Spotlight: Morgan Schaffner, Music Director of WXJM

MUSIC INDUSTRY SUBDIVISION: Radio, Management/Booking, Live Music (Venues) —

Working for Live Nation last summer, I remember hopping into a stranger’s car, cranking up the AC in the scorching summer heat, and embarking on an adventure to a Giant grocery store for more popcorn flavors. Morgan Schaffner was that stranger, an intern I only spoke with a few times, and right then I discovered just how easy it is to get to know other interns – they’re the very people who have that same burning passion for music as you do.

Granted, my friends love music, but Morgan was someone who had the same aspirations – as an incoming senior and music director of her college radio station, she was ready to fully embark on her journey into the music industry. For all you young hopefuls, here’s a personal look into a college student’s adventure into the industry.

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Who are the Masterminds Behind Hit Songs?

Often times the only thing accredited to a great song is the person singing it. You think of a group like Dave Matthews Band and the only person that people  know (except for big fans) is Dave Matthews, the lead singer and the man with his name in the band’s name. On iTunes, the top earning songs are from artists like Katy Perry and Maroon 5. But who is the person behind these songs played on the radio? Think of it like this – without the songwriter, these artists are simply macaroni without cheese, peanut butter without jelly, Simon without Garfunkel (let’s be serious, they were just so much better when they sang together), you catch my drift.

Take a look at this video shown to me (thanks, Ryan Anderson!) and learn about how we should really admire the talent of songwriters who are behind many of the songs we love.

Berklee College of Music’s FREE Online Music Industry Class

I’m back with another “Music Industry Book Club” recommendation for all of you! From a friend’s recommendation, I recently have fallen in love with a website called edX. This isn’t a typical book recommendation, but just a great resource for self-learning in topics that aren’t available to you – basically, the site serves as a medium so students can participate in free online classes in courses from some of the top universities (Harvard, MIT, Georgetown, Cornell, etc.).

But most importantly, you can take a course from the prestigious Berklee College of Music (!) called Introduction to Music Industry. The course actually started January 27th and is 6 weeks long, but they’ve only gone through the first lesson and you can catch up. Lesson 1 spanned the history of the music industry, detailing the progression from sheet music to piano rolls to radio to vinyl to cassettes – you catch my drift. For someone who has no access to music industry courses at my school, this is a gift sent from above. Lesson 2 is all about recording agreements and the specifics of 360 agreements, contracts, royalties, advances, etc. and the rest of the lessons follow the same pattern of giving a good overview of the music industry. Amazing, right?

Whether you’re a hopeful musician, producer, manager, publicist, or any other professional in the industry, this is essential knowledge. I cannot rave more about edX. I’ll tell you now that all of these courses are amazing – I don’t have the most diverse course load, but I have the opportunity to take interesting classes about the challenges of global poverty, the chemistry behind culinary art and cooking, the science of everyday thinking, and more. So all in all, join me in taking this music industry class – it’s well worth the few hours a week it takes!

Guide to Music Industry Internships: Part Two

And we’re back! The music industry is a lot bigger than you thought, right? Here are some more internship opportunities in live music entertainment, artist management, publicity, and television.

Again, for many of the places who only provide an e-mail, you should reach out to them about your interest as soon as possible so they can give you more information about deadlines, etc. Take note that the smaller boutique companies will not have specific applications up, so that’s where you need to take initiative and contact them about openings. That’s how I got my internship at Merge Records – they didn’t have anything posted on their website but I e-mailed them anyways, applied, and got hired! It wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t try contacting them – so there’s my two cents for you.

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Guide to Music Industry Internships: Part One

It’s the first month of the new year and you may be trying new things – eating healthier, exercising more, using your phone less, you catch my drift. One more thing to tack on your list of resolutions is being proactive and making sure your upcoming summer is productive.

To get you started, here’s a list of music industry internships in realms of independent record labels, major record labels, and music publications. For many of the places who only provide an e-mail, you should reach out to them about your interest as soon as possible so they can give you more information about deadlines, etc. Look out for another article on internships in artist management, publicity, live music entertainment, and television.

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Spotlight: 9:30 Club/Merriweather Post Pavilion PR, Audrey Fix Schaefer

MUSIC INDUSTRY SUBDIVISION: Publicity, Live Music (Venues) —

How do you go about telling the top live music club of its size that they’re missing something? That with your help…they could be even better?

Just ask Audrey Fix Schaefer, President of Schaefer + Co. Communications, who approached 9:30 Club, the #1 venue on Rolling Stone’s list of “The Best Big Rooms in America,” and said they should try public relations – and she could help them.

Naturally, they said no. Well, music venues never really used public relations and the 9:30 Club was no exception.

But now seven years later, things are a little different, as Schaefer currently has a roster of clients that includes not only the 9:30 Club, but Merriweather Post Pavilion, Sweetlife Festival, Pitchfork, and more. She indeed had something to offer – something that has proved to be a success to this day.

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2013 End of the Year Shenanigans

Just to give tribute the end of 2013, I thought I’d do some of my favorite albums and songs a little justice and have a “Year End List.” And I added some older music too that still encompassed my year, so here are a few sections:

Favorite 5 Albums Released in 2013 (and pick of the album)

  • Bob Dylan – The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 – Another Self Portrait (Alberta #3, Railroad Bill)
  • Mandolin Orange – This Side of Jordan (Turtle Dove & The Crow)
  • The Head and the Heart – Let’s Be Still (Gone)
  • Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg (Simple As This)
  • Mount Moriah – Miracle Temple (Younger Days)

Other Favorite Songs Released in 2013

  • Phosphorescent – Song for Zula
  • Neko Case – Night Still Comes
  • Mipso – When I’m Gone
  • Mikal Cronin – Peace of Mind
  • Bombadil – Angeline

And a shout out to some good old favorites to spark nostalgia from this year and some newfound ones that were’t released in 2013:

  • First Aid Kit – I Found A Way
  • Lake Street Dive – Let Me Roll It
  • The Band – Ophelia
  • Y La Bamba – Ponce Pilato
  • The Avett Brothers – Laundry Room
  • Hurray for the Riff Raff – Little Black Star
  • Shovels & Rope – Boxcar
  • alt-J – Breezeblocks

Well there you are, 2013! Lists take time but they’re worth it if you keep track of them and look back at old ones – they can directly trigger your brain to recall memories of that particular year, whether it was a song you sang with your friends on a road trip, an album that you listened to on repeat through the summer, or that song that reminds you of someone or sometime that was special. So make your lists, playlists, blog posts, etc. and get that crumb trail going so you can trace back those memories that are most potently expressed through a song. Best to you and happy almost new year!