Over the last two months, I’ve published a series of blog posts discussing the three key elements of my current career plan, which, as an aspiring social media marketer and event manager in the music industry, consists of running my own music blog, frequently volunteering at live music events, and interning with marketing and PR agencies.
These blog posts have allowed me to reflect on the initial purpose of undertaking each strategy, the contributions they have made towards the achievement of my goal, and the continued relevance of these strategies in the current entertainment landscape. My blog posts have also opened up feedback loops with both aspiring and established industry professionals who have offered their guidance and shared their own journeys in response. These insights, hence, have collectively encouraged me to re-evaluate elements of my existing career plan in order to maintain a competitive advantage and best position myself to achieve my goal within the next two-to-three years.
As each of my three blog posts have covered the purpose and justification of each strategy in-depth already, I specifically want to focus this discussion on how I plan to utilise these strategies in future, while introducing new elements that I have since identified as being extremely relevant in the years to come.
As my music blog has had the biggest impact on my career plan since beginning my digital artefact (spoiler alert), I’ve chosen to discuss this one last, and, instead, want to begin with the second instalment, being the importance of volunteering at live music events.
At the time of writing my blog post, I had just volunteered at Wollongong’s Yours & Owls Festival where I was informed that I’m now eligible to undertake future paid positions. This is a common process at a lot of festivals, where, once you have volunteered and clearly demonstrated your reliability and commitment to the task at hand, you can be offered paid positions in future years, often in a range of higher duties. As I had volunteered at a handful of events throughout 2019, I would have had the opportunity to undertake paid work experience in 2020, however, as we all know, the majority of these did not go ahead and were either cancelled or postponed. Irrespective of this setback, the opportunity still remains for future events, and will allow me to network with a higher tier of employees with whom I will seek to further advance my career. Building these valuable industry connections also opens the door for additional opportunities like mentorships and internships, which can provide an insight into the internal processes and tasks that ultimately produce the final product.
A common theme across each of my blog posts was the lack of written feedback beyond that of my peers, however, I did receive plenty of verbal feedback from friends and family, my existing network, and industry professionals I had the pleasure of meeting only after beginning this project. In response to my volunteering efforts, I was frequently told that this is one of the best things I could be doing for myself at my current stage as, at a minimum, it will allow me to develop connections with others in the industry. It’s no surprise that in competitive industries such as this, it largely comes down to who you know, and so building up your network early on is crucial in establishing a name and reputation for yourself.
Moving forward, I still definitely intend on continuing with my volunteer work due to the value I’ve already derived from it, in addition to my genuine enjoyment of the activity. However, I do hope to complement this with paid industry experience within the next year, which obviously will reflect better on my resume while moving me one step closer towards an opportunity to work internally with these organisations.
The third blog instalment, and the second element I will discuss, focused on the value of internships – specifically, internships outside of the entertainment industry. Although my ultimate goal is to work in the music industry, the skills needed to succeed in marketing and event management are largely applicable across most fields, rather than being industry-specific. Of course, while there will certainly be minor elements that are specific to the music industry, skills such as time management, written and verbal communication, creative vision, management and digital marketing are extremely transferable in nature and crucial to the success of any event – not exclusively live music production. As such, these opportunities can be equally as valuable in my career journey, and are much easier to obtain than if I were specifically seeking entertainment experience.
Similar to the responses received regarding my volunteering experience, the feedback shared in response to my current internship was largely positive, with many commending me on my successful application and acknowledging the skills I would obtain throughout the course of the program. None of the individuals I spoke with opposed the idea of experience outside of my ideal industry, largely referring to the points I’ve already discussed. However, they did occasionally encourage seeking specific entertainment-related roles in addition to my current marketing internship in order to further broaden my experience.
I certainly agree that a combination of the two would be ideal as I would be able to work on building my skills while being exposed to the full scope of operations that result in the successful production of an event. So, after much consideration and further research into the positions currently available for someone of my experience and education, I have decided upon seeking a secondary marketing internship to complete during the earlier half of next semester, followed by an industry-specific role in the latter half, as more industry positions will become available as we move into warmer seasons. By completing a second general internship prior to my industry-specific one, I will be able to further develop my skills, showcase greater experience and offer stronger references which, collectively, will likely have a significant impact on the success of my position applications.
As I mentioned, the first instalment of my blog series explored Listen Loud and was responsible for the greatest impacts on my career plan since beginning this project. As such, I want to begin with some context on how I ended up in my current position working with Shellharbour City Council, which I briefly introduced during my third blog instalment.
