Sam Nicholls, Senior Lecturer

Sam Nicholls

Senior Lecturer

Before joining University in 2012, Sam worked in the music industry for over 10 years in successful roles as a live music promoter, record label director and A&R, musician, songwriter and producer. As well as delivering a number of industry based modules and research at the University, he is involved in developing partnerships to improve access to music industry roles with local and national bodies.

Sam, played in local bands, worked in venues and helped with promotion for a host of indie labels until 2004 when he formed promotions company Transmission, working with acts such as Arctic Monkeys, The Subways and The Pigeon Detectives.

In 2005, buoyed by the success of his own band, ¡Forward, Russia! - Transmission spun off the record label Dance To The Radio releasing a host of acclaimed 7” and compilation records, and in 2006 Top 40 singles and albums from ¡Forward, Russia! and The Pigeon Detectives. The label signed worldwide distribution with Co-Op Music, while ¡Forward, Russia! signed to Mute / EMI Records in North America and later Cooking Vinyl.

Both the band and the label wound down by the end of 2008, and Sam undertook an MA Music Production degree at Leeds Beckett University, while being approached to speak at a host of industry events on DIY music attitudes. Sam has taken part in numerous panels, talks and workshops on BBC 6 Music (Steve Lamacq Roundtable), In The City (conversation with Sean Adams (Drowned In Sound), Geoff Travis (Rough Trade) and John Robb), Liverpool Sound City and more.

In mentoring young artists, he is now working with numerous organisations to provide a sustainable platform and structure for this activity within Leeds. He has been granted funding from Unltd and PRS For Music Foundation to facilitate this, and now sits on awarding panels for PRSF as well as Arts Council England for their Momentum Fund. Since 2010, Sam has curated the annual Live At Leeds Unconference event, attracting speakers such as Tom Robinson, Simon Rix (Kaiser Chiefs) and James McMahon (Kerrang! Editor), and now hosts the annual Live At Leeds Extra Time event which features a 5-a-side Football Tournament of local music organisations. In 2014, the University recognised his Outstanding Contribution to Innovation & Enterprise at their annual Achieving Excellence Awards and in 2015, Leeds City Council approached him and Nic Greenan to programme a new arts and music festival for teenagers, that would become Under The Owls.

Sam still enjoys a selection of music production and and has continued to produce albums for acts such as Jon Gomm, Sam Airey and You Animals, as well as completing a solo album under the Honour Before Glory moniker, with tracks featured on programs such as Skins and Hollyoaks.

Current Teaching

  • L4 Music and Digital Media
  • L5 Music Industry
  • L6 Projects
  • L7 Studio Production Skills

Research Interests

Sam joined the staff at Leeds Beckett in 2012, and has written on subjects such as fan-funding, diversion of streaming revenue, and is currently writing a book chapter on audience engagement and alternative revenue streams for Bloomsbury Academic.

Sam Nicholls, Senior Lecturer

Ask Me About

  1. Music