If you haven’t already, read my Digital Artefact Pitch here.
For BCM 325 Future Networks, I wanted to focus my digital artefact on a topic that was not only interesting to myself, but one that I could utilise to further my career as an aspiring event manager and social media marketer in the music industry. As the digital artefact had to incorporate the concept of the future in relation to the subject’s lecture content, it took quite a bit of time to settle on a topic that fit the assessment brief while contributing to my future career ambitions, but finally, I came up with the idea of exploring the probable, possible and preferable futures of me.
In essence, my digital artefact is an exploration into my current career plan based on prior research and experience, where I will invite readers to offer their own insights, feedback and suggestions that will be taken onboard in producing the final version of my career plan over the next five years. Initially, I will spend time highlighting my current progress in the achievement of my career goal with justification from primary and secondary sources, before concluding with an audio piece discussing the next steps required to ultimately secure a position in the music industry in an event management and social media marketing capacity.
Let’s start at the beginning…
Mid last year, shortly following on from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, transition to remote learning and cancellation of all entertainment events, I began reflecting on the way in which I spend my time. Unsurprisingly, as a full-time university student, the majority of this was directly or indirectly related to my university studies, multiple casual jobs and frequent volunteering. Outside of this, however, my time was largely spent travelling and attending concerts and festivals – both of which are quite hard to do during a pandemic. Because of this, I found myself with much more free time than I was ever used to, but not many things to occupy it with, until one day, early in the midsession break, I woke up with an incredible urge to start a music blog. It would be the perfect way to demonstrate my copywriting, social media and digital marketing skills, which I could then utilise as a portfolio for future job applications while independently kickstarting my career. Particularly due to the competitive nature of the industry, an asset like this would be a great way of differentiating myself from others applying for the same positions, so I was extremely eager to get started then and there.
Though it seemed like a spontaneous decision at the time, I had been volunteering with a lot of music events and companies since 2019, and had already started looking for internship positions with key players in the industry such as Universal Music, Warner Music and Fuelled By Ramen (which will be explored more in later blog posts!). I’d also read countless blogs and job postings to familiarise myself with the skills, experience and qualities needed to succeed in the industry, and even considered extending my studies by completing a second, more focused degree or certification with JMC Academy or SAE Institute. From all of this research, I uncovered a few key lessons that ultimately underpinned my blog:
- Just start. “Don’t wait to do the thing. Especially don’t wait to be asked to do the thing. Do the thing.” No matter how bad your first blog post may sound, or how poor the video/audio quality is of your first few interviews, each new piece will make you one step closer to producing label-worthy content. As the idiom goes, practice makes perfect.
- Be active on social media. Find your audience and help them find you. Engage with everyone.
- Network, network, network. Reach out to everyone you can. Make friends. While nine times out of ten you won’t get a response, you’ve got nothing to lose.
- Choose your niche. There are so many different entertainment business career options, each with their own set of skills, duties and expectations. Do your research and decide which area you want to focus on, and then tailor your content creation around practising the skills needed for your particular niche.
With all this in mind, I spent the entire first day developing my brand – what I eventually chose to name Listen Loud (I actually only decided on the name after designing the logo!). I watched a thousand website development tutorials, designed my logo and brand graphics, sent a dozen emails to local bands, and set up my Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter pages. To my surprise, I actually received a lot of interest from the local community, and within a few days, I had published my first piece on Texas-based trio Waterparks and set up an interview with Wollongong-based Lizzie Jack and the Beanstalks.
Having never previously filmed myself for a YouTube video or conducted an interview, I was extremely nervous in the lead up to the day (as I’m sure you can tell in the video below). I did, however, learn a lot from the initial experience which I was able to reflect on in future interviews, and in the ten months since my first attempt, I feel as though the overall quality has increased substantially. While there’s clearly still room for many more improvements in my delivery and audiovisual quality, you can check out the progress from my first interview with Lizzie Jack and the Beanstalks in July to my interview with Novus in September below.
As my interviews with local bands began improving and my social profiles started attracting a larger audience, I began receiving messages from international bands interested in interviews (see Lvvrs and Dacian Miron), as well as a number of local and international PR companies interested in adding me to their media lists (including Collision Course and Big Picture Media!). Shortly after, this also led to an opportunity to be interviewed on SWR Triple 9 FM’s The Musos Show in August, where I was able to talk about the work I was doing and where I hoped to end up in years’ time. While this was extremely exciting for me, particularly being so early on in my journey, the biggest benefit of my work at the time had been all the networking opportunities that had opened up as a result.
Though I hadn’t yet mastered any of the elements involved in my blog, which had become a full-time job in and of itself, I also decided to release a range of Listen Loud merchandise to boost exposure and awareness of my brand, first through Redbubble, and then both in person and through my social media accounts after having bulk ordered a range of basic items, including tote bags, wristbands, stickers and badges (get in touch if you’d like to order any super affordable merch!). With my own Listen Loud store now, too, I was then invited to participate at the Shellharbour City Youth Festival in early December where I ran my own stall to promote my music blog.
Immediately following the Shellharbour City Youth Festival, however, my family moved homes and I was without internet nor an area to host my interviews for an extended period of time. By the time these issues were resolved, I had returned to full-time study for my final year of my degree, with a part-time internship and multiple jobs consuming all of my remaining free time. As such, I’ve temporarily taken a step back from my blog until I am in a position to resume my interviews and dedicate the time necessary to producing content I’m proud of that showcases how far I have come since July last year. While this may sound like the potential end of Listen Loud, I can assure you, this is only just the beginning.
Be sure to follow my blog through the email box below and my twitter @taylorsumelj to stay updated on the rest of my digital artefact series! If you’ve read this far, let me know your thoughts on this first instalment below!