From a grassroots night gig, Ben Anderson has created the fastest growing live music company in the UK

BY Preta Peace Namasaba February 2, 2024 6:44 AM EDT
Ben Anderson. Photo credit: UK Black Business Week

With the global music market being valued at more than $25 billion, the music industry seems as one of the most lucrative opportunities that a professional could . However, the live music and concerts sector is less diverse and is still dominated by monopolies. Starting out as a grassroots gig night, Ben Anderson’s Musicalize has taken the London live events promotions scene by storm. The company has since become the fastest growing live music showcase event in the UK.

Anderson was looking to start his own venture while holding a prestigious position at one of the UK’s largest banks. He decided to pursue his passion for live music and use his skills for discovering new talent. He had witnessed how acclaimed unsigned artists were let down by poor production at live events. Anderson set out to change the status quo by co-founding Musicalize in 2011. The company began as a grassroots gig night in Shoreditch, London that was destined for bigger stages.

Organizing live music showcase events for unsigned artists came with its fair share of challenges. Anderson had to contend with the notorious Form 696, a licensing requirement that requires promoters to detail the genre of their music event. He dealt with this stumbling block by convincing the police that the people paying to attend hip-hop shows weren’t looking to cause trouble, but have a good time.

“Our naivety helped us. We’d be told by industry people that we couldn’t have a grime show in central London, but we’d just go ahead and do it,” Anderson said about starting Musicalize.

The next step for Anderson was to build a supportive network within the industry. The husband-and-wife team befriended prominent tastemakers, radio presenters and other media personalities. They wanted to create a space where industry insiders and fans could enjoy new music together. This networking element of Musicalize has helped Anderson build a loyal fanbase and sell out events.

On the other hand, a lack of industry experience proved to be helpful. Anderson was able to confidently approach stumbling blocks and walk away successful. He contacted Ed Sheeran following his first number one album, asked him to play a charity show with Musicalize and the musician assented. The company has significantly grown as an independent promotions company working with prominent names in music such as Stormzy, Ciara, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg and others.

“We had no music industry experience, but we thought: ‘How hard can it be?’” Anderson told The Guardian.

Anderson has strategically aligned his brand more in line with the music fan than business man. A bona fide professional, he handles all things relating to the Marketing & PR of Musicalize events and the business in general. The company has expanded to producing concerts, club nights, parties and private events events in the UK, across Europe and the United States. It has become the fastest growing live music showcase event in the UK, boasting audiences an average audiences of 3,000 and a collective social network following of over 50,000.

Beyond putting on memorable events, Musicalize serves as a launching platform for breakthrough unsigned artists. It has given artists the opportunity to be officially introduced to the music industry and wider audiences by giving away the prime position of supporting headline acts. A far cry from their humble beginnings in Shoreditch, Musicalize has produced events hosted at the tremendous Wembley Arena and The O2 Arena in London.