Listen Loud is the name of the music blog I launched mid-last year following the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. Originally, this began as a way for me to network with key figures in the music industry while publicly demonstrating my digital skills, however, it recently surpassed its blog status to include event production and promotion, inclusive of its own line of merchandise. Although I had considered launching a personal blog prior to the pandemic, I never got around to it due to my heavy workload and lack of consistent free time. However, due to a reduction in my working hours and the beginning of the 2019 mid-year break – in addition to the recognition that many artists would be unable to travel or perform and, hence, would likely be more willing to spare a few minutes of their time to chatting with me to promote their existing work – I felt this was the perfect opportunity to produce a blog and kickstart my career.
In December of last year, I participated in the Shellharbour City Youth Festival where I ran a Listen Loud stall to promote my work and fundraise for future initiatives. Through this event, I met a number of individuals already working in entertainment business who advised me of relevant upcoming opportunities that would aid the progression of my career, one of these being the Evolve Program. According to their website, the Evolve Program is a “development opportunity for young people living in the Illawarra who are passionate about producing creative events in their local community”. Specifically, it focuses on enabling participants to acquire new skills and gain experience while opening pathways to employment.
On the third of May, I received my acceptance letter into the program, and have since been working alongside the council to produce my very first Listen Loud event exclusively featuring bands I initially got in contact with through my blog! It’s so exciting to see everything come full circle, and feels so good to be able to give back to the bands who have supported me in my journey so far. Participating in this program is also a massive step towards reaching my career goal, and has introduced me to a number of local industry professionals and resources to support me further.
Of my three blog instalments, the feedback received regarding Listen Loud was by far the most positive and encouraging, with every single person I have spoken to commenting on how impressive of a portfolio I’ve built. Between demonstrating a large range of soft and hard skills, promoting networking opportunities, and now incorporating an event production element, I feel extremely confident in my competitive positioning amongst other prospective employees in future roles I plan to undertake. By consolidating all of my work under a single brand, I have also contributed to building a strong reputation that I hope will soon be known by an increasing number of people in my local community and beyond.
Journalism was never my passion, but rather, a means to grow my brand. Hence, I have no current plans to continue running interviews moving forward, and will instead focus all of my attention on producing more local events to rebrand Listen Loud as an event production and promotion source first. I already have countless ideas for future events that I think will prove popular with the community, however, if you have any suggestions of events you’d love to see across the Illawarra, I would absolutely love to hear them!
THE FUTURE OF ENTERTAINMENT
Lastly, I think it’s really important to touch on the future of entertainment, particularly, live music. While my new career plan is definitely appropriate based on the current industry landscape, the music and entertainment industry, in general, is extremely susceptible to changes in the environment, most recently as a result of COVID-19. As such, it’s important to be aware of and consider how the industry is already changing and may change in the future.
For the most recent Future Cultures assessment task, two of the three peer beta submissions I evaluated discussed the future of the music industry in regards to the rise of live-streaming and the incorporation of virtual reality. These are two areas I think are incredibly important moving forward, which will massively change the music landscape over the next few years.
Live-streaming took off incredibly fast following the onset of the pandemic as artists were unable to physically tour but still wanted an avenue through which to share their music with fans. Now, even though many restrictions have eased and artists all over the world are returning to live performances, live-streaming continues to be used both as a safeguard and to allow a greater number of people to participate in events without the need of being physically present. While live-streaming technologies have been around since the mid-1990s, their recent use within the music industry has been revolutionary, allowing so many more people to engage than ever before. Consider the sick and elderly who are unable to leave their homes, or those families who live so far from any major cities that it’s virtually impossible for them to travel for such an event. For fans of small artists who never tour outside of their home country, and those of major performers who sell out shows and leave hundreds or even thousands of fans disappointed that they couldn’t score themselves tickets due to venue capacity limits.
Live-streaming is an incredible innovation that invites so many more people to experience the joy of live music beyond the physical barriers that often hinder attendance. For this reason, one of the most exciting features of my upcoming Listen Loud production is the fact that it will be live-streamed to allow fans of the participating bands and live music in general to participate virtually. Of all the background research I’ve conducted throughout the duration of this project, it’s clear that live-streaming is here to stay, and so, familiarising myself with the process and equipment involved early on will allow me to stay ahead of the game as I continue my journey to becoming a social media marketer and event manager.
On a similar note, the considerably more impressive integration of virtual reality with live music has also recently taken off, allowing viewers to immerse themselves in a live performance from the comfort of their homes with merely a VR headset. This is clearly at least slightly less accessible to the masses as relatively few people own virtual reality technologies compared to a smartphone, tablet or computer, though demand and ownership of these devices are projected to increase exponentially by 2027.
While these are just two of many predictions on the future of the music and entertainment industry, they offer an extremely interesting insight into what the future of live music may look like in the near future. Perhaps further down the track, artists will be able to deliver multiple performances at once across the globe through the use of holograms, or maybe VR technology will advance beyond the need for headsets to deliver a more realistic experience from the home.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.