Along with UK-wide academic institutions, the University of Westminster has joined with UK Music in the launch of MAP, a Music Academic Partnership which focuses on preparing individuals who want to build careers out of their passion for music.  

In the drive for economic growth, the government has asked the British industry to design and develop its own growth-focused skills programmes, for which closer collaboration with academic institutions was considered key.

In response, UK Music, a campaigning and lobbying group which represents every part of the recorded and live music industry, initiated the Music Academic Partnership (MAP).

MAP will aim to deliver ground-breaking collaborative research, enviable workplace experiences for students and high-level exchanges between tutors and industry leaders.

To mark the launch of this ground-breaking collaboration, MAP announced:

  1. A partnership with BBC Introducing, where students take on a 'real' assignment, working with the BBC to film and record a broadcast-quality package of the local artists whose work has been selected to feature on the BBC Introducing slots. 
  2. A music tech competition with world-renowned venue KOKO, where a MAP student will be awarded up to £20,000 to develop a music and technology business idea with access to further investment to help launch it. 
  3. A bid for an ambitious research project in collaboration with Coventry University, "Taking the Long View." This project proposes a longitudinal study of a large cohort of young people aged 12 to 22 who have a passion and talent for music, and would follow them over the next decade, documenting their journey through their formative years and into their working lives.

Jo Dipple, CEO of UK Music, said: "The music industry and the skills needed today are far more technical than they were ten years ago. Entry-level opportunities are limited, the vast number of businesses are SMEs and the market is fierce. MAP is designed to maximise the employability of the students enrolled in those institutions. 

MAP aims to future-proof the music industry by ensuring new entrants have the right mix of experience and skills most needed. Partnerships and collaborations, like those with the BBC and with KOKO are just some of the benefits that institutions and students will enjoy, as well as engagement with policy makers, UK Music members and the wider industry. This is a very exciting partnership and initiative for UK Music."

Culture Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: "2015 is a hugely exciting time for British music. Last year saw British artists dominate the international album charts and one in every eight albums sold now worldwide is by a UK artist. 

Partnerships like this fantastic initiative are vital in inspiring musicians and future industry executives. It will help equip them with the skills and knowledge they’ll need to succeed in today's highly competitive global music industry. 

British music has an incredibly proud history and the Music Academic Partnership is a great step towards ensuring its continued long-term growth."

Olly Bengough, Owner of KOKO, said: "I’m always looking at great businesses within music and technology. The chances are an idea that could innovate and game-change the digital landscape is going to come from the next generation of bright young tech entrepreneurs, which is why KOKO has collaborated with UK Music and MAP to launch the KOKO MAP Tech Prize. I’m very excited to announce this competition and can’t wait to see what talent we discover."

Alan Fisher, Head of the Commercial Music Department at the Faculty of Media, Arts and Design, said: "This partnership represents a key moment for the music education sector, a sector which provides talent for an industry employing 110,000 highly skilled individuals and generates 5% of the GDP (8.8 million pounds per hour). The partnership recognises the sector growth opportunities and will encourage fresh blood and innovative ideas from our staff and students.

Westminster were approached to become part of MAP because of our longstanding excellent relationship with industry umbrella organisations, our record of employment success, and our ground-breaking MusicTank network. Active for 14 years, with 9000 members, MusicTank has given a platform for industry CEOs to debate key issues, for solving industry problems and highlighting future opportunities.

We are very happy to be part of a select network of institutions that will be charged with facilitating research projects commissioned by industry, as well as providing a raft of employment and investment opportunities for our students, which will make a real difference to their early career prospects."

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