1. Success is such a personal concept – we all see and define it differently. How did you personally define your success?
I listened to a talk given by Laura Thompson of Google Ventures at the beginning of the year, and one piece of advice that she gave was that “if you’re not pants on fire excited about something, don’t do it.” For some reason that really stuck with me and, since then, it has been how I define success. If I’m able to get up every morning and do work that gets me “pants on fire excited” while paying the bills, then all is well. I believe that the reason why something may be “pants on fire exciting” to me is how much I am learning from the task, work, or experience. The bottom line is if I’m constantly learning then I would consider myself successful.
2. What advice would you give women who want to enter your side of the industry - What are your top three tips?
The first and most important piece of advice is just show up. Go to that networking event that you were planning on blowing off. Don’t cancel your coffee meeting because it’s easier not to go. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable in a lot of situations. Most of the time when you don’t feel like doing something the best connections can be made.
Second is a piece of advice one of my mentors gave to me nearly 6 years ago: “NO - stands for NEW OPPORTUNITY.” I don’t need to tell anyone that rejection isn’t enjoyable, but to me, it means the next opportunity will be better.
Third, be persistent. Don't worry about being perceived as annoying, aggressive, weird, or overbearing - when you “annoy” the right person, they’ll see it as persistence - and that’s where magic can happen.
3. How have the personal and professional experiences in your life contributed to your success today?
Freshman year of college I found myself at the Delaware College of Art and Design in Wilmington, DE.
My photography instructor, Ron Brignac, told us to go out and "shoot" whatever we wanted. For the first assignment, I decided to take portraits of the people in the new city I was living in. I hit the streets with two other students, asking every person that we saw if we could take their photo. Common responses were, “no,” “absolutely not,” “you’ve got to be kidding me,” and most popular, “are you the police?”
We were about to give up and go shoot something else when we heard, “Yo, yo ladies! Wanna take my picture?” "Finally," I thought, "Someone wants me to take their picture; this is great!" I approached the boy, who looked a bit younger than me at the time, 16 or 17. I raised my fully manual black and white film camera to my face, adjusted all of the settings, zoomed in, and took a portrait of his face. As I was adjusting to zoom back out, I saw movement outside of the frame. As I lowered the camera he lifted his shirt, revealing two pistols tucked inside of his boxer shorts.
The other two students I was with sprinted away. I stood there, he asked if I wanted to take another photograph, gave me daps, and let me walk away. It wasn’t until I rounded the corner that I ran back to my dorm. What had just happened? The guns themselves didn't bother me as much as the fact that a kid, nearly my age, felt the need to have them.
From that day forward I spent every weekend in Chinatown, Philadelphia photographing and learning the stories of the homeless people who resided there. Through these stories I realized that I couldn’t be a photographer - I needed to use art as a vehicle for change. The stories behind the images were more important to me than the photograph.
I made the decision to leave art school and ended up transferring to Bryant University, which is primarily a business school, but chose to study anthropology.
The music industry is the one place where I believe business, art and anthropology blend together.
Photography for me was about interpersonal relationships - meeting and connecting with people, learning about their backgrounds and then sharing their story.
I founded the company Level Exchange and every day I get to travel, meet new people, learn their stories and make connections. Music is an international language that is used to get the world talking.
Level Exchange exists to create equal exchanges between art and business.
4. Can you share with us some of the challenges you’ve faced?
Since I went to school for anthropology and decided I wanted to get into the music industry only after booking a few shows in a foreign country during a semester abroad, I think it’s safe to say I got a late start. It was a blessing and a curse to know nothing about the industry I decided to dive into. I say that because knowing nothing allowed me to be excited about every encounter, constantly ask questions and not be afraid about doing the “wrong” thing, because I didn’t know what the “right” thing was either.
During the Summer of 2014 I found out that George Watsky was going to be performing at House of Blues in Boston, so I cold emailed his manager (I won’t admit how many times), Kevin Morrow. Until that point in my life I thought I wanted to be a photographer, so I had decided my foot in the door was to ask to take photos at the show. In all of the internet stalking/cold emailing I had done previously I always made sure to do my background research, but for some reason I did not and made the assumption that since Watsky was a young guy, his manager was some other cool, young guy.
Dozens of unreturned emails later, I received a phone call: “Is this Lindsey?” “Yes…” “This is Kevin Morrow, Watsky’s manager. I received your emails and figured you weren’t going to stop, so what the f*ck do you want?”
