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The Academy of Contemporary Music

The Academy of Contemporary Music

The Academy of Contemporary Music


Why Choose ACM? The Learning by Doing Ethos

ACM understands how the music industry works today and has created an immersive and comprehensive learning environment, which connects directly with the industry. Our learning by doing ethos helps simplify how the industry works and produces a clear view of career paths and options. This clear and practical approach accelerates learning.

The detailed exposure to all aspects of the industry as it happens (live!) reveals options and destinations, which greatly assists our students in making clear choices and building the maps they need to guide them there. If you are a producer you will know that you need a fundamental grasp on song structure and songwriting, but you also fundamentally need to know about revenue streams and intellectual property, from which you will draw income.

You will also need to understand how your music is monetised through live performance, songwriting credits and publishing, including sync and licensing. We will teach you all of this comprehensively at ACM by linking you with the teams that do this every day at Metropolis.

Equally, you could be a drummer, whose primary focus is performing and gaining as much experience as possible by playing sessions. In this case, you still need to understand how you get paid, and how, if you are influencing a track, you may potentially be co-writing it and aiding the creation of a product. In this case, session playing actually becomes writing. You will need to know the difference in how you get paid for playing and writing.

While you are learning, you will be building your portfolio, and we will help you understand how to leverage the body of work you create to build your own fan base, rather than just being a jobbing musician. This maximises your employability as a professional musician by making what you do desirable by simply marketing yourself as the primary asset. We will teach you this as we have the best industry professionals in place doing this every day.

Honing your craft as an artist in the hope of getting signed by a major label is an outdated concept and is no longer the way the business operates. Our goal is to instil into every artist that comes through ACM, the belief, the desire and the understanding of how to become a credible, self- sufficient artist. Once you are in that position, you will need to be equipped to discuss terms, with confidence, with a band, a producer, a manager, a label and a publisher. We will equip you to manage your own career, as opposed to you racing to sign with a manager on graduating without fully understanding how to manage your own career and opportunities.

Through our deep integrated relationship with Metropolis, ACM has its finger on the pulse, this helps to empower our students to determine their place within it. We know where the industry is right now because, at Metropolis, the teams work at all levels including the majors, independents and direct with signed and unsigned artists, brands, distribution partners and content creators.

ACM encapsulates the industry from end to end, where today and tomorrow’s music is written, produced, mixed, mastered, distributed, marketed and published. Our students do not learn from a book but by hands-on experience in the business of music. It is the intrinsic, living, breathing connection between ACM and Metropolis that gives our students this unique perspective and opportunity.

The intrinsic connection between ACM and Metropolis gives our students the opportunity to learn from the deals we make as they happen. Ian Brenchley, CEO of Metropolis, has run the studio for seven years, having previously worked for more than fifteen years at major labels including Universal. Through his meetings with professionals at the highest level of industry and the deals that result from them, Ian brings the most relevant insights and learnings directly to ACM students. Here are a couple of examples of embedding practical industry content into our student’s experiential learning in Ian’s words:

“I met Andy Ross and Charles Barsamian on a recent business trip to LA. They were both working on cutting-edge films and responsible for sync, music supervision and placing orchestral scores. They started a new company called Exit Strategy Productions, specialising in music supervision and publishing. We then took them on as consultants to generate publishing opportunities for us via Hollywood films and core business via orchestral scores for the studio we run in Doha, Qatar, Katara Studios by Metropolis. The learnings from the building of this new relationship and how we developed the strategy to benefit our core business from it were then used as masterclass content for ACM Business students. We will continue to update students on the further evolution of this Metropolis project in real-time. In addition to this the students from the Business School who join us at Metropolis as interns will help us in the development of real synchronisation catalogues, from which we pitch for the films we supervise.

We also recently met with Shazam who we asked to help us to promote our gigs in the studio. This resulted in the company offering us their brand sales team to sell our two TV formats to blue-chip brands. They will also power our Virtual Vinyl app. This will give us access to 600 million consumers. This is a perfect example of how we work in collaboration with other brands and organisations in order to commercially exploit what we are able to offer and amplify its impact. Collaboration is key to the effective working of the music industry as it operates today. In this case, the learnings will be presented to ACM students via my weekly podcast, which they can watch, with a view to analyse how the business was done, and then have the opportunity to engage with me via a live Q&A. They will be able to suggest their own content ideas, which will be considered when we are creating our future products in collaboration with the biggest players in today’s industry.”

Ian BrenchleyCEO Metropolis Studios


  • Guildford

    Rodboro Buildings, Bridge Street, Guildford, GU1 4SB, Guildford

  • London

    London, United Kingdom

    • Birmingham

      Birmingham, United Kingdom