Future Jobs of the music industry according to Billboard
The music industry is changing faster and faster, and so many new jobs are being created in this field, in order to keep up with the times, follow the fashions and fill the gaps created by the advancing innovation. And so, next to the classic roles that allow you to work in the field of music, others are developing, some very curious: the well-known American magazine Billboard recommends more than forty, divided into five categories, with the stories of those who have made it to become Merch Maker, Trauma Counselor or Chatbot Creator. Let's find out about them here, who knows we might get some ideas for the future.
Jobs to empower artists
Nick Barnes is a Nashville UTA agent who uses digital to grow artists' fan bases. As he tells it, "Digital data is the tip of the iceberg of everything we do with a client's life: brand sponsorship, touring, billing for a festival. We play the role of the interpreter so [artists] can understand how they're really doing it and what it all means." His advice for those who want to pursue this career is, "If you're really interested in data, don't get too caught up in the numbers. In the end, what you do is about the music and the fans, and capture that dynamic."
In 2013, Ivan Berrios was working in a shoe store while pursuing his passion for photography when he was called by DJ Khaled to document the production of a video. "He was looking for someone young and angry," Ivan recalls, and Dj Khaled so appreciated the work he did during the "No New Friends" video that, five years later, he became the official photographer for Khaled's We the Best Music Group. Through his shots, Berrios chronicles the extravagant life of the DJ, who has more than 10 million followers on Instagram: "He tells me, 'You're not like the other guys! You're the next Steven Spielberg!" He's doing a lot for me, I don't want to disappoint him." Here's his advice: "If you want to shoot behind the scenes, create a style and stick to it. Mine is very cinematic and action-based, and not many people in Miami do that. I was consistent, and people understood that."
Pool Track Trends director Jeff Diones knows exactly what music goes in clubs: after realizing a decade ago that there was a big gap in club information, he convinced a group of Atlanta strip club DJs to turn over to him the tracks they were playing, thus creating a detailed ranking that helped the most played records get contracts and radio spins. Now Diones is developing his model: he charges labels a one-time fee to monitor tracks played in a club, so he can discover new artists and decide who to promote as a priority.
Kathryn Frazier, of PR agency Biz3, helps musicians get healthy and fit. Her PR clients have included Skrillex and Run the Jewels, but it bothered her that some artists combine success with addiction, mental illness and depression. "I saw so many unhappy millionaires," Kathryn explains, "and I noticed that there wasn't a specific person to deal with this": so two years ago she became a life coach, and works with about thirty clients, including managers and artists, such as Vic Mensa who says he is very satisfied with Kathryn's work. Of course, this new role has also improved the PR agency's business, because the bond that is created with the artists makes everything easier: "[They] don't want to let me down."
After working at MCA Records for six years, Hauck Allsep founded an artist management agency in 2001. He then decided to enroll in medical school and then founded the Music Health Alliance in Nashville, a nonprofit organization that has helped more than 8,000 musicians navigate the complex world of health care. MHA played a key role in 2017 after the shooting at Route 91 Harvest in Las Vegas, where it cared for 110 survivors. "We have a good support system," Allsep comments, "I hope we never have to use it again."
Country music, by definition, is about the simple life of hard work and everyday life, but what happens when small-town musicians become successful? To solve the problems associated with that is Dr. Ted Klontz, a consultant for one of Nashville's leading business management firms, Flood Bumstead McCready & McCarthy, who works with artists to eliminate anxiety and tension. "There was a group that said, 'Our goal is to be the next U2 in terms of length,' but they were about to break up," Klontz says, "Shortly after, they made a success of it. All we did was work on communication skills, how to listen and how to state everyone's needs."
Scott Lazer studied journalism before becoming interested in film editing-he started working in the field in 2014, and during that summer landed a job with J. Cole. The project was shelved, but the sync that was created then allowed Lazer to join Cole's team. As in-house videographer for Dreamville since 2015, he has directed videos, shorts, and documentaries for the label's entire roster, including Ari Lennox, Bas, and Cozz, in addition to running parallel personal projects and curating all of J. Cole's videos.
