business'? Or am I being a tad naive??

Errrr, put it this way, I know a guy that runs a (ahem...) 'course' and he knows bugger all about the music business.

Perhaps this raises the question: Is it necessary to know about the music business in order to teach it? I mean, Fanny Craddock never won a Michelin star did he?
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Re: Which?

Postby Crying Chic » Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:02 pm

LSE are quite good too www.lse.ac.uk
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Re: Which?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:12 pm

AntoniaKat wrote:Hi I am moving from Ireland to London to study Music business. I have looked a couple of schools but yet to see more.

Can anyone tell me which is the better of the two.. Point Blank (1yr cert) or SAE (1yr diploma)

Obviously a diploma is better but on SAE's web site it says nothing about tutors where as Point Blank has impressive tutors.

"Diploma" is a word. "Certificate" is another word. Neither mean much when attached to "Music Business". Don't bother. Really, don't bother.
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You don't have to write songs. The world doesn't want you to write songs. It would probably prefer it if you didn't. So write songs if you want to. Otherwise, dont. Go fishing instead.


Re: Which?

Postby narcoman » Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:14 am

AntoniaKat wrote:Hi I am moving from Ireland to London to study Music business. I have looked a couple of schools but yet to see more.

Can anyone tell me which is the better of the two.. Point Blank (1yr cert) or SAE (1yr diploma)

Obviously a diploma is better but on SAE's web site it says nothing about tutors where as Point Blank has impressive tutors.

Anyone with any knowledge or suggestions?

Neither have impressive tutors. Steer well clear of all. Do something more useful and teach yourself. The sooner legislation buries these companies/courses - the better.
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Re: Which?

Postby * User requested deletion * » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:03 am

Another slightly curious thing about learning the 'music business' from those who have no real experience of the 'music business is that it is knowledge that is of no real use if one wishes to persue a career in the real world of music business. It is akin to Rick Waller coaching the English national triathlon team.

Surely a better approach would be to do a business degree at a 'proper' university. Far more useful. A music business diploma is as much use as a chocloate teapot - well, almost.

Had a look at point blank course:

http://www.pointblanklondon.com/music-business-course/music-business-2.php

The module 'Royalties: What can I earn?' made me giggle somewhat. Well, I mean, ooooooh, ball park figure you can earn millions can't you?

Then again, if I could run the 100 metres 5 seconds faster I'd break the world record.

What also makes me giggle is how these courses now like to stick in 'Entrepreneurial skills'. I venture that this is to cover themselves when people leave and realise the qualification is useless.

And it's only 3.5k. Honestly, you could save the money and just PM Narco with a list of questions or just search this forum cos it's all here.
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Re: Which?

Postby blue manga » Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:14 am

Look I don't know why ur all being so negative - the website clearly says "Dance music guru DJ Pete Tong visits the Point Blank studios from time to time." - I mean, he ! him ! he, visits it, from time to time !!
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Re: Which?

Postby DJW » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:42 am

I enrolled on a music course a few years ago (1997). It was OK to start with, but it was one of those free ones. It was a two year course crammed into six months! But I did actually learn quite a lot of stuff. Useful maybe. Half the students dropped off of course half way through but I stuck with it. I've learned more from my musical partner than I did on that course! But the whole experience was OK.
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Re: Which?

Postby Point_Blank » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:59 am

Hey Guys,

AntoniaKat - It's cool that your considering Point Blank. Have you been in to take a tour of the college yet?

Although Sue Dunnim's friend knows nothing about the industry, I can assure you that rather than being a place to come and teach after your music career is dead, all of Point Blank's tutors are still heavily involved music projects outside of the college.

I recently took the Business course to check out the college for myself, first hand. It was new tutor; Doug Sturrock's first class, and I was genuinely impressed. The amount of different roles he has worked in throughout the industry is unbelievable, so his knowledge of every aspect of the industry is really well balanced. Most notably, he has managed a number of very successful bands, including; Franz Ferdinand and Klaxons. He has also tour managed The Strokes and The Foo Fighters.

As I said earlier, Doug is still really involved in the industry, and has his own Studio and music venue. He told me yesterday that he has just picked up a couple of exciting new bands and is now managing them as well as continuing to teach at the college.

There seems to be a lot of negative attitudes towards the course from people who haven't studied at the college before, I'd like to hear some feedback from some former students. There are a great number of people who have gone on to successful careers after taking our courses. One example being Ben Scarr, who is now working as an A&R man for Island Records.

It's good to have some debate though, and we genuinely appreciate any feedback we can get from forums.

