10 questions with…. Maddy Radcliff, Campaigns & Social Media Official, Musicians’ Union

10 questions with…. Maddy Radcliff, Campaigns & Social Media Official, Musicians’ Union

Hannah Williams
15 August 2018
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In this ’10 questions with’ blog, we caught up with Maddy Radcliff, Campaigns & Social Media Official at Musicians’ Union. The Musicians‘ Union (MU) is a globally-respected organisation which represents over 30,000 musicians working in all sectors of the music business. 

So read on to hear some great advice from Maddy!

1) What does an average day as Campaigns & Social Media Official entail?  

An average day at MU HQ for me involves working on social media and campaigns strategy, planning and implementation, and engaging with our 30,000 members across the UK. We work hard creating opportunities and making the most of them with limited resources and a tight budget. We’re a small team but we are really proud to punch well above our weight.

2) What’s the first thing you do when you get into work each morning?   

I’ll switch on the music and check social media. There’s nothing better than logging in and spending a few minutes listening to what people are talking about and how they’re talking about it. Meltwater is really helpful for making sure you don’t miss anything, and getting an overarching sense of what’s going on.

3) What are your top tips for creating a successful social media strategy?   

It sounds obvious, but you have to love social media and connecting with people. You also have to love your reason for being there. You can’t put in the hours, build communities and move people to activism if you don’t find meaning in it yourself. If you have this, then it doesn’t matter what the challenges are, or what the hours are, it just feels like a privilege to do what you do. On a more practical note, remember who you are there for and never ever underestimate the value of research.

4) If you could visit anywhere in the world where would you go?   

Right now, top of the list is mainly European cities. Brexit is presenting so much uncertainty that it feels more urgent than ever before. In fact, the MU’s most engaged with campaign to date is, about protecting musicians’ right to travel freely and easily in the EU post-Brexit. Musicians perform, tour, study and teach in the European Union all the time. Outside of Europe, I’d say Peru for Machu Picchu and the US to visit family and friends. I want to go back to Japan as well. It would be a dream to climb Mount Fuji.

5)    How does Meltwater support you in your role?  

Meltwater helps me with research, getting an overview of the conversations going on across our social media platforms, identifying influencers, and analysing how successful our campaigns are. It’s made reporting so much easier.

6)    Tell us a bit about #MUmoment   

I’m so proud to have worked on #MUmoment. Its official title is The Musician Behind the Moment. We’re sharing stories of the orchestral musicians behind incredible moments and asking the public to share moments in their life enhanced by orchestral music.

People think orchestras aren’t for everyone, but they are. One of the musicians featured in the campaign, Maxine, got into orchestral music because she is a big Star Wars fan and the London Symphony Orchestra recorded the soundtrack. She now works for the LSO and has performed on Star Wars too. She made her childhood dream come true.

Another musician, Claire, was part of a project for people with disabilities. She witnessed a hard of hearing child experience the sound of his mother’s voice for the first time through sound vibrations.

My favourite story is Hugh’s though. He’s a coach driver for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and some of the musicians persuaded him to join the orchestra’s Inspiration choir. It gives members of the public the opportunity to sing at a concert accompanied by some of the best orchestral players in the world. I spoke to Hugh on the phone to get his story, and it moved me to tears. I’ve never heard anyone talk about performing like that before. It is such an honour to be able to share that with people.

7)  Who do you love following on social media?  

First on the list would have to be my friends and family. They are so funny and so talented, and social media has provided a platform on which they can really flourish. One of my best friends started a fashion blog and is now fashion editor for two magazines. Other friends have opened up about mental health and other experiences and built support networks and communities around them. I love being able to see and support that.

I also love following inspirational women like Frances O’Grady, Beatrice Fihn, Tarana Burke and my favourite musicians, writers, actors and filmmakers. Every follow, like and share is a little use of power and I’m a big believer in using that power to support the people you love, the issues you care about, and the creators you admire.

And I love We Rate Dogs and Cincinnati Zoo. They are good for the soul if you’re having a bad day.

8)  Who or what inspires you?   

People who stand up for what they believe in. It doesn’t have to be in a big way – not everyone can stand outside with a placard and protest – but there are so many ways to make a difference.

It could be amplifying a voice you feel needs to be heard on social media. It could be joining a trade union. It could be signing a petition or going to a meeting organised by your neighbours on Facebook to talk about litter in the local area.

One thing I’ve learned in this job is that every action counts; a retweet, a petition signature, writing to your MP about an issue you care about. Each of these things takes a couple of minutes maximum but if you do it, and enough other people do it too, you can create real and lasting change not just for yourself but for hundreds if not thousands of others.

One of the best examples of that is the #MeToo movement. One person’s story is easily ignored, but thousands of women came forward with their stories. I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t have something to share. And it looks like it’s creating real and lasting change. We at the MU are certainly working hard to tackle sexual harassment and abuse of power in the music industry – anyone who does experience sexual harassment, abuse, discrimination or exploitation can report it to us in confidence via safespace@theMU.org. We’re doing a lot to proactively protect musicians at work as well.

9)    What do you like to do in your free time?   

Films, books, comics, travel, spending time with family and friends. I spend a lot of time on social media too…

10)  Favourite quote (can be work or life related)  

“Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve” – words to live by courtesy of J.K. Rowling. It’s true in every area of life. It takes courage to join a trade union, to climb a mountain, to share your #MeToo moment, to stand up for what you believe in. But if you can, and if you do, anything is possible.

Thanks to Maddy for sharing her insights! We loved her advice and hearing about The Musician Behind the Moment.