Moe Shalizi has succeeded in transforming Marshmello from a cult artist to a dancefloor icon: by focusing on the look and logo, followers on Instagram have become more than 8 million, showing how important it is to build a brand for artists, as they do among others Andrew Gertler with Shawn Mendes and Adam Mersel with Bebe Rexha. Marshmello's image has gained visibility with a 360 degrees work that, in addition to music, has focused on other things such as gaming (in a Fortnite tournament with Ninja he won a million dollars to donate to charity) and cooking (his cooking channel on YouTube has more than 15 million subscribers).
Chinese Market Guides
Nikki Li and Bebe Zhang help international artists move around their country, China. Li, working at an events and marketing agency in the late 2000s, noticed that venues weren't going in Shanghai: small clubs and equally small local artists. Noticing the international expansion of electronic acts like Justice and Soulwax, he decided to organize events with artists and DJs, a real innovation for the city. Now his agency, Sonically Transmitted Disease, has its own club, Arkham, and above all a mission: to demystify the Chinese market for international acts. Zhang joined Li in 2011, and with a team of 12, they work to connect international artists with local brands, manage Chinese social media for select acts, help visiting artists get crucial visas and permits, and create tourist route maps. "We don't have many competitors now, because what we do is pretty unique," Li says.
After studying screenwriting, Richard Moreno moved to Los Angeles in 2015 and joined Create Music Group, which seeks untapped monetization opportunities in the music industry. There, in the summer of 2017, he founded the company's 'viral' department, which he runs, turning his obsession with memes into a source of revenue for artists: Moreno searches the internet for anything that contains parts of copyrighted songs that are too short to be spotted by YouTube's Content Id, and claims the rights. "We give artists this new income that can be up to thousands of dollars a month," he says, "the money we provide them keeps them in the game longer."
Karina Quiroz-Gilbert in 2017 became creative director of Manhead Merch, where she has worked since 2009. Since then, she has created clothing lines for Panic! At the Disco, Morrissey, Weezer and Sia, and is now working on one for Fall Out Boy. "In the past, artists wanted their name on everything," states Karina, "Now they come to us and ask us to come up with styles, trends and lines." Manhead also owns pop-up shops where she sells exclusive clothes not found at shows, and on social Quiroz-Gilbert follows bands, magazines, graphic designers, children's brands and even wedding dress designers. One piece of advice for those aspiring to this role: keep an open mind.
Georgia Roberts is a college instructor who has focused her studies on literature, hip hop culture, and Critical Race Theory. Among her students was producer Ryan Lewis, and when the latter, along with Macklemore, beat Kendrick Lamar at the Grammy Awards in 2014 in the Best Rap Album category, he asked Roberts to help him hold his own. He met with the two for a couple of years to discuss the privileges of being white and male, accompanying it with readings of works by black intellectuals. These meetings helped create the single "White Privilege II," where Roberts appears among the writers. She believes a number of pop stars would benefit from her educational sessions, though she declines to name names: "I wish the music world would recognize that such service is as necessary as, say, hiring a drummer for a tour," she says.
Bilingual Vocal Coach
Jean Rodriguez is a producer and member of Coastcity, and the brother of Luis Fonsi. He is a bilingual vocal coach, and since Spanish-speaking artists have started climbing the charts and several stars have performed songs in Spanish, requests for his advice have skyrocketed. Among others, he has worked on J Balvin's English and Beyoncè's Spanish. Rodriguez, who is also a singer, often creates a track for the artist to practice on until they feel ready to go it alone-the ultimate goal is to make the song sound as authentic as possible.
Hilary Rosen has always fought for the rights of women and the LGBTQ community. Today, she is on the team leading the Time's Up legal defense fund, and helps entertainment clients as a lobbyist at Washington, DC-based political consulting firm SKDKnickerbocker, where she is a partner. Rosen argues that the number of female artists on the charts should be a signal to music industry CEOs, "If your audience is more diverse and female than your leadership, you need to catch up." Part of Rosen's job at SKDK, where she oversees 120 communications professionals, is helping victims of harassment and assault navigate the media and advocate for themselves through initiatives like the #MuteRKelly protest. "I'm a fixer," she says, "I help people do their best."