I had no idea what I wanted, so instead I listened to him explain to me that he’s not some young guy - he was Senior Vice President of Tours & Talent and Senior Vice President of Club and Theatre Programming of House of Blues Entertainment and was VP of Touring for Live Nation for years before launching his new company, Steel Wool Entertainment. The rest of our hour long conversation revolved around stories of when he missed out on Gwen Stefani and all the times that he’s gotten to work with Eminem and BB King.
A year later I still had nothing to ask of him, but had gone to Los Angeles to visit a friend and decided to show up at his office. I explained to him that I’d been working on building a music scene in Providence, RI and would love his opinion. Surprisingly, he offered advice, but could care less about Providence and told me when I decided to stay in LA that I could be his assistant.
Another year and a half passed and I got another phone call, this time a bit more pleasant: “Lerner, I got a gig for you. Want to work with George?” “Of course.” “Okay, don’t screw up.” He then hung up the phone.
Long story, not so short - for the last year I’ve been working with George as brainstorm partner and executing on all of the crazy ideas he’s come up with. I’m currently on Van’s Warped Tour with George and the incredible musicians that are part of his band.
Every day is a new challenge, but it is also a learning experience and that’s the only way to get better.
5. What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned?
You get out what you put in.
6. What do you think is the most pressing issue women in the music industry face in your region?
Rhode Island does not have a music industry, which is one of the many reasons why Level Exchange exists. What we do have is a music community and the raw materials necessary to incubate an industry, but the puzzle pieces have yet to be put together.
Our team at Level Exchange is primarily male, but the ratio of males to females within the group of musicians we work with is approximately 50/50. I never fully understood how skewed the ratio was within the industry worldwide until I attended Midem in June. It opened my eyes to how few women were really actively involved in the industry, and how few had decision making power.
As we grow Level Exchange we have full intentions to ensure gender equality across the board. The advantage of being in Rhode Island and building an industry from the ground up is that we are choosing equality as one of our initial building blocks, so it will always be at our foundation.
7. Who inspires you, and why?
I am constantly inspired by the incredible musicians I get to work with and the other people that work out of my co-working space at the Social Enterprise Greenhouse in Providence, RI. SEG is a space where everyone is encouraged to interact regardless of background, industry or age. Their accelerator programs focus on several different verticals which allow a lot of room for learning from different perspectives.
Being constantly challenged and engaged in conversation with leaders across health and wellness, environment, entertainment and government has been amazing when forming new ideas. It’s inspiring to hear how all of these different people and industries have solved problems in their fields and then find a connection back to the problems Level Exchange is working on solving.
8. What do you look forward to accomplishing at Level Exchange in the next year?
During the next year we plan on expanding our content studio into the Isle Brewer’s Guild in Pawtucket, RI.
The Guild is more than just a brewery - they work with established mid to large-size craft breweries looking to expand their capacity, sales and distribution. Beyond that, they’re a community of likeminded people coming together to assist other people in their field to learn and grow. They’re doing for other craft brewers what we want to do for musicians. And it just so happens that they need entertainment, which we can provide, and we need a bigger space for our studio, which they can provide.
Our goal will be to expand into their compound among other businesses that will also be moving in, including a coffee shop, bike share and other retail operations. This will allow us to grow and increase awareness of the music and artistic talent that exists in Rhode Island. By combining our local bands, brands and fans, we believe we can make the impact we’ve set out to have.
9. Tell us more about how you got involved in Level Exchange? What is your ultimate goal and what do you need to take it to the next level?
After a semester abroad in Chile, where I met a hip hop artist studying abroad in the same program, I returned to the U.S with my first management client. We thought that we were going to be able to easily book shows and gain fans like we had abroad, but were in for a rude awakening. When we booked shows in South America we were met with open arms and fans that truly appreciated the value of music, but when booking in the U.S our eyes were opened up to the system of “pay to play.”
I began talking to other musicians who told me that this was something they regularly did in order to play shows in their local scenes. This was absolutely ridiculous to me because the musicians were the ones bringing in people to the venues, they shouldn’t be the ones paying!
