BIMM Institute runs industry panel at Reeperbahn Festival 2021

29 September, 2021

After a year and a half of restrictions for the live music sector, Hamburg’s legendary Reeperbahn Festival returned to the stages of St. Pauli. And we were there to run an exclusive industry panel talk.

Reeperbahn Festival is known for having a diverse line-up of upcoming and established artists, international talents, and a programme of panel talks and discussions surrounding the music industry. Students from BIMM Institute Hamburg worked at the Press and Guestlist check-in. Not only that, but BIMM Institute Hamburg joined Reeperbahn Festival for an exclusive industry panel talk during the Training Day at the Schmidt Theatre.

‘Career Killer vs. Killer Career’ Industry Panel

The ‘Career Killer vs. Killer Career’ panel was led by Dave Meisner, Events & Guests Coordinator. BIMM Institute Hamburg lecturers Jörg Tresp and Luke O’Malley spoke to producer, songwriter and alumni Charlie McClean. They discussed the steps and missteps when developing a career in music.

When talking about her time at BIMM Institute, Charlie said: “If I hadn’t done my music degree at BIMM Institute, I don’t think I’d be doing what I’m doing now. (…) I had absolutely no idea what I was doing at all until I came to BIMM Institute. For me, studying was about learning how the industry worked. It’s a really good shortcut to learning the basics.”

Charlie continued: “It’s worth it for the investment in your long-term success because you are so much more equipped to deal with problems when they come up.”

The panel also discussed the route to success within the music industry and pointed out that it can be a long way. However, the speakers emphasised that success is subjective; it can also mean occupying a space you feel happy in and making a living out of doing what you love.

When it came to giving advice and what skills are needed to find success in the music business, Luke suggested that it’s all down to preparation. Jörg mentioned that “imperfection is key” – he started working at showcase festivals where 80% of his time involved networking. Now, he’s at the point where he says it’s 80% fun and networking for the rest. For music professionals, Jörg recommends focusing on developing yourself rather than forcing anything.

Charlie mentioned the importance of taking care of your physical and mental health, and how self-honesty can play a role in building a sense of resilience. When talking about failures, she mentioned how not saying yes to things could mean missing out on certain opportunities. For helping new generations of musicians, Charlie – who also co-founded the female producers writing camp “Weareshewrites” – said it’s important to support female producers as women deserve space at the table. For Luke, it’s important to find new talents and promote and support them. Jörg believes in making new talents stronger by inspiring confidence and self-belief.

In Charlie’s, Luke’s and Jörg’s opinion, the key to a killer career is musicians writing music, being kind to themselves, and not caring too much about the opinion of others.


That was a thoroughly informative panel discussion. Don’t forget that we offer a range of services here at BIMM Institute to support you and your career throughout your time with us. Our dedicated Careers Team run regular support sessions to help you find your place in the industry – and launch your own killer career. Find out more here about how we connect you to the industry.

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