The Richard Antwi Scholarship: ‘In 10 years, I would like to be president of a major music company.’

Daniel Beckley

It is now five years since the tragic early death of British music industry lawyer, manager and entrepreneur, Richard Antwi.

Following his passing a group of his friends established the Richard Antwi Scholarship, which champions Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals and is awarded in conjunction with the Music Business Management MA at the University of Westminster. It is supported by all three UK major record labels, music publishers, and several of the top independent music companies and law firms.

Here in the third of three interviews with the graduates from the Scholarship so far, MBW meets Daniel Beckley – who has already benefitted from two internships at music industry law firms and is now working at Universal Music Publishing…

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how much of a difference the Richard Antwi Scholarship made in terms of providing opportunities?

I grew up in South London, from West African heritage. Since I was young, music has played a central role in my upbringing.

Most of my school years involved learning multiple instruments and performing at venues across London as part of the Southwark Youth Orchestra. I started producing at the age of 14, drawing influences from nineties R&B, soul and hip-hop.

I went on to study law at university and quickly realised that I wanted to apply the skills I developed there into a creative environment. The music business made sense, as it combines law, music and creativity, and I felt I could really add value to the industry.

The Richard Antwi Scholarship has been a huge catalyst for creating opportunities within this extremely competitive and selective space, It has also provided me with a role model in Richard, whose story has motivated me to excel.

How did you find the course?

When I was first introduced to the course by the scholarship team it was described as a bridge between the academic study of music business and the business itself.

For me, I think it did just that. I became much more familiar with how the industry is structured and the fundamental issues that the industry is currently grappling with.

“I learned that success in the music industry is very intentional.”

The most important things I learned were how to think critically, understand the fundamentals of music copyrights and how to express creative ideas in music.

I also learned that success in the music industry is very intentional. Talent is only the first ingredient to an artist’s success, it takes a lot of planning, investment and a dedicated team of people who understand the business to break an artist.

How has your work placement been – and what have you learned from working at UMPG?

It’s been eye opening. I’ve had a broad experience of the many interesting and challenging things that keep a major publisher busy.

Initially, publishing was a grey area for me, partly because there are so many layers involved. For example, you have the core function of administering copyrights and collecting royalties on behalf of writers, while also creating commercial opportunities through sync and digital licenses.

So, the opportunity to work across multiple departments has really improved my overall understanding of the key areas involved in this area of the business.

What has your mentoring experience been like?

The mentoring experience has been really beneficial for both my personal and professional development. The likes of Matt Ross and Will Bloomfield have been incredibly generous with their time, freely providing counsel and support. It truly feels like an extended family of people who care and want to help you navigate a meaningful career in music.

I think what I have learned the most is the importance of keeping good relationships, being consistent and always feeling encouraged to express your ideas.

What are your ambitions?

I want to create impact and become a forward-thinking music executive.

In 10 years, I would like to be President of a major music company, building a successful and culturally significant roster.

I would also like to be able to create opportunities for other young people that share similar backgrounds to myself.

And what’s the one thing that you think needs fixing in the music business?

I think diversity and representation is key across all areas in the music business. It makes sense for executives to better reflect the talent they look after and initiatives like the Richard Antwi scholarship are helping to address this.

I’d also like the music business to be more proactive than reactive. We need to be ahead of the curve with technological advancements which have the potential to be disruptive in the future.Music Business Worldwide