AROUND 700 students from more than 15 educational institutions have taken part in a debate on the music industry.

The youngsters joined leading representatives from the music industry for the inaugural Appetite For Disruption Conference at Brighton’s Clarendon Centre.

The conference centred around the future challenges of the music industry.

Among the organisations represented were British and Irish Institute of Modern Music, Brighton and Sussex Universities, Middlesex University and the Bournemouth Academy of Modern Music.

Keynote speakers were Keith Harris OBE, Stevie Wonder’s manager, and Chris Carey, founder of FastForward and CEO of Media Insight Consulting.

BIMM music industry ambassador Phil Nelson, who is also a co-founder of The Great Escape festival in Brighton, said: “The day was all I hoped for and more with fantastic contributions from panellists and students alike.

“ I hope we’re able to take the conference to the other music cities in the not too distant future.”

Industry experts included Ruth Barlow, director of Live at Beggars Group, and Deezer Artist marketing manager Maria Lallia.

Also present were Chiara Micheletto, digital marketing executive at Music Ally, Sam Taylor, chief commercial officer at Pop, Jessie Scoullar, founding director of Wickstead Works, and BIMM senior staff.

The conference was a major success and has been tipped by former BIMM student turned CODA Music booking agent Natasha Bent, as one of the most important conferences in music.

She said: “My panel discussed a very important side of the live industry, grassroots venues and having well-educated industry people who could educate the kids about the background of what a grassroots venue, the challenges they face and actually positive actions that everybody can do to help and deal with these issues.

“I think Appetite For Disruption Conference is probably one of the most, or it could become one of the most important conferences.

“Having started in BIMM when it first opened many, many years ago, it was actually through people coming into BIMM and talking about what they did in their job and their position, allowed me to understand the business.

“Phil Nelson, who is one of my biggest mentors, gave me my first job, and if there aren’t things like this, then kids aren’t going to be able to learn and understand.

“It sounds very cheesy but they are the future generations so it’s our responsibility to give back.”

Vaseema Hamilton, BIMM business development and creative careers director, said: “Today’s conference made it more than clear that many young aspirant professionals have an “appetite for disruption.”

“They are also hungry for knowledge and information about the music industry. The range and quality of presentation and the debates that followed was inspiring.”