Phil Nelson & Chris Cooke

Meet the directors of the Pathways Into Music project

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.

Since 2017 he has been working with CMU on the Pathways Into Music project. This includes launching and directing an extensive research programme that is seeking to map music careers, music education and local music industries, to identify how music educators and music employers can better support new music and music business talent.

This work also informs a Pathways Into Music seminars programme that has been developed for music educators, and the annual Music Education Conference, which takes place as part of The Great Escape each May.

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 units CMU Insights and CMU Pathways, with their training courses, conference sessions and research reports; and through future talent programme CMU:DIY, which supports those at the start of their music careers.

Via CMU, Chris writes, talks, teaches and consults about the music industry. He delivers speed briefings and insight sessions 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 in Brighton each May. He also wrote the acclaimed book ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’.

Since 2017, Chris has been working with artist manager Phil Nelson on the Pathways Into Music project. This includes an extensive research programme that is mapping music careers, music education and local music industries. There is also a new seminars programme aimed at music educators and the annual Music Education Conference staged as part of The Great Escape each May, which aims to bring together music educators with the music industry.

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, and the media and communication sectors.