After interviewing and working with hundreds of musicians I realized that this wasn’t just a local problem, but an industry problem. This is really what inspired me to start Level Exchange to be able to bring fair trade principles to the music industry. Our goal is to level the playing field between music artists and their consumers. We believe we can do this beginning with our content creation studio. Please check out this video created by Fumetti Media, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZiKVfByJVI&feature=youtu.be
In order to continue with this mission we will need the help of as many industry leaders as possible to set a new tone for what our industry could be. In addition to our for-profit arm, we are also a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas that allows us to accept donations. This page can be viewed here: https://www.fracturedatlas.org/site/fiscal/profile?id=15855
HELP MUSICIANS UK ANNOUNCE GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP WITH WOMEN IN MUSIC
Help Musicians UK (HMUK), the leading independent music charity in the UK has announced a partnership with Women in Music (WIM), the global non-profit organisation founded to support and empower women in the music industry.
This ground-breaking partnership launches WIM’s first European chapters entitled Women in Music Great Britain and Women in Music Northern Ireland. This will further establish Help Musicians UK’s commitment to promoting gender equality in the UK music industry after their recent high profile work with the UN Fund for Women’s HeForShe campaign.
Women in Music Great Britain and Women in Music Northern Ireland will aim to represent all women in the UK music industry. Any woman or man who works in the industry can join, from students to seasoned industry veterans — and from all genres and areas of expertise. Members will enjoy benefits such as:
Membership will initially be administered by Women in Music via WIM@helpmusicians.org.uk but will be completely free in the first year – ensuring a truly universal opportunity.
The announcement was made at a private brunch, panel and networking event at MIDEM hosted by Women in Music, where Christine Brown, Director Of External Affairs & Director Of Northern Ireland at HMUK spoke on a panel, announcing the partnership. The panel was moderates by Jennifer Newman Sharpe (Vice President, Women In Music/ CEO Sparkplug) and featured Vanessa Picken (Director, Comes With Fries), Virginie Berge (CEO, Armonia Online), and Jessica Sobhraj (President, Women in Music / CEO, Cosynd). Collectively, the presentation provided an overview of the challenges faced by women globally as well as the proven solutions and resources that can be implemented by the attendees to improve conditions for women worldwide. The event was supported by Help Musicians UK, and sponsored by Fox Rothschild LLP, Armonia Online, ASCAP, Cosynd, Sparkplug, and Quiv.
Richard Robinson, Chief Executive of Help Musicians said, “Help Musicians UK (HMUK) is privaledged to partner with Women in Music (WIM) to launch the very first European chapters of the organisation. As an independent voice, the charity advocates on behalf of all individuals and groups within the music industry, supporting an eco-system that attracts and provides opportunities to people from all walks of life and backgrounds. Working with WIM on such an important issue enables us, as an industry, to continue to question, have conversations, discuss and raise awareness of gender equality - working in tandem to address this imbalance.”
Christine Brown, Director of External Affairs at HMUK added, “As a female senior executive in the UK music industry I am part of the next generation. It has always been my goal to act as a catalyst and to raise awareness whilst empowering other women in music. It is important that we recognise the real worth of this growing movement and act collaboratively – as it is only together that we can effect positive change.”
Notes for editors
We had a pleasure of chatting with amazing Michelle Golden, who is currently on a mission to promote and organize events on behalf of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music in New York to engage the talent and help it bring the creativity to a whole new level.
Success is such a personal concept – we all see and define it differently. How did you personally define your success?
To me, success means impact. When I think of success - whether it’s on a personal or professional level - I think about if I made a positive impact on someone else’s life or even someone’s day. Did I open a door for someone and provide opportunity?
What advice would you give women who want to enter your side of the industry - What are your top three tips?
There are days you’re going to compare yourself to everyone else, from a family member to the person at your job getting a promotion to the person who seems to have it all “figured out” on Instagram. Tip #1: Train your mind and re-frame thinking. Tip #2: If you’re passionate about something – anything – let that shine through in all you do. Whether that’s at work, a side hustle, or in your everyday life, tell your story and declare your ‘it’ factor. Tip #3: Don’t be afraid of falling short of meeting expectations. We’re taught to “succeed” and “make it big” and we often forget that we’re all humans and we’re not always going to get it “right” the first, second, or third time. Society puts so much attention on succeeding, so when we don’t meet expectations, we often think this means failure. And you know - that’s okay, too.
How have the personal and professional experiences in your life contributed to your success today?
I did thirteen internships back in the day - sometimes two internships at a time. I commuted from Boston to New York on a Megabus 4.5 hours each way to intern at Cosmopolitan Magazine. I did free work for many, many years. I was designing decks left and right for executives and artists I dreamt of one day meeting. Even though my dad was incredibly supportive, I also made sure to work. From the Cutler Majestic Theater and Dunkin Donuts in Boston, to Subway in New London, CT, to Oh Boy Diner just near the subbase in Groton, I worked. I learned early on the importance of working hard. Giving your all is important. Success is defined differently for everyone, but I’ve been able to meet a lot of people along the way who have taught me the importance of working hard and carving your own path.