Taeko Saito, of Downtown Music Publishing, helps songwriters and artists connect internationally. After working with Diplo, Lorde and The Weeknd, among others, as an A&R Executive at Songs Music Publishing, she discovered she could leverage unused songwriter demos for Japanese artists looking for American material. So, in 2015, she came to Downtown, where she divides her time between developing business in the Asian market and connecting songwriters and artists: she sends Downtown songwriters to K-pop songwriting camps, and is working to create her own camp for Japanese songwriters and acts. "Music is now global," Saito argues, "we're not that far away from incorporating J-pop into pop music here."
Work to make a live show better
Scott Dennison has worked for LiveStyle for years, where he is now director of risk and crowd services. During festivals, Dennison is in an on-site mobile command center, filtering calls, monitoring dark web chats and social media posts for potential threats, and staying up-to-date on traffic and weather reports. After the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting in 2017, event preparation became even more demanding to be able to deal with a potential attack: 3-D models to figure out possible scenarios, coordination with canine units, and liaison with local police and fire departments. Dennison has 60 paramedics on hand, with ambulances and nurses; a team he says has a two-minute response time.
After working in theater for years, Es Davlin was approached by the Wire as a designer for one of their shows in London. A week later, just as he was firing his stage designer, Kanye West saw a photo of Es's work: bingo. Since then, Es Davlin has worked, in addition to West, with Beyoncè, Adele and The Weeknd. His designs are created in his London studio, where he collaborates with 7 other designers; when production begins, he focuses on technical rehearsals, which can involve up to 300 people. Of his work he says: "I see my creations more and more as tools, made to generate a visual and auditory amplification of music".
Chad Finnerty, after working for years in the world of animated film, arrived at Eyellusion in 2016 and, as director of creative development, oversees seven different animation departments aimed at creating holograms of rock stars, such as Ronnie James Dio, whom Eyellusion 'brought back' on tour in 2017. Finnerty believes that true 3D hologram technology will develop in the next five years, and he recommends using DIY animation sites like Pluralsight and Animation Mentor to get started. The hardest thing? "Perfectly positioning the hair on the hologram is the hardest part. It would be so much easier if we only worked with bald musicians - Michael Stipe is my dream hologram."
Josh Bocanegra is co-founder and CEO of Persona Technologies, which has been leveraging artificial intelligence to create chatbots for fans since 2016. The company has worked for Katy Perry, and is currently working with Rihanna. Bocanegra tells of starting out as a joke, creating a Selena Gomez chatbot for her daughter, and when faced with the little girl's enthusiasm, she realized she had a great idea on her hands. From there his career began, and to those who would like to follow him he advises: "Skills are important, but it's equally important to build relationships. Relationships create power, especially in the long run."
Allison Caley works for Amazon Music, and specifically makes sure Alexa responds in the right way to user requests, focusing on mistakes to understand where the system is going wrong. Caley joined Amazon as an intern during her first year at Harvard, and was hired in 2015. Her advice: "Start studying machine learning now. This knowledge will be expected in the near future. There's still a lot to discover in terms of voice search - we've barely scratched the surface."
Andreas Carlsson of Veszt is in the business of helping artists monetize their songs. Co-writer of hits like Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way" and Katy Perry's "Waking Up in Vegas," the Swedish producer and songwriter knows the value of a song, and tries to turn it into money through ISOs - Initial Song Offerings - where fans can buy stakes in a song or catalog using blockchain technology. Investors thus earn on a portion of the royalties on the music. The advice? "Become a brand, and be that brand 24 hours a day."
Music Video Booster
After working for MTV Brasil, Sandra Jimenez landed at YouTube in 2013, and for the past two years, she's been the head of music for Latin America. Jimenez oversees all content from artists, labels and publishers in Latin America, Puerto Rico and the Latin market in the U.S., reporting to U.S. music industry director Christopher Miller, meeting with stakeholders and connecting them with content-producing partners. "The key thing for us is to engage artists and show them how important it is to use our tools."
Anthony Matchett is the founder of MelodyVR, and his goal is to create the Netflix of virtual music. A graduate in audio engineering, after various experiences in 2014 he created his company, which aims to become the music industry's first mega-library of VR content, from concerts to classic MTV videos. Matchett has a team of 65 employees who handle production, post-production, engineering and business, and for those who would like to approach this line of work, the advice is to use virtual reality as much as possible, discover all the tools available, buy a GoPro and create content: "Get your hands dirty and do it. It really is the test of fire, and the way this business was created."
