Profile: Xenia Horne, MusicMakers UK

MusicMakers UK is an agency which books professional musicians to play at events, has doubled turnover owner Xenia Horne has plans to expand her 200-strong network of performers.

The right business advice has put this small agency on a firm footing just a year after it faced ruin, and the show definitely goes on for harpist Xenia who has battled through family break-up, a car crash and crippling credit ratings to turn round her company ‘MusicMakers UK’.

Xenia started her company in the early 1990s after realising there were a lot of excellent musicians looking for work. “People did not know where to go to book musicians and assumed (wrongly) that live performers were more expensive than, say, a disco. Although I had the music contacts I lacked the business grounding.”

Her move to Norfolk in 1999 and single parenthood made her develop the business. Her first hurdle was getting credit to buy basics such as stationery as debts racked up by someone else in her former home meant she was also marked down as a bad payer. “Credit reference agencies base ratings on addresses. If you have lived with a person who has had a county court judgement against them you are then marked down too. I was living in a remote village and had to travel to shop – and pay cash.” A road accident, which stopped her playing for several months, was the making of her commercially. “I used the time recuperating to search for help. That was the start of MusicMakers’ renaissance.”

Xenia discovered Norfolk’s Women’s Employment, Enterprise and Training Unit (WEETU) and its innovative micro-credit Full Circle scheme which provided business training, showed her how to draw up a proper contract for clients and confirmation for her musicians, as well as how to sort out cashflow. “Now payment is in advance and employment terms are clear” says Xenia, and added “The professional approach suits everyone – from the musicians who feel well cared for, to the event managers I target for bookings. A good brochure and clear fee structure creates trust.”

MusicMakers UK


Prowess archive 2009.

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