Earlier this month, Career Development’s Audio Team Manager Wheeler Newman and Music Production Advisor/Industry Outreach Representative Brian Wittmer left the cozy confines of the Full Sail Career Development department to brave the masses at the annual CMJ Music Marathon and AES convention on behalf of our students and graduates. I recently sat down with them both to get their take on this year’s happenings.
What is CMJ?
BW: College Music Journal is a music-review magazine. This convention/Music Marathon of theirs is about industry professionals looking to network with other industry professionals and also people wanting to get into the industry coming there to gain knowledge.
How did you end up at CMJ?
BW: Well, I’ve been there before. It’s just a great opportunity to have all facets of the music industry in one spot. You know, from upcoming music tech companies to artist managers, to labels, to publishers. I just felt like it was a great place to go and make [Full Sail’s] presence known.
Wheeler, you were invited to speak on one of the panels.
WN: Yes, the topic was music business-related career opportunities, paths and development. Good Cop PR, NYU, and Nielsen Music were on the panel as well.
How did it go?
WN: It went well, we had a packed room. I guess people heard about the jobs part [laughs] so it filled up fast. Brian had to stand in line to get in.
Who was in the audience?
WN: Students trying to get into the music industry, because it was held at NYU there in town. I heard a lot of the same kinds of questions that we get here. “Once I graduate, what do I need to focus on? What are the steps?” One good example offered was the fact that people are so used to texting now that they can’t write emails. They don’t write complete sentences. They don’t use punctuation or correct grammar. This comment came from Trudy Lartz of Nielsen Music. It made her very upset to see that.
What other panels were going on?
WN: All kinds. One thing I noticed was that every panel had some element of technology.
BW: Yes, in every single one there was a tech component. Whether it was a tech company presenting, or an A&R talking about how important social media is. There was some type of online/tech component in every panel.
WN: Out of the whole conference that was the biggest thing I took away. Everything music business related seemed to correlate with the Internet. It’s all tied in together; it’s all going that way.
A presence on the Internet, a web site, social media, is no longer optional.
BW: That’s right. If you don’t have an online presence and you are just getting established and people want to check you out, you are kind of out of sight out of mind. It’s a necessity. That goes for businesses and job seekers in entertainment.
Then there must be work out there for people who are good with new/social media?
BW: The majority of these companies are start-ups so they are running super lean and mean. But as these companies grow there will be a lot of room for employment.
WN: At Topspin Media, one of the things they want to see when you apply is a link to your Twitter, to your Blog, all of your social network stuff-to see what you have been doing.
BW: I think they want to see that you are connected, and that you are interested.
What else did you do while you were in New York City?
WN: One of the reasons we went at that time was because it corresponded with the annual Audio Engineering Society convention [AES]. So we were at the convention making as many connections as we could. We went to different parties and mixers at night, networking. Our focus was to make connections for Full Sail.
BW: We literally talked to hundreds of people.
WN: There was a SXSW gathering. Lots of recording studios, there are a lot of studios opening up now. The whole vibe at AES was that the recording industry was strong and that it was growing. They would say, “We are doing great, we are opening up this, we are building that, we are growing.”
BW: Yeah, I talked to a couple of people, like engineers, who said they’ve never been busier. So if they are busy, that means assistants are busy, that means there is a need.
WN: Studios are getting more creative to bring in business too. They are more visible. They offer more services.
Any final thoughts?
BW: Yes, everybody we talked to was receptive to the school. I think it was hugely successful.