Cheers,
James - Point Blank
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Re: Which?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:18 am

DJW wrote:I enrolled on a music course a few years ago (1997). It was OK to start with, but it was one of those free ones. It was a two year course crammed into six months! But I did actually learn quite a lot of stuff. Useful maybe. Half the students dropped off of course half way through but I stuck with it. I've learned more from my musical partner than I did on that course! But the whole experience was OK.

Sure, grab what you can for free! Is the course still available? Where?
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You don't have to write songs. The world doesn't want you to write songs. It would probably prefer it if you didn't. So write songs if you want to. Otherwise, dont. Go fishing instead.


Re: Which?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:34 am

Point_Blank wrote: I can assure you that rather than being a place to come and teach after your music career is dead, all of Point Blank's tutors are still heavily involved music projects outside of the college.

That's a fair point. There's not a lot of work around, and many people are probably very grateful for a part-time teaching gig. The Music Business course seems to take just two sessions per week, either on the same day or spread over two evenings.

I'd be looking for a straightforward Business Studies course though, which would hopefully include visits from experts in various specialist areas, including music. Is this sort of thing offered anywhere, or is it ALL about getting foreign students their MBA as quickly as possible?

Then try for an internship in the sort of company that interests you. Or anywhere. Once the romantic notions are knocked out of your head, you may as well learn the trade in a business where there IS some business. You can still keep your eyes open for opportinities - square pegs DO tend to find square holes eventually. And you'll be in a much better position to get that job, when it turns up, if you come from a proven work record, not from a life spent on benefits and hanging around recording studios.
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Re: Which?

Postby narcoman » Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:39 am

Point_Blank wrote:Hey Guys,

AntoniaKat - It's cool that your considering Point Blank. Have you been in to take a tour of the college yet?

Although Sue Dunnim's friend knows nothing about the industry, I can assure you that rather than being a place to come and teach after your music career is dead, all of Point Blank's tutors are still heavily involved music projects outside of the college.

Being involved in music projects is not the same as being active in the industry.


Point_Blank wrote:
I recently took the Business course to check out the college for myself, first hand. It was new tutor; Doug Sturrock's ...... Most notably, he has managed a number of very successful bands, including; Franz Ferdinand and Klaxons. He has also tour managed The Strokes and The Foo Fighters.

That's not the contention. I could come and teach a seminar at the darn college and they'd have my stupidly enormous CV. It'd be pointless. It's like after dinner speaking.... it won't get you my gigs or any like them. It is not an endorsement of a completely private company selling itself as an educational establishment in a biz that doesn't need one.

Point_Blank wrote:
As I said earlier, Doug is still really involved in the industry, and has his own Studio and music venue. He told me yesterday that he has just picked up a couple of exciting new bands and is now managing them as well as continuing to teach at the college.

..and so the point is re-inforced. He's doing all these groovey things (and I've no doubt they ARE groovey) and yet STILL he is teaching an PB? Is that not hugely indicative of the industry - if you have a career you STILL can't make ends meet?

Point_Blank wrote:
There seems to be a lot of negative attitudes towards the course from people who haven't studied at the college before, I'd like to hear some feedback from some former students. There are a great number of people who have gone on to successful careers after taking our courses. One example being Ben Scarr, who is now working as an A&R man for Island Records.

.....and here's where posts like yours become dangerous. Any such opportunities are made BY the person and not in anyway connected to being on a course run by companies such as PB.

One of my employees went to a music tech course - I laughed at his CV, but he was persistent. HE GOT IN despite the disadvantage he had by being in possession of such a piece of useless paper. HIS hard work. He's now one of the licensing managers at my company. I can only imagine it's the same scenario with the A&R at Island (although I don't know Ben I do know many of them - one of my strategic partners was the president of Island for 11 years).

Music tech courses, apart from the one or two high level academic and science based ones such as LIPA or Tonmeister, are leeches on the dreams of young people. They offer nothing to my industry. Many of us are lobbying to get places on those courses severely capped.

Point_Blank wrote:
It's good to have some debate though, and we genuinely appreciate any feedback we can get from forums.

Cheers,
James - Point Blank


This is one of the few places where people can get some balancing advice. We do not need to "balance" an equation that is grossly imbalanced in the first place. Your advertising and monetary intake is already difficult to shake out when it comes to the education of the young; shiny lights entice young minds.....

If PB is looking for industry endorsement (rather than co-incidental success stories from well motivated individuals) then you'd do very well to get people like me, Red Bladder and a few others on side. The current business practises of most music tech "colleges" are a complete affront to the music business proper. PB, SAE et al have not ONCE approached me asking "what do we want in a graduate"...... If you want to have value to the industry (and you SHOULD) start talking to us... the UK employers in this biz. The people that ARE the biz.
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Re: Which?

