The MIA’s Young Professionals Network

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The MIA have set up a network to provide young professionals the opportunity to network, engage, discuss and socialise. This network is also used to communicate and advocate for the issues which are affecting music industry young professionals. In this article, you can learn more about the network, its members, and how you and your team can get involved.

As well as presenting the opportunity for networking and socialising, the young professionals network will provide training, group and 1-2-1 mentoring, and the chance to input on MIA policy and campaigns. The network is free to join, and open to anyone under the age of 40 who works in the MI industry.

The young professionals involved in the network will be able to provide insights and guidance to the MIA Board on issues which are affecting music industry young professionals. This will allow the MIA to focus on fulfilling the training and development needs of the next generation of MI leaders.

The MIA’s General Manager, Alice Monk, is leading on this project. Here, she shares some thoughts on why this network is important:

Hi! For those of you that don’t know me, I’m Alice, I’m 23, and I’ve been working for the MIA for 4 years.

The best thing about working in the music products industry is the people, without doubt. I’ve met so many inspiring, creative, passionate individuals. We’re all working towards a joint goal; enhancing peoples lives through music.

I think that the older generation in our industry have so many strong, reliable contacts that they can use as sounding boards. Those relationships are vital for collaboration. For me, this network is about making friends who understand each others careers, and can share experiences.

If you would like to join the network, and you are aged 40 or under and you work in the MI industry, please reach out to me. If you’d like to introduce me to a colleague who might like to join the network, please do. It doesn’t matter if you’re part time, an apprentice, just starting out, or if you’ve been in the industry for years – all are welcome.

I’d like to introduce you to some of the members of the network, to help you get to know us:

Luke Bilson – General Manager, BBICO


Age: 31 
Favourite Hot beverage: Coffee of any kind.
Based: in North London

Why I think MIA YP is important:

At times our industry can feel a little lonely. I think it’s important to build a community of colleagues within the industry so that we can help tackle issues together (without giving away company secrets of course!), support each other, and celebrate each others successes!

We might be selling software, packing guitars, sampling new products for the retail shop we work for or testing trumpets but I’m sure we have plenty in common both commercially and personally and can share experiences.

Tom Bacon – General Manager,  D’Addario UK

Like many in this industry, I studied music through to degree level and left Uni without a real plan for my career. I worked for Sainsbury’s whilst studying, and so fell into their management programme, which I enjoyed, but quickly moved to join J G Windows in Newcastle which was better suited to my musical background. I carried out several roles there and learnt a lot about sales and marketing.

Luckily for me, D’Addario UK is based in Newcastle and in 2012 I was appointed Sales and Marketing Specialist for Classical brands, to coincide with them taking over the distribution of the Rico brand.

I enjoyed this role immensely, but when the Newcastle head office also became the base for D’Addario Europe in 2017 and they needed someone to take on the role of General Manager for the UK business, I jumped at the chance!

I still maintain a busy playing schedule outside of work, although not so much at the moment of course! I live in County Durham with my wife Emma and 18th-month-old son Ted.

Hannah Williams – Brand Manager, BBICO

Hi There! I’m Hannah, and I’m the Brand Manager for the British Band Instrument Company, also known as BBICO (which is far less of a mouthful!). I was offered my first job in the industry after completing a work experience placement at my local music shop, and dropping an Easter egg off for the Manager as soon as I turned 16!

Since then, I’ve worked in other parts of the wider music industry, but returned to music products after completing my degree in clarinet performance a  couple of years ago. I’ve thrown myself into various aspects of the industry, including retail, distribution, marketing, product research & development, packaging design, and even trade show booth creation!

My favourite professional memories to date have been attending the NAMM Show last year, and visiting the Hamamatsu Yamaha factory. I also completed a VERY nerdy research project on clarinet brand choice, which I can bang on about for ages. I love travelling (so this past year has been pretty tough), practicing my Spanish with strangers, and have recently started making sushi every Sunday as a bit of a lockdown ritual.

I’m very excited to be part of the MIA Young Professionals Network, and am looking forward to meeting and sharing experiences with others in the industry!

Ben Walker – Digital Marketing Executive, Millers Music 

I have worked within the industry since I was 18, with my background being in music journalism, photography and digital media. My current role at Millers Music as Digital Marketing Executive has allowed me to utilise these skills in a really unique and exciting way by getting in touch with artists and incredible musical communities across the country, telling their stories and sharing a common passion for music.

Like many, my love for music started in school and as I discovered more and more, I became fully immersed in the musical world. It wasn’t until I moved to Brighton however that I realised how incredible the live music scene is, I spent almost all of my time at university going to gigs every night and interviewing rising talents from around the world.

Whilst that came to a halt when I moved back to Bedfordshire, I have continued to discover that there is a whole plethora of amazing musicians and professionals who are pushing the limits of what music means from their own bedrooms!

It has always been a dream of mine to work within the music industry and being a part of the MIA Young Professionals network is a fantastic step in making a real change to the industry so many people care about – I’d encourage any young professional who wants to network and progress within the industry to take up the call and get involved!-

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We look forward to introducing you to more members of the network in future communications. For any queries about the Young Professionals Network, please contact Alice