Bear McCreary is an Emmy-winning composer who has worked on the music for "Battlestar Galactica" and "The Walking Dead," among others, for film and also for video games: his main work in this area is the soundtrack for the PlayStation game "God of War." McCreary's days are divided between writing work in his studio and calls and meetings, and his advice to young composers is to "absolutely consider games, and augmented and virtual reality series. In 10 or 20 years, there will be no difference between composing soundtracks for movies or video games. You will be writing music for content. It's a mistake not to take every media into consideration."
Sound System Innovator
Mieko Cusano has worked for Sonos since 2003, helping decide what to market. An industrial design engineer, she dedicated herself to the software-based wireless speaker platform that became their core product. Promoted in 2017 to Senior Director of Experience Strategy, her latest goal was to make Sonos audio systems compatible with voice recognition assistants from Amazon, Apple and Google, but she's already looking for what will be the next technological breakthrough in her field.
In country music, the role of radio stations is still critical, while streaming is slowly catching on. Services like Spotify and Pandora are growing in Nashville, and Apple Music's Jay Liepis knows the drill - in fact, the company put him in charge of its Country Music business. While waiting to open an office of his own in Nashville, Liepis oversees relationships with the country community, handling exclusive projects with artists. "The biggest benefits of streaming for country artists are exposure and accessibility," says Liepis, "we've seen a steady growth and engagement to the genre. More and more country fans are switching to Apple Music."
Chris McMurtry is a songwriter who spent nearly a decade working on Apple's Information Systems and Technology team, helping to build its retail business. But he turned that highly specific expertise into a career by solving one of the music industry's largest and most challenging problems: incomplete, insufficient, or just plain incorrect metadata that prevents artists and creators from getting paid for the use of their works in the digital-first economy. After other work experience created Royalties.AI, Exactuals purchased the product and hired McMurtry to lead its music operations.
After studying industrial design, Lauryn Morris created headphones that allowed people to 'see' and 'hear' music, and then went on to create eyewear for major fashion brands. These experiences led her to work on wearable technology projects, and in 2014 she was hired by Snap Inc. Spectacles glasses are among her most successful creations, used on stage by artists like Diplo and Twenty One Pilots, and her advice for approaching this kind of work is to study the five senses as well as music theory: "Industrial design classes are a good first step to understand what product niche you want to get into."
Oriol Nieto of Pandora started out as a developer of video game code. He joined the company in 2015 and now works with a team of 20 within the Listener Science department at Pandora's headquarters in Oakland, California, leveraging MGP's capabilities to make good use of listener recommendations. Nieto listens to the tracks collected by the algorithm, analyzes the results, and then sorts through the codes to get the most appropriate selections. His suggestion is to pick up an instrument and take music theory classes: "If you're recommending playlists to millions of people, it helps to know as much about music as possible."
Milana Rabkin Lewis, co-founder and CEO of Stem, uses her company to help musicians distribute and monetize their music independently through streaming services. "We don't believe there really is such a thing as a DIY artist," Lewis maintains, "being independent doesn't mean doing everything completely on your own." With 50 employees, the company meets artists, managers and investors, and of course streaming service companies like Pandora, Spotify and Apple. According to Lewis, the industry is expanding, calling Stem, the "unbundling of the majors" in Los Angeles, the catalyst for a new ecosystem of companies "providing very specific services to artists."
In 2015, Christian Råsmark joined founder Niclas Molinder in the Auddly project, a software that collects and tracks credits and royalties from streaming and radio. "Today, an average pop song has five authors and six publishers," Råsmark explains, "that's a lot of people to deal with. "His job is divided between managing a team of 15 people and analyzing user behavior, gathering feedback, and tweaking the software. Råsmark believes that soon streaming services will allow people to search for tracks by author, specific instrumentalist and even recording studio: "Who played what, and where it was done - that's important for everyone."
Rahul Rumalla is co-founder of Paperchain, a startup creating frameworks for a decentralized database that could help track copyrights and charge authors. But he and his two partners weren't convinced: "Bad information in the real world, if you put it on blockchain, it's still going to be bad information": and so Paperchain began creating a cryptocurrency capable of turning artists' royalty revenue into tokens, allowing it to be traded on the blockchain-based marketplace to pay authors quickly and efficiently. "The challenge is trying to bridge the gap between two industries that don't work with each other," states Rumalla, "We're just three guys very passionate about the music industry who want to create a product that can solve a lot of these problems."