Can you share with us some of the challenges you’ve faced?
The biggest challenge I’ve experienced is knowing my value. Imposter syndrome – it’s a thing. It’s only when I left a company that I realized I actually DID provide value, I DID do enough, and I DID give my all. Whether that’s recognized or not is another issue.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned?
Standing up for yourself is very hard. It’s hard when you’ve spent your life never doing so and thinking other people will bat for you. It’s a tough lesson to learn but once you know, you know. Think you’re worth more? Ask for that raise. Throw out a number. Do your research. Write out notes. Practice having that conversation with your best friend on Facetime. But stand up for yourself. No one will write you that check out of the goodness of their heart.
What do you think is the most pressing issue women in the music industry face in your region?
I think the most pressing issue everyone is facing is feeling like it’s okay to have a voice. Funny how in the music industry, the voice is our biggest asset. Across the nation, across the world, we all have to come together – no matter who we are or what we look like or where we’re from – let’s use our art, our voice, our creative, to make some much-needed change.
Who inspires you, and why?
My dad inspires me. He had to play the role of two parents and when you’re talking about raising girls… that can definitely be a tough one! Jokes aside, his father (my grandfather) escaped Lithuania the night before the Nazis invaded during World War II. My dad was born in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. He went to the University of Cape Town and eventually spent a few years in Israel working (where I took my first breath of air) then brought the family to the United States. Here he built his own business and for 30 years has kept it up and running, serving the Southeastern CT community. After a tumultuous divorce, he still kept his head up and encouraged us to fight the good fight with grace, kindness, and love. “Be a mensch,” he always told me during the car ride cross the Niantic Bridge to high school. It means to be a good person, be courteous, be considerate. Be a good citizen.
Family aside – my best friend inspires me. When we had just entered the sixth grade, we were all standing with our fresh textbooks, no cellphones in hand during that time, and hefty backpacks dragging us down. I remember she had her initials embroidered on an LL Bean backpack as she declared she was going to Harvard. I was this little Raggedy Ann doll wearing my Harry Potter glasses wondering who this kid was who thought she was going to Harvard. I hardly knew what after-school activity I would attempt that year, let alone what school I was going to in 8 years. We hadn’t even completed middle school! But from that moment, I wanted to be just like her. She inspires me because she’s always been the exception. When odds weren’t in her favor, she always pushed through. She interviewed Michelle freakin’ Obama – on TV! Her career path has been linear in that she knew from day one what she wanted to do, and she’s done it all. I’m proud of her and everything she’s done – so if I can be a quarter of what she is, I think I’m doing something right.
What do you look forward to accomplishing at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music in the next year?
I recently transitioned positions and am now spearheading events on behalf of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music here in New York. I’m really excited about this role because my passion is building experiences for youth and empowering the next generation through music. In this position, I am a part of reshaping the conversation of leadership and success from inside one of the most established music institutions in the country – let alone the world. That to me is how we create greater change and instigate conversation.
Tell us more about how you got involved in the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music? What is your ultimate goal and what do you need to take it to the next level?
In April 2017, ProjectNextUp (an initiative I co-founded) hosted HEROES (HER Original Empowering Stories) at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. We were working with an incredibly passionate events lead at CDI and when I heard she was transitioning positions, we had the conversation. I think it’s always important to be a student and this program is really an incubator of talent. I want to bring in people, artists, and companies who are breaking the mold. These students are the future of the industry, but most importantly, of the world. Within these corridors, you’ve got talent from all over. Diversity is what drives creativity and that’s how I want to take our efforts to the next level.
We are thrilled to announce our #WIMLA Summer Social!
There’s no better way to make quality connections than during these warm and sunny days.
Taking place July 18 at PALIHOUSE Weho, share a drink with fellow WIM members, meet the new LA committee, and connect with industry alike! Bring a friend or two! RSVP now!
The event is FREE for active WIM Members, or $5 donation for non-members.
RSVP HERE: http://LAsummersocial.eventbrite.com
WIM LA SUMMER SOCIAL
@ PALIHOUSE West Hollywood (8465 Holloway Dr. 90069)
Starts at 7pm PT
*PALIHOUSE offers valet for $10 or street parking is nearby
We can't wait to see you there!
