by: Allison Lawrence
On Thursday, October 15, approximately 35 University of North Alabama students of the Department of Entertainment Industry traveled to Nashville for a two day networking event with music industry professionals. The trip was coordinated and sponsored by UNA’s student chapter of MEISA, the Music and Entertainment Industry Student Association.
“There were lots of details to take into consideration and it got hectic at times. But the students were very cooperative and our professors connected us with some amazing industry professionals. It was definitely worth all the work,” UNA MEISA president, Addy Kimbrell said.
On Thursday, Bart Herbison at Nashville Songwriters Association International hosted three panels for students. Their first speaker was Blake McDaniel of Creative Artists Agency. He’s a UNA alumni and works in booking tours. One piece of advice students took away from McDaniel was that there are “many rabbit holes” to jump down and explore in the music industry. Working for CAA has given McDaniel the chance to explore some of those holes while also staying in the booking world.
The two other sessions covered topic of song plugging, promoting radio airplay for artists’ singles, working for a label and music publicity. Rusty Sherrill from Sony Records Nashville spoke about the process of getting and pushing radio play on songs. He was joined by Ed Williams from Sony/ATV Music Publishing. They helped give the students a visual of how song plugging and publishing is linked but also its own world from the record label.
The last Thursday panel featured two UNA alumni from the recent years. Jon McCoy from New Frontier Touring and Emily Davis of Kaleidoscope Media showed that you can get a job in the music industry fresh out of college. It may require a lot of hard work and perseverance but is possible.
The Friday session was held at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. The speakers all worked for different parts of the company and spoke on artist development and getting brand sponsorship for artists. The big take away from that session came from Michael Jasper. He said “Be a fan of music first.”
The final part of the trip included a tour of Bridgestone Arena by Bill Steele. The arena hosts hockey games, the circus and concert events to name a few.
Majoring in entertainment industry business or technology may seem scary. “Will I be able to get a job?” is probably what most students think. But the industry is changing everyday. The significant impact of the Internet on the industry has opened even more doorways for all aspects of the music industry. There are many routes to take to work in the business. From booking tours, to managing, publishing, artist development, radio promotions, working at and running a venue, entertainment law, and more…there is a place for you in the industry. The professionals from these various panels showed that. The industry is multifaceted and dynamic.