Rob Platts

Caro.jpg

Image: Caro. Photo Credit: Andy Hughes

 

Course Studied: BA (Hons) Music (Popular)

Year of Graduation: 2011

Top Career Highlight:

"Every time one of our acts gets playlisted at BBC Radio 1 or BBC 6 Music it feels like a great achievement. Knowing their music will be exposed to millions of listeners is very rewarding."

 

A graduate of our Popular Music degree in 2011, Rob Platts has had a highly successful career to date. Described by Gigwise as ‘one of the most exciting new bands in the country’, Rob currently manages the former beneficiaries of the LCoM Touring programme – Caro. Alongside this role, he works as a Radio Plugger for independent London-based music PR company - Brace Yourself.

We caught up with Rob to find out more about his experience and perspective on future developments within the music industry.

How did studying a Popular Music degree at LCoM prepare you for a career in the music industry?

LCoM kindly awarded me a modest bursary to help cover some of the costs of an internship in London during a summer break from university. I’m still in touch with many of the contacts I made then who are in very senior positions across the music industry.

What attracted you to studying in Leeds?

It had an expanding arts scene which I was able to become a part of, putting on gigs and working with a new independent record label. Leeds had all the assets and conveniences of a big city but was small enough to get to know quite quickly.

What does life involve for a radio plugger day to day? What qualities do you need to possess to work in that particular role?

Meeting radio producers, managers and record labels, taking artists for sessions and interviews, lots of emails, and lots of gigs. It's important to multi-task, have attention to detail, and to quickly memorise lots of key information and data for different artists and campaigns. Pluggers also need to understand how radio stations work, and to know what kind of music different people like.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in radio plugging? What was your route into this area of the music industry?

I got into this by accident really. I was trying to promote music from a friend of mine to my (very few) contacts in the industry, mostly sending lots of unsolicited emails with little response. Then after a chance meeting with Steve Lamacq at a gig, he gave that friend a session at Maida Vale studios which brought a lot of attention to him. Lots of meetings followed, and one of those luckily led to a job for me.

Are you able to select which artists you do and don’t support/plug?

Absolutely. Brace Yourself is an independent PR company so we’re very picky about who we work with.

How important is radio in the age of streaming and digital music access? What makes the radio remain a great way to access new music?

The personal input will always keep radio unique. Spotify is very clever and provides some great services, but tracks are only ever part of an algorithm or playlist there. There’s no discerning, respected tastemaker DJ to give the listener the back story, the context, and the focus on why this next track is going to blow their mind and make them fall in love with this artist. Plus sessions, interviews and heart rate monitor games make great entertainment.

How did you become involved in managing the band Caro? What drew you towards working with this particular musical group? How have you seen them develop as a band since your started working with them?

I was invited back to LCoM to sit on a panel for a touring support scheme. They applied with a few demos and I knew it would be special. The live show confirmed that to me and we kept talking from there. They’ve developed a lot since then with more confidence on and off stage, and gaining a broader understanding of what it takes to make it work as a touring band.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to pursue a career in either artist management or as a radio plugger?

I used to want to work in A&R (talent scouting) and I would guess lots of young people will feel the same, but I know now that those roles are some of the most competitive and stressful in the whole business. Really, A&R informs most roles within the music industry. There isn’t any training in this business, you just have to go out there and start doing it yourself. So if you’re drawn to discovering new music you should try to promote it however you can: start a blog, volunteer at your student radio station, put on gigs. If you have good ears and work hard, these things will gain you friends and contacts, and give you a better understanding of how the industry works over time.

How do you manage to combine the different elements to your portfolio career (e.g. management, radio plugging, blogging etc.)?

Radio plugging is my career right now. Managing Caro is my passion project. Blogging may have helped me along the way at the beginning but it was never a proper job for me.

What do you see as the main challenges and threats to the future of the music industry?

The hikes in business rates affecting small venues. The major record labels' stronghold on streaming services. The fallout from Brexit on touring musicians.

What projects do you have planned for the near future?

A much needed holiday.

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Click here to follow Rob on Twitter.

Learn more about our BA (Hons) Music (Popular) – here.

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