- LA Committee <3
WIM LA's is hosting its first casual meet-up series which committee members will host on a monthly basis! Our official WIM LA events will be announced soon (sorry for the delays!) and those will be free for members and more educational/networking focused, and larger!
For WIM LA's first meet-up:
SoulCycle Beverly Hills has kindly offered WIM LA members a free group ride! Not only can WIM LA members burn some calories, but also network with fellow WIM LA and committee members!
Below are the details for WIM LA's 1st SoulCycle session:
Date and Time: 17 June 2017 at 11.45 AM
Location: 9465 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Please click on the link to secure your spot! https://goo.gl/forms/L76d51583aPsPL1A2
Spots are restricted to active WIM members only, so don't forget to renew your membership if you haven't done so :)
Today we'd like to introduce you to Britnee Foreman, who handles Data Strategy at Songtrust and is an amazing music industry professional. She shared some of her thoughts on what it takes to be successful in this business as a woman.
Success is such a personal concept – we all see and define it differently. How do you personally define your success?
I see it as very dynamic and never really "achieved", but as a series of milestones along the way. It motivates you to keep growing and learning.
1. Always be open to learning: whether it's a new skill or concept, it sets you up for bigger opportunities
2. Find your people: It doesn't have to be in your office, but find a group that supports what you do and encourages you
3. This isn't a competition: There is room for everybody to use their strengths in this industry, so don't compare yourself to others’ progress and don’t disparage others.
I'm very dedicated to my goals and I’m stubbornly persistent. I think it creates an environment where setbacks won't derail me. Things don't always go as planned, but keeping sight of the big picture allows you to reroute as needed.
I've seen many challenges, but they just reconfirmed my passion for being here. There will be instances where you may be undervalued or underestimated. You have to know what your tolerance is for that environment and when to cut and run. Knowing yourself and your worth is very important.
No one is going to do it for you. You have to work, hustle, network, and follow up.
We're making progress, but there are not enough women in positions of influence yet.
I'm inspired by strong women who are advancing their industry, much like our WIM board and exec board.
What do you look forward to accomplishing at DOWNTOWN/Songtrust in the next year?
Using our immense data to accelerate our processes and efficiencies so we can serve more songwriters.
Tell us more about how you got involved in DOWNTOWN/Songtrust? What is your ultimate goal and what do you need to take it to the next level?
Actually, I got "poached" by a member of the WIM board to come work with her at Downtown. She is incredibly inspiring and the position gave me more opportunities, so it was a great fit. Ultimately, I would love to make the music industry more resilient to disruptive technologies and make sure artists are able to make a living making music. I feel like learning different tech infrastructures and predictive analyses is a step in the right direction.
For Immediate Release
MIDEM AND WOMEN IN MUSIC PARTNER TO HOST EXECUTIVE BRUNCH, PANEL AND NETWORKING SESSIONS AT MIDEM 2017
Women in Music and Midem partner to host two initiatives aimed at celebrating and empowering women in the global music industry in Cannes, France during annual music industry conference Midem – A speed networking session to be held on June 6th, 2017 and a private brunch, panel, and networking event for leading executives on June 7th, 2017.
June 2nd, 2017 – Women in Music (WIM), the national non-profit organization founded in 1985 to support and empower women in the music industry, and Midem have partnered to host two initiatives aimed at celebrating and empowering women in the global music industry. For the fourth consecutive year, WIM will facilitate “Meet the Women in Music,” a speed networking session featuring executive women from various countries on June 6th, 2017, at the Networking Village of Midem. On June 7th, WIM and Midem will host the first ever brunch, panel, and networking event on the rooftop of the Palais des Festivals for international executives that are interested in launching regional initiatives to support women in their local markets.
“Over the last 30 years, Women in Music has strived to provide resources and a strong community for our members' personal and professional growth. We now represent nearly 2000 members across 7 chapters and are rapidly launching more chapters worldwide. We are very excited to partner with Midem on both the speed networking session along with our rooftop panel and brunch to recognize the contributions of women in the music industry while shedding light on the issues they face on a global scale.” says Women in Music President, Jessica Sobhraj.
“It has always been essential for Midem to enable executive women from across the world to network. This year again, the speed meeting session is key to our program. We are thrilled to grow this focus with Women in Music and to inaugurate the very first Women in Music rooftop event during which we hope the panel, brunch and networking opportunities will inspire our clients to create more initiatives while growing existing ones,” said Alexandre Deniot, Director of Midem.
