Music Biz 2018: Conference Takeaways

In terms of getting started professionally in the industry:

“You Don’t Have to Wait Until Graduation to Work in the Music Industry”

Makenzie Stokel (EVAmore)
Erin Anderson (Olivia Management)
Garrison Snell (Gyrosity Projects)
Chris Susskind (MyBandSource.com)

  • Intern. Intern. Intern.

  • Work an “outside” project into your college work. So if you want to be a manager, start managing a friend and turn it into your senior project! (Ex: for my senior project I built a website to feature my piano performances and graphic design)

  • Create real relationships

  • DON’T make the object of your resume “to obtain a job in the music business” - tailor it to be relevant for each position you apply to

  • Look for work that makes you happy!

In terms of “just getting started:

“Team Building -- The Five Pillars of the Music Business”

  • “Just try stuff and make mistakes” - Trevor Larkin (Allen Stone, guitarist)

  • “Be where you are - don’t try to be bigger than you are” - Nathan Dohse (AGD Entertainment / Zero to 60 by AGD)

  • “Your career should have its own brand” - Sarah D’Hilly (Monument Records)

  • “Believe in yourself, no one has a fan base at first”

Why you need to just ASK:

“Only One Goal: Capture Your Community”

  • “Capture the people who are already around you” - Nathan Dohse

It’s all about adding value:

“New Age of CRM”

Itay Rahat (WMG)
Matt Annerino (Live Nation)
Stella Psaroudakis (Warner Music Artist Services)
Murray Stall (FanMail Marketing Agency)

  • “Provide value outside what you’re promoting”

  • People are most likely to convert in the first 90 days

  • Give no more than 2 CTAs (call-to-actions) in an email

  • Don’t overtarget ads/emails

  • It doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective

In terms of digital marketing and advertising:

“Music & Advertising: Flip That $#!t”

Annie Ortmeier (UMG Nashville)
Jeppe Faurfelt (Linkfire)
Tony Grotticelli (UMG Nashville)
Kim Pham (DASH TWO)

  • You have the opportunity to control the conversation (ex: share a playlist instead of just a single)

  • Ask, who is the fan now?

  • Ask, what happens after you (your audience) click?

  • New artists should spend money on creating great content, NOT marketing/ads

  • Layer your marketing efforts (ex: you can’t just share one email or one Facebook ad, you have to do multiple things at once in order to get results)

In terms of breaking through the noise:

“Music’s Leading Ladies Speak Out”

  • “The easiest way to break in is to do something different” - Wendy Goldstein (Republic Records)

  • “Not everyone has to be perfect at everything right off the bat” - Beka Tischker (Wide Eyed Entertainment)

  • Successful people are all passionate, have a strong work ethic, make themselves available, and are laser focused on their goals

  • “Lead by example” - Marcie Allen (MAC Presents)

In terms of entrepreneurship during college:

“Learning Music Entrepreneurship by Doing: How to Create Experiential Opportunities in an Academic Setting”

In terms of creating opportunity for yourself:

“Skill Set Is King! How Prepared Are Students For Today’s Music Industry?”

Chris Sampson (University of Southern California)
Todd Goodwin (UMG)
Frank Hill (UMG)
Donna Ross (Concord Music Group)
Sarah Van Hoven (WME Nashville)

  • Be proactive

  • Companies really value soft skills like: attitude, work ethic, communication, time management, and relationships (Note: show them you’re capable of these skills when you’re an intern to set yourself up for future success)

  • You have to continually stand out even after you get a job

  • Move “skills” from the bottom of your resume to the top (no one cares where you went to school and what your GPA was)

  • “I got 948 applications and I looked at none, I went off of recommendations”

  • “Create opportunities for yourself”

In terms of making the most of your time & resources while in college:

“Education vs. Experience: What Are Employers Really Looking For?”

  • “Teach students how to teach themselves” - LaTaevia Berry (Major Fourth)

  • “It comes down to, what is the student willing to do?” - Gloria Green (Middle Tennessee State University)

  • “You can’t teach drive but you can bring it out of them [students], sometimes they just don’t know where they’re driving!” - Tonya Butler (Berklee College of Music)

Why you have to be “scrappy:”

“Creative Partnerships: Making an Impact Without Breaking the Bank”

  • “Deliver something fully baked so they can say yes” - Julie Sturdivant (Marbaloo Marketing)

  • “Give them another reason to look at you” - Julie (ex: if you don’t hear back after one email, follow up with something new that you have going on)

  • “Following up is annoying but it works” - Marieke Bianchi (WMG Nashville)

  • “If your goals don’t align, you can’t force it” - Justin Breton (Squarespace)

  • “It’s about being unique over being louder” - Vian Izak (Vohnic Music LLC)


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Katherine Forbes | Nashville website designer

Katherine Forbes

Founder of Designing the Row and Creator of Music Biz Besties

A Music City girl obsessed with creating confidence in my clients through design, branding, marketing, and community. In today’s world, your visual branding and online presence will either make or break you. I’ve got my Diet Coke in hand and am ready to get started on your next project.


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