Twitch Music Strategist
In 2005, Pat Shah created a startup called MusicGremlin, then went on to work at big companies like EMI, Universal and Spotify, eventually landing at Twitch, Amazon's livestreaming platform. "At Spotify I was working on something that already existed," Shah says, "here you have to start from scratch." Shah is all about getting to know the user base and helping artists promote their releases. "On Twitch, artists can connect directly with users and create a different experience than their current music. And that's a canvas that we can really do a lot more with."
At a time when the ubiquity of streaming makes tens of millions of tracks available to anyone all at once, context is more important than ever. And so a steady stream of seasoned music journalists has been moving away from traditional publications toward streaming services that need storytelling experience, particularly in the last couple of years: journalist Elliott Wilson, formerly editor-in-chief of XXL, is most recently editorial director of culture and content at Tidal, and is the head of programming and oversight for hip-hop playlists, where he has taken with him the podcast of interviews he did on Rap Radar, of which he is a founder.
Lauren Wirtzer-Seawood helps artists use Instagram in the best way: after figuring out what fans want while working at Beyoncé's Parkwood Entertainment, she now focuses on helping artists take control of their image while marketing so that it doesn't overtly appear to be selling a product. "The ability to use stories and then add the call to action via links in those stories," Wirtzer-Seawood said, "has become incredibly important for offline value for artists."
Work to influence media
José "Junior" Carabaño, a Venezuelan graphic designer, worked as a promoter with Noah Assad, and in 2014 they attended workshops at Google Colombia, where they received the training they needed to launch their multichannel network for artists that optimizes and monetizes their content on YouTube. Today, their digital marketing and distribution company, Rimas Enterteinment, offers help to labels, management and booking, with more than 50 employees. Carabaño, 24, oversees every creative choice and likes to brainstorm directly with clients. "When we started, very few people were aware of what [YouTube] entailed," he says, "We were able to monetize user-generated content." According to him, in a few years Rimas "will establish itself as a multinational company, with five times the number of artists we have now and much more involvement in the mainstream world."
Sara DeCou and Trevor McFedries are the founders of Brud, a company that created virtual stars Lil Miquela and Ronnie Blawko in 2016. With more than a million followers on Instagram, Lil Miquela recently launched "his" first clothing line, and his debut single "Not Mine" has more than a million plays on Spotify. Creators come up with all kinds of things to get fans' attention, like when they faked a hacking attack on her profile or when she realized she wasn't human, turning on the two.
Chipotle Playlist Curator
Chris Golub, passionate about music and food, was a DJ for many years until Steve Ells, founder of Chipotle, asked him to create playlists for his chain of stores. He then created Studio Orca, where he curates music for many restaurants, hotels, and stores.Golub scours music blogs every day to keep up with the latest releases, and he goes to local clubs in the wee hours of the night to "follow the opening acts, many of whom will be the next superstars in the industry." He also goes out to discover bands, producers and labels. "We try to avoid music that's at the top of the pop charts," Golub says, "you're already listening to these tracks wherever you go; we try to showcase emerging talent around the world, as well as some throwback jams."
Rapper Ka5sh says his life before memes sucked: Jordan Craig, that's his real name, studied to be an elementary school teacher, then, after a series of odd jobs, came to Los Angeles, where he started creating memes to promote his music. So, using this skill, he became a freelance meme-maker, and his first big hit was with Rae Sremmurd's "Swang," mixing videos of country dances with the song. Ka5sh spends 14 hours a day online, "You have to know the artist's brand and the idea their fan base has of them, and play around it to create something that works. If any marketing nerds are reading me: hire me if you want your artists' songs to explode."