Postby Wease » Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:11 pm

don't know about anyone else - but wouldn't it be nice if some of these tech courses actually taught some music ?

you know - that boring theory stuff regarding quavers and crochets et al


also - how much of a teaching qualification does one require to "teach" on these courses.....?

(just a little point from someone with a BA Hons in Music and QTS status....me - I'd go for either a proper music degree (with some tech modules thrown in if you want) or a business degree (although I don't even think these are that great)and I'd really like my lecturers to be at doctorate level.....call me old fashioned, but at £8-9 grand a year in fees, I'd want some value for money!) :headbang:
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Re: Which?

Postby * User requested deletion * » Thu Aug 25, 2011 6:26 pm

Point_Blank wrote:There are a great number of people who have gone on to successful careers after taking our courses. One example being Ben Scarr, who is now working as an A&R man for Island Records.


Can you name say, 5 more? How many of the graduates (paying 3.5k for a one day a week course) never got a job in music? I mean proper universities and even the polyversities have stats and stuff right?

I'd love to know what the 'Royalties: What can I earn?' module consists of.
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Re: Which?

Postby * User requested deletion * » Thu Aug 25, 2011 6:35 pm

narcoman wrote:They offer nothing to my industry. Many of us are lobbying to get places on those courses severely capped.



And we thank you for it. We need to mount a strategic alliance and try and stop the proliferation of these ridiculous courses.

In the case of Point Blank, I object to the seemingly extortionate 3.5k for a one year course (Music Business cert) consisting of one day a week's tutoring (11am-6pm) - if indeed that time period is wall to wall tutoring - which I doubt because we know how tired 20-somethings get. I guess there's probably some 'project development time' or something thrown in too...

http://www.pointblanklondon.com/music-business-course.php

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Re: Which?

Postby Soundseed » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:48 pm

I have to agree with much of the sentiment expressed here, but I also have to admit a grudging admiration for these businesses, which so effectively extract money from gullible wannabees who can't be bothered to do even a modicum of research. I mean, how difficult is it to ask: how many of your students entered full time paid employment in music related businesses on graduation last year? ... or "what is the average income for graduates of your establishment?" ... or any number of similar questions which if answered truthfully would lead the prospective student to conclude "no thanks".

And why for that matter single out colleges? There is a vast global industry based on exploiting people's aspirations to make money from music, whether it be multinational corporations, boutique outboard specialists, sample libraries, your friendly neighbourhood music tech mag/forum, or even many of us at an individual level. If I for one had to give back all the money I'd earned from clients who had the slimmest of statistical chances of earning it back, I'd be a good deal poorer. That said, I spent it all on gear, and releasing albums that don't sell, so I'm a mug too.

And let's ask: if these courses/institutions are so bad, why is the esteemed SOS taking their advertising money? Right here as I type this, I can see adverts for Point Blank and Berklee College of Music on the page. And there are tons of them in the magazine too. FFS - my local branch of SAE takes out full size street side billboards. Last time I looked at a NAMM Global Report, there was $17,000,000,000 worth of instrument and equipment sales in a single year (2008 I think). And thats just the stuff that musicians buy from music stores ... its a massive industry, and a pretty substantial part of it is without doubt based on selling stuff to people who will get absolutely nothing tangible from their investment.

So if we're going to be critical of the general practice of exploiting aspiration, where do we stop?

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Re: Which?

Postby narcoman » Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:07 pm

Interesting points.

I guess with instruments there is something else to be gained - you're own musical learning. Self taught or otherwise. The goal is artistic and you can't put a price on that. If such a course solely sold itself on improving your artistic matters then I'd take less issue with it.

As for advertising in SOS. I've no problem with the it as long as it isn't within the pages of the Forum itself.

the only real issue is this is a job light industry. It gets WROSE by flooding it with a series of "graduates" looking to get a foot in the door. The undercutting in this biz (which is a real problem as we either have to compete with them or justify why we don't) is partly fuelled by the high expectations but lower skill level of the oodle-grads from music tech. To many wannabes!!
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Re: Which?

Postby Soundseed » Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:04 pm

narcoman wrote:Interesting points.

I guess with instruments there is something else to be gained - you're own musical learning. Self taught or otherwise. The goal is artistic and you can't put a price on that. If such a course solely sold itself on improving your artistic matters then I'd take less issue with it.

As for advertising in SOS. I've no problem with the it as long as it isn't within the pages of the Forum itself.

the only real issue is this is a job light industry. It gets WROSE by flooding it with a series of "graduates" looking to get a foot in the door. The undercutting in this biz (which is a real problem as we either have to compete with them or justify why we don't) is partly fuelled by the high expectations but lower skill level of the oodle-grads from music tech. To many wannabes!!

