Yesterday, I participated in the Best Job Ever event at Belmont University. The event is for students to learn more about the music industry, jobs, and challenges that music business professionals face. Best Job Ever started with a keynote from Luke and Beth Laird. Beth Laird has worked at BMG Music Publishing, BMI, and in 2011, launched her own music publishing and management company called Creative Nation. Luke Laird is a phenomenal writer and has written nine #1 Billboard country hits including “Last Name” and “Temporary Home” (Carrie Underwood), “A Little Bit Stronger” (Sara Evans), “Drink in my Hand” (Eric Church), and most recently “Pontoon” (Little Big Town). His songs have also been recorded my non-country artists like Boys Like Girls, Ne-Yo, Jessica Simpson, and Katharine McPhee.
They had some great advice for students and emphasized three things to know:
- Find Your Unique Talent
- Have a work ethic and work hard
- Build Relationships
They also stressed the importance of internships, making relationships, being open to opportunities, and staying humble.
After the keynote, the day was packed with panels. The event had 16 panels in all and students chose which 4 panels they wanted to attend. For me, choosing which panels to attend was a little tough because there were so many good panels that were going on at the same time and you could only pick one to go to during each hour.
The first panel I ended up attending was Venue Management & Marketing with panelists from the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium. It was interesting to hear everyone’s story of how they got into the industry and their interesting past jobs. Some great advice from this panel was: nurture relationships, prepare yourself, create opportunities, and volunteer.
The second panel I went to was Best 1st Job Ever. Panelists included people from Capitol Records, Combustion Music, Carnival Music, Ad Rem Entertainment, and BMI. Advice from them included going above and beyond while interning, making a good impression (apparently everyone in the music industry knows each other in town), attending as many shows as you can, and being ready for change.
The third panel was Fan Engagement Outside The Social Media Box where panelists talked about social media and innovative marketing. The panelists included Charles Alexander (Outside the Box) who I had met the day before and through Music Think Tank, Holly Cunningham (Tiny Jetpack), Jen Foster (singer/songwriter), and Michael Schneider (Bandpage). It was interesting to learn more about Facebook, EdgeRank, and analytics. It’s also very important to be authentic on social media and to understand yourself and your audience.
The last panel of the day was Radio Game Plan: Music, Marketing, Strategy. The panelists were from Warner Music Nashville, SunFire Entertainment, South Central Media, and Country Radio Broadcasters. At first, I thought it was a little strange that they had a panel on radio since it has been declining, but I learned that “95% of country acts are still discovered from country radio.” Another interesting thing was that many radio stations are losing their localism, but some are trying to stay local because many people tune into the radio station just for the DJs and local talent. The panelists here talked about some important classes to take: entrepreneurship, finance/accounting, and marketing…which is interesting because I am actually taking all 4 of those classes this semester. They advised students to have good communication skills, read everyday, pay attention to detail, network, volunteer, and to be persistent.
The overall message that I kept hearing was to work hard, network, attend shows, and show your passion for music. Oh, and to find out what you like to do in the music industry. (Apparently many of them had worked or interned in various music biz jobs and found out that they did not like working in certain areas and then finally found what they wanted to do)
The Best Job Ever event was a great learning experience and I liked how so many people were willing to help students. I kind of wish that I had been exposed to this program earlier, but I guess it is good that I learned basic business skills that can be applied to the industry. I can’t wait to learn more. Thank you Belmont University!