Online Music Enterprise was a 2-year Research and Knowledge Transfer initiative funded by the Arts and Humanities Council. Led by Tim Wall, and co-ordinated by Andrew Dubber, the project sought to map and understand contemporary practice and current issues in online media within the music industries, and then disseminate this knowledge in a useful way among local independent music businesses and practitioners.
For the first six months of the project, we undertook a comprehensive study of debates and practices within the online music space, and distilled that knowledge into a practical curriculum for delivery to music industry workers. During the three subsequent six-month periods, that curriculum was delivered through a one-day-per-week course leading to a certificate.
Practitioners including record label managers, recording studio owners, artist managers, recording artists, promoters and digital music aggregators from the Birmingham region attended the courses, which were well-received. However, it was in conversation with (and application by) the practitioners that the knowledge gleaned by studying the online music space was developed and given depth and nuance.
As the practitioners worked with the ideas, new debates and discussions arose that led to some genuine innovation and new types of understanding. Over the course of the Online Music Enterprise project, it developed into a genuine knowledge exchange (rather than simply ‘transfer’) activity — and many of the practitioners who first came into contact with our research centre are now long-term active non-academic partners… and a couple have even gone on to study at a post-graduate level and have become part of our core research team.