I'm sure we've had this debate before :-)

The way I see it, is that market for music bought and paid for by consumers is now smaller than the market for products which facilitate its creation/promotion and distribution. At the heart of this "new" business is the fuelling of aspiration - the suggestion that anybody can do it. If we look at the "pinnacle" of the music selling industry, the artistic role models aren't - and never really have been - particularly obvious for their strident musical talents. The thing is nowadays technology erodes the difference between top and bottom, and makes it more subjective than ever before .... its like a mirage: you can do it, but you just need this .. and then this ... and then this ... and then ..... and its across the board - aspiring engineers, producers, composers, performers, songwriters, programmers, managers, labels, promoters ...

Courses are just one part of this cycle of need, and since the outcome is almost always intangible, it doesn't really matter whether we're talking about a course, this months SOS, a new plug in, sample library, ribbon mic or whatever - they're all just ways of extracting money from musical types, and in one way another all part of the wedge.

I wouldn't for a moment argue with your description of the unpleasant and downright destructive side effects of far too many courses/graduates, but my impression is that its part of an inexorable shift away from making money from music to making money from musicians.

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Re: Which?

Postby narcoman » Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:19 pm

good post.
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Re: Which?

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:31 am

narcoman wrote:good post.

Quite so! :)
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Re: Which?

Postby VOLOVIA » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:02 am

It's funny, isn't it, all these 'professional' courses trying to teach 'music business' or 'music technology'. I for one designed a full one-year course for a college trying to entice 'young ethnic men' into education, and later on managed another one for years targeting the 'neet' audience.
What a bloody waste of time. I needed the money and 'enjoyed' explaining how a compressor works and so on... but did I boost even the sightliest changes of employment of any of my pupils? No. (my conscience does not rest easy on this.. but I needed the money to get me through my PhD...)

On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with 'sucking' money out of people's hobbies.. Train spotters know they will never drive a real train or let alone, own one. And this is the same for people buying magazines on high performance cars, boats, or planes. It is a hobby-curiosity to keep our minds distracted from the realities of life... being in unloving relationships, the constant hand of the ripper on our shoulders, professional (real) disappointments, financial dire straits, etc..

I think it's just a matter of honesty from the 'educational' providers: they should clearly market their wares as 'aspirational courses': "do you like messing around with instruments, getting stuck in Cubase, not understanding really how your latest professional (cracked) mastering plug-in works, etc... come and join us, your hobby experience will gain immensely, and all for just a few thousands pounds a year!".

The problem with colleges and even schools offering these kind of courses instead of 'studios' or free-lance professionals (what is wrong if I charge you £50/hr to show you Cubase?) is that they sell you these courses alongside 'real' ones, e.g. engineering, business, plumbing... same fees, same institutes, etc. IF they offered these 'diplomas' alongside 'proficiency in Flight Simulators Certificate', 'Sport Cars Understanding and Appreciation Diploma', 'Ship Model Building Proficiency Course' it would be soooo more honest.

I would love to join the presumed lobby group against these malpractices and propose to subscribe and contribute financially to an open letter (advert) in SOS highlighting the pitfalls of these courses. I put my wallet where my mouse is.
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Re: Which?

Postby VOLOVIA » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:36 am

Sorry, a quick one, I love the "College of Music" advertised here offering a course in 'Reason'.. online! No further comment!
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Re: Which?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:04 am

Soundseed wrote: And let's ask: if these courses/institutions are so bad, why is the esteemed SOS taking their advertising money?

Er... partly because the magazine relies upon advertising revenue to remeain in business and produce the magazine nad website that you all enjoy so much. Added to that, we aren't allowed, by law, to pick and choose who we allow to advertise in the magazine, other than for reasons of space/cost, even if we wanted to....

While it is obvious that different courses deliver training to different standards to meet different expectations, budgets and aims, I'm quite sure that all have at least some merit. Were that not the case they'd go out of business very quickly.

As with everything in life, it is encumbent upon the potential student to ascertain the suitability of a specific course to meet their needs and expectations, and a course that one person rates highly might not be appropriate to another, and some might find great value and worth from a course that others slate. It is a complicated area that requires careful research before committing.

As for the wider point about employment in the industry; yes, it is extremely difficult and while a good qualification from a 'good' college might make it easier to get a few more interviews, it certainly won't guarantee a job. The most highly motivated, dedicated and skilled will undoubtedly make it sooner or later, regardless of which course they went on.

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Re: Which?

Postby ken long » Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:31 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Added to that, we aren't allowed, by law, to pick and choose who we allow to advertise in the magazine, other than for reasons of space/cost, even if we wanted to....

Just don't tell Russ Andrews... :beamup:
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