DC music business grad launches first annual Vietnam Music Week

Since graduating from the Music Business Administration (MBA) program at Durham College (DC) in 2018, Thao Nghiem has been in tune with emerging trends in the Canadian and international music industries. Currently based in Toronto, Thao’s latest initiative as co-founder of the Vietnam Music Industry Network (VMIN) has introduced exciting opportunities to support the music industry in her native country while honouring her Vietnamese culture.

In June 2021, after three years of planning, Thao and her VMIN partners successfully launched the first annual Vietnam Music Week (VMW). With more than 250 attendees, this five-day virtual conference featured 30 guest speakers, companies and organizations, and offered engaging panel discussions, keynote presentations and success stories.

“It’s rewarding to see our grads applying the skills they’ve learned at Durham College and establishing themselves as respected professionals in the music industry,” says Greg Murphy, dean, School of Media, Art & Design (MAD).

The inspiration for VMW was sparked by her involvement with the VMIN community, which offers access to free, industry-related news and resources, job boards, events and other exclusive opportunities.

“Popular music and its consumption are at a fever pitch in Vietnam and many other Asian countries, and my partners and I were inspired to provide a platform for education, collaboration and networking that could lead to growth for individual music creators and the Vietnamese music industry,” explains Thao.The more I learned about Canadian and international music industries, the clearer the opportunities became to apply my knowledge and support my music community back home.”

Thao has been working as a Label Licensing and Royalty Liaison at the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA) in Toronto. Representing music rights holders and offering various licensing services, her role has helped build a foundation for her own entrepreneurial ventures. Her mentor, Tony Sutherland, a professor in DC’s MBA program, participated as a guest speaker during VMW, leading a series of workshops, such as: Composition, Copyright, and Music Education; Music Applications Outside the Industry; and Musical Performance and Advertising Collaboration.

“Vietnam Music Week is a great initiative that fosters collaboration and education,” says Tony Sutherland. “Together, with industry professionals from across the globe, attendees gain insights about the current music industry landscape and potential opportunities for growth.”

During her time at DC, Thao developed meaningful connections on campus and in the community, acting as co-founder and co-director of the Oshawa Music Awards, an event dedicated to celebrating music and talent within Durham Region.

My experience in the MBA program at Durham College was my gateway into the music industry,” explains Thao. “The experienced faculty members were encouraging and supportive, and I especially benefitted from the hands-on experiences offered through workshops and practicum.”

With planning already underway for next year, Thao and her team are excited to shape VMW into an annual event for those who are interested in learning, collaborating and fostering the growth of the music industry in Vietnam and beyond.