Advice from #WWUPopMIC

Yesterday, I attended the 3rd annual Pop Music Industry Conference at Western Washington University (#WWUPopMIC). It was an absolutely amazing experience – the panelists were well-prepared and did a great job of explaining the ins and outs of the industry. Below are prominent quotes and pieces of advice from the panels I attended. Special thanks to AS Productions!

Keynote presentation: B.J. Olin

“There is no barrier of entry to the music industry.”

“Develop relationships with people regardless because you never know where they are going to end up.”

Meet with people without an agenda.

“If you want to know what’s in someone’s brain, take them to lunch.”

In the beginning of your career, work to learn, not to earn.

“The best time to sign to a label is when you do not need one.”

Favorite aspect of management: Developing an artist through connecting them with the right people and experiences.

Panel, Getting the Word Out: Amalia Martino, Austin Santiago and Meli Darby

The difference between marketing and public relations: Marketing speaks directly to the consumer and pushes product whereas public relations reaches consumers through media and explains the story or brand of an artist, event, etc.

PR: Promote different stories (angles) regarding the artist you are promoting.

-Know what else is happening at the time of an event – research, research, research!
-“Give away five tickets to the people that will promote you or your band the most.” Austin Santiago

Social Media: Establish your brand’s personality and leverage Twitter to engage with you audience by posting personal content that your fans can connect with.

Responding to Negative Press: DO NOT ignore it; address it and create solutions.

Panel, Risky Business: Meli Darby, Hunter Motto, Katie Brogan, and Austin Santiago

Approaching a Talent Buyer: Give concise information such as how many people you can draw into an event, a link to your most relevant webpage, the previous venues played, other artists you have collaborated with, and other talent buyers you worked with.

To the artist:
“Don’t expect to get paid if you do not discuss it beforehand.”
“Don’t overplay your market!”

Panel, Rising Above the Rest: Chris Burlingame, Nikki Benson, and Travis Hay

“Content is king.”

“You know you’re on it if you are already publishing a story when receive a press release for it.” Nikki Benson

Do not write anything that you are not willing to defend.” Travis Hay

When submitting music for review, be sure to send a track that is engaging within the first 15-20 seconds.

Exit Panel, Getting Your In: Meli Darby, B.J. Olin, Chris Porter, Tristan Carosino

What do you look for in an intern?
-Quick learner and not afraid to make mistakes but never makes the same one twice.
-Detail oriented, communicative, strong verbal and writing skills

For an interview:
-Be able to communicate what you want within the business or industry.
-Be able to answer “What’s your ultimate career goal?”
-Research and know the company.

“Don’t say yes to everything; be honest about your workload.”

If you want to learn a skill or trade, do it!

Anything I missed? Comment below on your favorite quotes or tips from the conference!


2 thoughts on “Advice from #WWUPopMIC

  1. These are awesome tips! These are some of my favorites.

    BJ Olin – keynote:

    – Fans are A.D.D. – you can’t stop the momentum or else they’ll forget who you are

    – Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

    – Fans want to hear personal stories

    Getting the Word Out: PR and Marketing

    – Amalia Martino – you have to know EVERYTHING, not just about the specific show

    – incorporate these details into the PR campaign – allows fans to connect

    – “create small stories around the main story”

    – Use social media as a way to interact – something different – be creative

    Risky Business: Booking and Promotions

    – Personalize your emails

    – Putting out tons of information isn’t the most effective, the information must be targeted


    – Never assume!

    – Be proactive in meeting people

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