Raising Voices – Music Futures: Getting into Publishing with Becky McIntee of Songtrust/Downtown Music Services


 Music Futures: Getting into Publishing with Becky McIntee of Songtrust/Downtown Music Services

Becky is Senior Copyright Coordinator at Songtrust/Downtown Music Services and member of the MPA Futures Group Committee.

She spoke to us about her career journey so far and her unique path to her current role.

If you want to find out more about the MPA Futures Group or get in contact with them for more career insights, you can find them on Facebook and Instagram.

Find out more about NXT-Gen membership here

1. How did you first get into music publishing?
I’ve always taken an interest in the stories behind the final production of a piece of music (e.g. who wrote it, how was it written etc.) and I’m a particular fan of Writers Rounds which are a regular occurrence, for example, in Nashville, Tennessee. A Writers Round was taking place in London so I went along to watch. While I was there, I was introduced to Roberto Neri (Downtown Music Publishing EVP and MPA Chair). We had a great conversation about the music publishing industry and I think he saw my enthusiasm for everything music and music publishing. After our conversation, Roberto asked if I’d like to take a job at Downtown Music Publishing. They weren’t hiring at the time, but Roberto kindly created a role for me!

2. Has college/university/a work experience placement guided your career at all?
From a very young age I knew I wanted to work in music, especially the “backend” like music publishing and songwriting. People tend to think of the glitz and glamour of artists performing on huge stages, but there’s so much more that goes into a performer getting to that point and I’ve always been fascinated by it. I did so much research on different areas of the business, listened to all genres of music to understand different writing concepts and bought a lot of books! I knew I wanted to study music at college, so I did a BTEC in Music Technology where I learnt a great deal. I decided that I didn’t want to go to university as I wanted to get out into the working world after I finished travelling. I felt that the best place to learn was in “real life” as, even though I enjoyed education, I’m definitely more of an outgoing social person that thrives from learning through interactions. I attended a lot of music events (and still do) to network and meet people. I’m now surrounded by incredible friends and mentors who have helped me build my knowledge and network even more. I definitely think having an education base is essential, but I also think that getting out there and meeting as many people as you can is also just as necessary. That’s what is so great about organisations like the MPA. They set up so many networking opportunities and events that you start to feel like part of a community. It may be daunting at first to walk into a room of people you don’t know, but the one thing I’ve found with the music publishing sector, in particular, is that everyone welcomes you with open arms!

3. How did you get to the point you are now? Has the MPA helped you in your journey?
Working very, very hard! I was lucky to have been given the opportunity by Roberto to join a great publishing company, but I still had to prove that I was worth giving that opportunity. Since I started working at Downtown I’ve never stopped learning; I ask questions, I attend music events whenever I can and I constantly build my network of friends and mentors. When I heard about the MPA Futures Group I wanted to show my interest immediately and it’s certainly helped my development. It’s allowed me to have a space for discussions that may not be as welcome in other music social circles and has given early professionals a platform to build the knowledge and network that is so key to progress in this industry. I sound like a broken record, but it really is a place full of passionate people who want to be there, so the more you put in, the more you get out.

4. What 3 top tips would you give to someone just starting out in music publishing or taking their career to the next level?
One tip I wish I had given myself when starting out is to not be so hard on yourself. I was terrified of networking and I felt I had no way of getting a job in the industry. If you hear someone speaking about an interesting topic at a music event or convention, go and introduce yourself. You never know who that person is and what opportunities they may be able to give you. It was only as I began to relax and believe in my own abilities that opportunities started presenting themselves to me.

My second tip would be to learn whenever you can. Listen to all genres of music, watch documentaries, read books, attend courses. Anything to improve your knowledge of the whole industry will be valuable in your development. I work in copyright management for Europe so it’s pretty data-heavy but having the knowledge of who the writers and artists are, where their songs are getting played and what style of music it is has been incredibly useful for me to manage our client’s repertoire effectively.

My third tip is to definitely get in touch with us at the MPA Futures Group if you’re interested in getting into music publishing. We’re a group of enthusiastic, friendly people who want to help the development of new professionals. We all work in different departments from all kinds of music publishing companies so we can offer support and guidance. We also usually know firsthand if there are new opportunities in our companies so the MPA is a great place to connect

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