Phil Nelson & Chris Cooke

Meet the directors of Pathways Into Music

PHIL NELSON is an artist manager and music business educator.

He has worked as an artist manager since 1988 with his current clients including Grammy-winning Matt Hales (aka Aqualung), platinum-selling Duke Special and Mercury-nominated Sweet Billy Pilgrim. Previous clients include The Longpigs and The Levellers, the latter of whom pioneered the direct-to-fan approach that is now industry standard and – after headlining Glastonbury – worked with Phil to launch their own 15,000 capacity festival Beautiful Days, which continues to this day.

Throughout his artist management career, Phil has also played an active role in the wider music industry. He was Vice Chair of the Music Managers’ Forum from 1997 to 2007, he co-founded The Great Escape showcase festival in Brighton with Martin Elbourne and Jon McIldowie, and along the way dreamed up the Breakers Chart for Music Week.

Phil is also an experienced educator, currently teaching music business at BIMM. From 2016 to 2018, he was also Music Industry Ambassador for the BIMM Group of colleges, developing programmes that offered students hands-on music business experience and opportunities to network with the industry. This included setting up the Appetite For Disruption student conference and the student-run record label Pool Valley Recordings, as well as facilitating numerous ‘real world projects’ for BIMM’s dissertation students.

In 2017 he co-programmed and co-hosted a full-day education strand as part of the CMU conference at The Great Escape, which aimed to bring together music educators with the music industry, seeking to strengthen the link between music education and music careers.

He has now co-founded the music education consultancy Pathways Into Music with CMU MD Chris Cooke. This company will likewise link music education and the music industry through a major research project called ‘Redefining Music Education’, future editions of the music education conference, and a new series of seminars aimed at those who teach, advise and support early-career artists and future music industry talent.

Phil is leading on the ‘Redefining Music Education’ research project, and is currently focused on mapping music education provision and the local music industry across the UK, region by region.  

CHRIS COOKE is an editor, journalist and media entrepreneur.

He is co-Founder and MD of CMU, a company that helps people navigate and understand the music business. It does this through media like the CMU Daily bulletin, Setlist podcast and CMU Trends library; through consultancy unit CMU Insights with its training courses, conference sessions and research reports; and through education programme CMU:DIY, which supports early-career artists and future industry talent.

Via CMU, Chris writes, talks, teaches and consults about the music industry. He delivers speed briefings at music conferences around the world; guest lectures at various UK music colleges; runs regular seminars for Sony Music, BPI, MMF, MU and IMRO; and curates the core conference strands at The Great Escape showcase festival in Brighton each May. He also wrote the acclaimed book ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ explaining how the streaming business works.

Through this work, Chris co-programmed and co-hosted a full-day conference strand on music education at The Great Escape in 2018 and help initiate the major research project ‘Redefining Music Education’, both seeking to build stronger links between music education and the music industry. This has led to him co-founding a new music education consultancy with artist manager Phil Nelson, Pathways Into Music, which will build those links through research, resources, events and training.

CMU is part of Chris’s business 3CM UnLimited, which champions and supports the music, media, culture and communication industries through publications, consultancy, educational initiatives and live events. Through UnLimited he also publishes cultural recommendations service ThisWeek London and its sister magazine ThreeWeeks at the Edinburgh Festival; and teaches for award winning PR training charity the Taylor Bennett Foundation, which is enabling more ethnic diversity in the communications industry.

Earlier in his career, Chris worked on a number of research and consulting projects looking at best practice in corporate communications and reputation management. He later led the design and content elements of youth marketing programmes for big brands and managed the content delivery of major music partnerships between leading artists and national newspapers. He also produced fringe theatre shows in Edinburgh and London.

With degrees in English and Law, Chris regularly writes about, discusses and comments on the music business, intellectual property matters, and the media and communication sectors.