Rip It Up scheme aims to address music industry inequality

After a successful inaugural year, Rip It Up – a bespoke bursary programme supporting Black, Asian and diverse artists and aspiring music industry professionals aged 18-25 to make their mark in the industry – is heading to Sheffield.

By Scott Antcliffe
Tuesday, 15th February 2022, 11:40 am
The Rip It Up Remixed initiative is run by Sound City and SM-MGMT.
The Rip It Up Remixed initiative is run by Sound City and SM-MGMT.

Originally launched in the North West in 2021, Rip It Up (Remixed) aims to address the growing disparity of racial inequality within the music industry by giving 10 people from BME backgrounds the opportunity to gain hands on practical experience of working in the industry alongside established musicians and industry professionals.

Over the course of six months, young creatives on the programme will immerse themselves into informative sessions which will include: how to get gigs, social media, recording, production, publishing, press and how to gain funding, plus much more.

The guest speakers will include Kadeem France, frontman of Loathe, Lily Fontaine, vocalist with Leeds band English Teacher, and award-winning mix engineer Mike Cave, who has worked with the likes of Lewis Capaldi and Professor Green.

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Lily Fontaine of English Teacher.

“There has always been an unconscious bias towards white able-bodied people breaking into the music industry,” says programme director Sam Meaghan.

“During the pandemic, it gave me a lot of time to think and reflect and I knew that I wanted to do more. I spotted something was wrong and I wanted to do something that can affect change and give people the tools and systems to battle against it and give them a head start,” Meaghan added.

Once a young aspiring artist, Meaghan has switched his focus by managing other artists and is well versed in the obstacles and pitfalls of the industry. The 26-year-old from Liverpool soon realised the project would be a huge undertaking.

“I recognised it was bigger than anything that I could deliver on my own,” Meaghan admitted.

Kadeem France of Loathe.

“I approached Sound City in Liverpool because they have a proven reputation and are amazing at delivering these programmes like this. I told them about the idea and they were so supportive. They helped give me the infrastructure and staffing to make it possible and then when we got the Youth Music funding, things really started to gather momentum.”

The project is predominantly supported by Youth Music Incubator Fund which in turn received funding from players who took part in the People’s Postcode Lottery.

The inaugural programme was deemed to be a great success and some of the graduates have gone on to secure jobs within the industry; one with a PR company and another with a record label. Another artist has secured a music deal with LAB Records, demonstrating the effectiveness of the programme.

Five of the ten bursaries on offer will be focused on artists themselves and will gain practical experience within a recording studio alongside an engineer. The other five places will eb focused on industry applicants which will incorporate a paid work placement within a professional setting of the industry sector that they would like to enter.

Mix engineer Mike Cave. Picture: Mike Banks/RecordProduction.com

All ten successful applicants will receive a dedicated mentor as well as monthly updates and support even when the programme has ended to assist further with job placements and industry changes.

Applications for the programme are open now and will close on Friday February 25. Head over to www.soundcity.uk.com/rip-it-up for more details and to begin an application.