Josh Karpf studied BA Music at Leeds, graduating in 2008 and now works as an Events Account Manager for Ministry of Sound. In this interview, he outlines how he developed his career in the music industry – starting back at Leeds – and how this led to his current position, as well as sharing his tips for anyone else interested in pursuing a similar career.
What events-related job roles are there in the music industry?
There are a huge range of events related jobs available within the music industry, from club promotions and event management to artist bookings and festival coordination.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I am the Events Account Manager within the Tours and Events department at Ministry of Sound. In a nutshell, my role requires me to book events for the Ministry of Sound, Hed Kandi and Society brands in territories across the UK and all over the world. A significant part of my role is finding and developing new business in the territories I oversee in order to expand the presence of our touring brands. As well as this, I have been solely responsible for all of our student activity outside of our club in London, creating and launching our student brand; Society last year which has now developed into one of the UKs leading student events.
What was your route into this role?
It took me around 8 years of working within the UK nightlife industry before I was able to get my job with Ministry of Sound, starting right back at Leeds University in 2005 where I began working for a host of student club promoters, doing everything I could from flyering in the pouring rain to doing ticket runs across student halls and organising guestlists for various events. I immersed myself in everything club and music lead from day one, knowing that my path was always going to be in music, but at the same time, not quite sure which avenue of the industry I wanted to be in. I dedicated a significant amount of time during my Uni life to developing my knowledge of the music and events industry and constantly building my network, both of which I continue to develop every single day.
After graduating, I stayed in Leeds to continue my development before I was ready to move down to London. I became national manager for a large events company, increasing my responsibility significantly and further developing my experience. I successfully ran this brand for 2 years, launching it in 5 different cities until deciding to move down to London to continue my route, first working for a start-up social media company focused on student events, and then launching my own events brand (still in operation) which I worked on full time for 2 years before getting the job at Ministry of Sound.
In the period between graduating and actually getting the job with Ministry, I researched the companies and roles I was most interested in pursuing within the music industry and constantly reached out to people and companies in the search of advice and of course, roles. I had many interviews, many final stages and many knock backs. The main problem with finding your dream role in the music industry is that, for every role, there are thousands of people just like you who want to get their foot in the door and just like you, will do anything to get it. The key is not to let the knock backs get to you. Be persistent and never stop learning. Absorb everything going on around you and do what you can to stand out from the crowd.
What skills, qualifications or experience are required/ advantageous to get in?
I studied Popular and World Music at the University of Leeds which gave me invaluable insight and understanding of the music industry as a whole. In hindsight though, the most valuable aspect during my time at University was the experience I gained by throwing myself into any role I could whilst simultaneously expanding my contacts. Needless to say, I needed both of these factors to get to where I am.
What advice would you give to a student interested in careers in events in the music industry?
Do not get disheartened. This is of course easier said than done, but if you think this will be an easy ride, you are very much mistaken. Expect knock backs along the way but learn from every one and be persistent. Try and establish your end goal as early as possible so that you can effectively work towards it.
Any final tips?
Build yourself a list of target companies and keep an eye on all their careers sites as much possible. Read the job descriptions that are available so as to better understand what is out there and make enquiries with people for advice, work experience etc. Most importantly, do every job you can! Learning every single aspect of your future role as early as possible will be of significant value later on.