Music Managers Forum announces 2022 edition of Accelerator scheme

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) are returning with their Accelerator fund for 2022, giving financial and educational support to the next generation of music managers.

Supported by YouTube Music, Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and the Scottish Music Industry Association, Accelerator, which launched in 2019, aims to “help independent music managers develop long-term sustainable businesses”.

Over 65 managers have been supported by the scheme so far, including representatives for Porridge Radio, Joy Crookes, PinkPanthress and more, and have received 12-month grants of up to £15,000 alongside career advice and contact with other music managers.

One music manager who has been a part of the Accelerator scheme is Ina Tatarko of Hoof Management, who works with Squid, Laura Misch and others. Currently on tour in Europe with Squid, she told NME how the scheme had helped her advance her career and find a sense of community with other managers through Accelerator.

“It was a really amazing opportunity to talk to other managers. It was almost like a group therapy session where everybody can vent and talk. Sometimes it’s a very isolating job being a manager, and the programme has brought people together. It’s so nice to do this as a collective, and it’s a programme to be proud of.”

With a background running a small label and being a gig promoter, Tatarko’s first role in music management came with the team behind End of the Road festival, where she took on the day-to-day management of Ezra Furman. She told NME that applying for the Accelerator scheme helped her realise that her passion lay in management full time.

“Submitting the business plan and strategizing my own career and way of working has been so helpful, and applying for Accelerator was so useful in terms of figuring out the way that I wanted to structure my business.”

Squid. Credit: Ashley Bourne for NME.

Music management has traditionally been a largely male space, and diversity is at the heart of Accelerator’s aims, with a 50/50 gender split on the organisation’s board and a commitment to helping diverse up-and-coming music managers from different backgrounds advance their careers through the scheme.

Speaking about the barriers facing female music managers, and the struggles she experienced early in her career, Tatarko told NME: “I found it harder in the live environment. I’m really hands-on with my work and will talk to the sound engineers and everyone at the gig to make sure the show goes as well as possible, and sometimes I found it really difficult when the sound engineer would say, ‘So whose girlfriend are you?’, or they don’t really take you seriously.

“You just have to prove yourself by knowing more, and in a way, it was quite useful, because I taught myself things about sound. I don’t really experience it that much anymore, but maybe I have to explain myself more than a man would.”

Tatarko manages Squid alongside two other female managers, Sinead Mills and Tash Cutts, and says having a support network of female managers alongside her has been vital in her progression.

“As a manager, sometimes you do think, ‘Oh my god, am I making the right decision here?’, because you’re always encountering new problems for the first time, and you just have to try and work it out as you go along. Having them as a sounding board and to be able to come to a decision as a collective is really useful.”

Discussing why aspiring music managers should look to Accelerator to help them progress in their careers and find a community, she added: “As much as it is incredibly useful for business advice and financial advice and contacts, the programme is also incredibly nurturing on a human level, and I think it’s just so nice to have that collective.

“The first step that was really useful was the application. I absolutely urge people to try doing the application, because sometimes in your daily work routine you don’t necessarily stop to think, ‘Actually this is where I want to go’, or ‘This is what my motto and my strategy is’. You can also not be checking in with yourself as to whether you’re happy. It’s really useful to do the application to assess where you’re at and what you want from your career.”

Speaking of the diversity at the heart of Accelerator, the scheme’s programme manager Paul Bonham said: “In only three years, Accelerator’s impact has already been immense – simply by bringing together an incredibly diverse network of managers from across the UK and encouraging them to bond, innovate, exchange ideas and develop businesses.

“It feels like we’re building a real legacy here with long-term ramifications, and I can’t wait to work with a fresh intake on 2022’s programme.”

Applications for Accelerator’s 2022 edition close on October 25, and prospective candidates can apply here.