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Women in Music: An interview with Maddy Raven, founder of Burstimo


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** The National Student's 'Women in Music' content series makes space for the incredible, important women that work behind the scenes in some of the toughest and most rewarding roles in the industry. To celebrate International Women's Day, we're hearing their stories. **


Maddy Raven became the Founder and Head of Promotion at Burstimo at the age of 19. Now 20, she runs a leading music marketing agency who work closely with high-profile artists to help them in their success with a modern and versatile approach. We caught up with Maddy to discuss her journey with Burstimo so far and her thoughts on the music industry.

Image courtesy of Maddy Raven

What have been some of the biggest challenges you've faced to date in making Burstimo a successful reality?

I founded Burstimo with the aim of helping emerging artists to develop and to promote them to where people are actually listening to and engaging with music. In October 2018, I was approached by an artist who was signed to a major label and had secured wide exposure already, something which made me feel way out of my depth. If I didn’t take on this challenge I knew I’d regret it so I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. If it had ended badly, it would have lead to Burstimo never being used by a major label again.

However, working with that artist went really well and we’re now three campaigns in, have secured over 10 Spotify Official playlists, sponsorship deals with brands such as Nasty Gal, JBL and Ableton, and have a YouTube audience reach of over seven million.

Although a challenge at the time, that initial campaign led to a change in the business model entirely. Now we no longer specialise in marketing emerging artists exclusively; we handle all artists, no matter what stage they’re at in their career.

Tell us about the successes that make all the late nights worth it.

There was one campaign in particular which really made me sit back and reflect on how we’re actually impacting musicians, giving them the chance to get their music out there and grow a fan base exponentially.

We worked with the indie electro collective Dutchkid for their debut release and from achieving multiple Spotify Official playlists, plays on BBC 6 Music, Amazing Radio, Fubar Radio and idobi Radio, a London Live session, in-store radio plays in Nissan, Liberty London, Clarks and The Body Shop and a YouTube audience reach of 2.8 million, the group sold out their debut headline gig and have racked up hundreds of thousands of streams.

What have been some of your favourite projects you've worked on so far?

Dutchkid are obviously a personal favourite as theirs was one of the most rewarding campaigns. Plus, their music is fantastic!

Orchid Collective was another project the whole team thoroughly enjoyed. The Irish group have worked with us on multiple campaigns now and I have to say, getting a play on Made In Chelsea had to be the best moment as I love the show. 

What was the most important point of motivation that led you to form Burstimo?

I've always aspired to own my own company, allowing me to be more flexible and in complete control of the direction of my career. I wanted something which enabled me to make quick decisions when an idea comes to mind.

Usually when working in a company, if you have an idea you need to get approval from upper management. But now if I have an idea I can have it tried and tested by the end of the day.

What are your hopes for music in the future, both within and outside of your company?

I hope that musicians are able to take advantage of the new digital world, as watching YouTubers rise to fame shows that the way you publish your creative content and monetize it has completely changed.

There are so many opportunities now for musicians to make a career in music completely on their own without the need to get signed to a record label or even hire music promotion companies to help them out.

You can be a professional musician by simply making the step to upload your music to YouTube and I think that is so exciting.

What advice would you give to young women working in the music industry?

Nothing is in your way in this day and age. If you work your hardest, put in the time and effort daily, you do see the results.

I’ve heard many say that this industry is sexist, homophobic and racist, but I believe if you’re good at your job no one takes note on any of these things. And if they do, they’re not someone you want to be working with anyway!

Women are owning the music industry at the moment, so take it on head first and you’ll succeed. We’re all supporting each other massively too, which makes the journey that much more enjoyable with the support.

What are you listening to at the moment? 

I am a big fan of indie pop so at the moment I’m heavily into COIN, joan and Orla Gartland. If you haven’t heard of them, definitely check them out! I always listen to them on my commute to put me in a good mood for the day.

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