During the last Grammy Awards, the video for "The Middle," by Zedd and Maren Morris, was premiered and ended with a callback to Target, the spot's sponsor, which often ran high-budget ads featuring music clips by well-known artists. Mother New York ad agency creative director Craig Love says, "People who are watching the Grammys don't want to see another commercial. They're watching for the music. So, for the last few years, Target has been doing these big music productions as a thank you for the viewers." After working on several ideas for months, the stroke of genius came with "The Middle," whose video was made in just nine days. Love's advice is to be prepared to sweat it out, and not to advertise too much: "I do advertise, but they're often disguised as pop culture," he says, "Your cultural perspective is what makes you valuable. You can find out what a 'brand pillar' is later."
Angelica Nwandu has an Instagram account called The Shade Room that posts gossip related to black culture: after a week on the social platform, she already had 10 thousand followers, today she has more than 13 million, with an official website, a Facebook page, a YouTube channel and an online store. She started out alone, but now she can count on a staff and above all on investors and advertising partnerships with multinationals such as McDonald's: this has given her the peace of mind necessary to complete the film she has been working on for a while, "Night Comes On", winner of the Next Innovator Award at the Sundance Film Festival this year.
A few years ago, Richard Saghian, CEO of fashion company Fashion Nova, noticed that Cardi B was mentioning the brand a lot on social. So he began sending her clothing items, laying the groundwork for a relationship whose financial details are unknown, but which in Saghian's words has helped increase the wealth of both. Cardi B previously stated that the company offered her $20,000 a month to post images where she wore their clothes. In November, Fashion Nova will launch its first signature collection by Cardi B, and will then introduce a new collection every quarter.
Fei Yang, 24, spends most of her time at home in Michigan, producing videos that she posts on her YouTube channel 'heyitsfeiii' twice a week for more than a million subscribers: her activity consists in testing makeup and outfits of K-pop artists (who often appear with her in the videos) or the newest beauty trends launched by BTS or Twice. Yang started posting on YouTube in 2013, when she was still in college, and over the years it has become a full-time job, thanks to revenue-sharing with the platform and sponsors who pay her to use their products.
Work to revamp a label
After a chance meeting with the vice president of Interscope Records in Santa Monica, Conors Ambrose joined the company and held various roles, eventually becoming director of playlists. Along with Renaud Jean-Baptiste, formerly a music programmer at MTV, he works to ensure that the label's songs are featured on as many playlists as possible. When they're not meeting with artists and managers, the two work closely with publishers and streaming services, especially Spotify and Apple Music, with whom you have to deal without ever being aggressive. How to get to success? For Ambrose, it requires "the need to challenge everyone," while Jean- Baptiste says, "I'm an intern in life. Everything is a bonus. Nothing is planned."
Noah Callahan-Bever is a hip-hop journalist working for Def Jam, where he monitors the label's message across digital and marketing platforms. He's also working on revamping the site's design and putting together a team to develop stories and videos for the artists on the roster, with whom he works side-by-side. "When 2 Chainz pulls off a marketing stunt, it's a big deal. When Kanye [West] touches his mouse pad, the whole world stops," says Callahan-Bever, "If we have a great idea and execute it at a high level, the result we get is unlike anything I've experienced in my career."
#Metoo-was HR Chief
Dasha Smith Dwin works in Sony's human resources department as executive vp/global chief of human resources, tasked with redefining the label's relationships with female employees. The arrival of Smith Dwin, an attorney specializing in the financial sector, is no accident, given the harassment allegations made against certain executives that have led to new corporate standards when it comes to sexual harassment and workplace bias, based on diversity and inclusion.
"My job is to make Latin music a global sensation": this is what Dusko Justic thinks, for ten years at Sony Latin Iberia and promoted to vp international marketing and partnerships after the international success of Enrique Iglesias in 2015 with the song "El Perdón" together with Nicky Jam. After starting by promoting Latin artists abroad, such as in Australia and the Philippines, Justic has worked on marketing strategies for big stars, as well as supported emerging artists. "The most important thing," says Justic, " is to understand the artists' DNA and what they want to accomplish globally."
Atlantic Records' Tom Mullen prepares today's hitmakers to become tomorrow's legends: vp marketing catalog, he's tasked with archiving the present for the future. "I'm responsible for the hits after they become hits," says Mullen, who three months into the job has also begun handling the launch of Atlantic's in-house podcast network, where he's also host of "What'd I Say," a live series in which he interviews roster talent. "It ties into my work with catalogs: the artist has one more thing to talk about, and Atlantic archives it for the future. And as an artist, you want that."