Photo of Dr Michael Jones

Dr Michael Jones BA, Ph.D

Reader in Music Industry Music


Personal Statement

I was appointed at Liverpool in 1999 as Programme Director for the then newly-created MBA in Music Industries. In 2004 I reformulated the degree as an MA in Music Industry Studies. Before that I had been a songwriter, notably with the band Latin Quarter for whom I wrote the hit single Radio Africa. As a band that was far more successful outside the UK than within it, we released four albums for major record companies and two further ones for independent companies. Our first two albums were subsequently released by Cherry Red Records in the early-2000s. The band reformed in 2012 and five further albums have been released. To draw the lessons from this, what ever level of success a band enjoys, it still experiences exactly the same processes that the most successful ones do. When the first phase of chart success and major label signings was over, I was left with exactly the sense of having been through a process, an industrial process. I identified this through research and this identification has remained the core of my teaching and research since then. Of course, much has changed as a result of the ongoing impact of digitization on music industry, but we are still left with music and musicians and music companies and music users and markets, and all these variable elements still tend to interact in ways that would have been recognisable as long ago as the 19th Century. Musicians exist between a set of intangible and tangible industrial parameters - between the imprecise estimations of business people as to their likely market success and the immovable legal restrictions they enter into when they sign contracts with those business people. All music and the fates of all musicians can be located somewhere within and between those parameters.

In recent years, and in response to the continued recruitment of students who are classically-trained, I have introduced the MA Classical Music Industry. This is a partnership with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. It is fascinating to understand what is shared between the worlds of pop and classical music, and what is not. The input from key staff members at the Philharmonic is peerless, it is a privilege to work with and be supported by a team managing the UK's oldest symphony orchestra.

Beginning in the Autumn of 2021 I have been contributing to the MA in the Beatles: Music Industry and Heritage. It is an exciting and fulfilling challenge to make contemporary sense of the Beatles as a lasting cultural phenomenon.

I have remained active in music industry in the form of devising and presenting shows about famous musicians. In 2012, I wrote, directed and produced 'Where Light Falls', an exploration of the career of Joni Mitchell. This was performed in Sheffield and Liverpool. In 2017 I wrote, directed and produced 'George Harrison and Indian Music', a concert performed at Liverpool Philharmonic.

Other Personal Distinctions

  • Invitation to Speak (University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, 2008)
  • Invitation to Speak (Zhejiang University, China, 2008)
  • Invitation to Speak (University of Leeds, 2008)