BIMM Berlin and Hamburg students talk about their internships at ATC Management
Last month, BIMM University Berlin announced we were collaborating with ATC Management to offer exciting work experience opportunities to our students across all colleges. We caught up with Songwriting student Ronja Pöhlmann from BIMM University Berlin Hamburg and Music Business student Heleen De Maeyer from BIMM University Berlin to talk about their 6-month internship as A&R Talent Scouts at ATC Management.
How did the internship with ATC Management come about and how did BIMM University Berlin help to connect you with ATC Management?
Ronja: Our Events and Guests coordinator Dave Meisner is sending out weekly newsletters which inform the students about fantastic BIMM masterclasses and job opportunities. There, I found out about the ATC internship and directly applied as it is a great opportunity to hone my crafts and skills within the music business world.
Heleen: At the end of last year, BIMM organized a Masterclass with ATC Management, in which managing director Sumit Bothra and artist manager Toby Donnelly gave an insightful talk about the roles of an A&R manager. I was excited to hear about BIMM and ATC’s collaboration to offer BIMM students from all campuses the opportunity to intern as an A&R Talent Scout and applied right away!
Why did you decide to apply for the internship as an A&R Talent Scout at ATC Management? What do you find most interesting about A&R?
Ronja: I really like the artist roster of ATC! They represent some of my favourites, like Laura Marling, Billie Marten, Damien Rice and many more! As I’m a performing artist myself, it is really important to me to understand the other side of the business as well. Besides, I love to spend my time discovering new music, dig into an artist’s biography and connect with them!
Heleen: This internship was a unique opportunity to explore my interest in A&R/ artist management and gain some hands-on experience and mentoring from professionals in the music business. What I find most interesting about A&R is the thrill of discovering a talented and passionate artist with lots of potentials. It is about people, connecting with their unique stories and supporting their growth by offering them a platform of support.
What are your main tasks as an A&R Talent Scout at ATC Management?
Ronja: Each month, I’m looking for newcomers and talents which I believe have great potential, to then present them to ATC Management in an international meeting where we listen to their music and discuss their artistry.
Heleen: As an A&R Scout, I keep an eye on new trends and emerging subcultures within the music industry, in order to find and follow new talent. Most often this means sourcing music media, radio, social media, DSPs, etc. closely, as well as having conversations about music with friends and fellow BIMM students. Once I’ve found an artist I resonate with, I collect information for the pitch to A&R managers at ATC. It is about presenting the artist’s story in a way that expresses what makes the artist special to me and painting a picture of their artistic persona, e.g., through the collection of their social media pages or music videos.
What does an internship at ATC Management look like in times of Corona and what is it like doing an internship working from home?
Ronja: I believe the internship is working pretty well and is more than exciting! Also, I can imagine that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to work with ATC if it wasn’t from home. Through video conferences, I have the chance to work with my A&R mentors from Denmark and to connect also to A&R managers from the UK and LA in bigger meetings. It is super interesting to learn about the different music markets and I don’t believe that the internship from home is limiting the experience.
Heleen: The main impact Corona has on this internship is the way music is discovered. Whereas before, an A&R Scout would go to gigs, visit clubs, attend showcases, etc., now most of that is done online. Every month I get to source new music in my own time, which is nice as I get to organize myself in a way that works for my schedule and mood. Then, I select and virtually pitch five artists to A&R mentors from ATC Management. They give feedback on the music and presentation in preparation for the big monthly Zoom session with the whole team of ATC managers. During this meeting, all A&R managers listen to BIMM students’ pitches and give feedback.
What is most fun about being a talent scout and what was your highlight of the internship?
Ronja: It is really exciting to learn from and to work with all the experienced and inspiring people from ATC! My highlight so far was to connect with an artist I’ve been listening to for years now. As I was pitching him as an artist to look out for, I got in contact with him and had the chance to talk to him via Zoom. We had a great and really inspiring chat! 🙂
Heleen: It’s fun to come across so many talented musicians and creatives out there and to have passionate discussions about it. This branch of the music industry is very much about people, and I enjoy connecting with A&R professionals from ATC over our shared passion for music and getting their advice.
What have you learned from the experience of working at ATC Management?
Ronja: I’ve learned a lot about the work and the process of an A&R manager. Before my internship, I felt that A&R persons were really hard to reach out to – now I feel much more self-assured about my knowledge and skills as an emerging artist entering the music industry.
Heleen: I got to apply music knowledge from BIMM into practice in a professional work environment. This experience gave me an inside look into what the talent scouting and acquisition process look like according to music industry standards. It also offered the opportunity to discover new music and learn more about trends (e.g., the rise of NFT’s in music), as well as to connect with fellow BIMM students and ATC Managers.
Why do you think gaining work experience during your studies is important for a career in the music industry?
Ronja: I think it is essential to gain work experience during my studies, as they’re preparing me for the music industry in the best possible way. Since I started studying at BIMM, I learned a lot about the industry already but being in direct contact working with ATC was something different – theory turned into practice. These are experiences that no one can take away from you and I’m already looking forward to the next job opportunity!
Heleen: The music industry to me is a learning-by-doing environment. And when a working opportunity presents itself, I think it is important to approach it with a curious mindset. Especially during my studies, it feels like the right time to explore different interests in the music industry to figure out my future career path – you don’t know if it’s for you unless you try. And even if it is not for you, you at least understand the music industry a bit better and can contribute to it in a more informed manner. You also never know who you’re going to meet and how it could lead to the next opportunity.
In what area of the music industry are you planning to work in after completing your studies at BIMM University Berlin? Are you pursuing a career in A&R after your studies?
Ronja: Generally, I’m really open and excited about my future within the music industry! I’m working hard on my own career as an artist right now, but I also feel very strongly about being involved in the A&R process and being an artist manager. The music industry is so much fun and I instantly fell in love with all the creative work that I’m surrounded by.
Heleen: I would love to work in artist management and aspire to have my own agency one day. Very excited for whatever’s next!
If you would like to find out more about our work experience opportunities and how BIMM University Berlin connects you with the music industry, why not attend an Open Day? You can book to attend one of our Virtual Open Days, or contact our Admissions Team on +49 30 311 99 186 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org