Through the “Meet the Women in Music” speed networking session on June 6th, Midem attendees will have the opportunity to briefly network with seasoned executives including Michelle Amar (Director, Bureau Export - USA/France), Lara Baker (Director of Marketing & Events, AIM – UK), Christine Brown (Director of External Affairs & Chief of Staff, Help Musicians UK), Virginie Berge (CEO, Armonia Online – France), Andrea DaSilva (ITA Global Publishing, Media & Entertainment Leader, Trade.Gov – USA), Helena Kosinski (Vice President of Client Solutions, Nielsen Music – UK), Neeta Ragoowansi (SVP Business Development & Legal Affairs, NPREX / Board Director, Women in Music – USA), Jennifer Newman Sharpe (Vice President, Women in Music / CEO, Sparkplug – USA), and Jessica Sobhraj (President, Women in Music / CEO, Cosynd). The speed networking session is open to all Midem delegate badge holders.
The private brunch and panel on June 7th will include a discussion led by moderator Jennifer Newman Sharpe (Vice President, Women in Music / CEO, Sparkplug) and feature Christine Brown (Director of External Affairs & Chief of Staff, Help Musicians UK), Vanessa Picken (Director, Comes With Fries), Virginie Berge (CEO, Armonia Online), and Jessica Sobhraj (President, Women in Music / CEO, Cosynd). Collectively, the presentation will provide an overview of the challenges faced by women globally as well as the proven solutions and resources that can be implemented by the attendees to improve conditions for women worldwide. The event is made possible thanks to supporters Help Musicians UK, Fox Rothschild LLP, Armonia Online, ASCAP, Cosynd, Sparkplug, and Quiv. The brunch is limited to invited executives only. If you are interested in attending please contact Jessica@womeninmusic.org, space is extremely limited.
“By partnering with Midem – the global hub for our industry - on these efforts, we can easily engage with executives and advocates in the international community that are poised to create meaningful changes and opportunities for the advancement of women in our industry worldwide.” Adds Women in Music Vice President, Jennifer Newman Sharpe.
These events are open to Midem registrants only. Attendees can register for Midem here for €805. WIM members receive a special discount on Midem registration until June 5th, 2017.
About Women in Music
Women in Music is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1985 in New York City to advance the awareness, equality, diversity, heritage, opportunities, and cultural aspects of women in the musical arts and industry through education, networking resources, support, empowerment, and recognition. For more information about Women in Music, visit www.womeninmusic.org
About Midem – Midem is an annual international b2b event dedicated to the new music ecosystem, with a tradeshow, conferences, competitions, networking events and live performances. It’s the place where music makers, cutting-edge technologies, brands & talents come together to enrich the passionate relationship between people & music, transform audience engagement and form new business connections. www.midem.com
For press/media inquires:
Women in Music, Communications Co-Chair firstname.lastname@example.org
MIDEM PRESS CONTACTS
Jane GARTON, Entertainment Press Director: +33 1 79 71 94 39
We sat down to chat with Erin Barra, an amazing Board Member of Women in Music to get her valuable advice for women working in the music industry.
It’s changed for me over the years, but now I define it as working solely in the music industry, retaining creative control of the content I produce and making enough money to live comfortably all while simultaneously managing to be happy. It’s pretty broad, which I find allows me to work on many different types of projects, but is still a pretty tall order.
Make sure you know what you’re talking about. Women in music tech (or any tech for that matter) are at a disadvantage because people assume we don’t actually know what we’re doing, so in some ways you have to know more than your male counterparts just to be taken as seriously.
Always keep learning. Music technology is constantly changing and evolving and you need to keep up: Know what the new products are and how they work, pick up a new skill set which will compliment what it is you’re already an expert at, go to conferences as see what everyone else is up too.
Don’t underestimate yourself. I just had a conversation with a large music distributor about how most of the women who apply to work for them rate their knowledge of musical instruments as a 2 on a scale from 1-10. We have a tendency to play into other people perception of what we’re capable of, but the truth is that we’re selling ourselves short. People want to work with confident professionals. Even though you don’t know every thing there is to know about everything (no one does), understand that the knowledge you do have is powerful.
We are the sum of our parts. Every experience, every success, every failure… mostly the failures, contribute to what we’re able to accomplish. I’ve worked on many sides of the industry - as an artist, a writer, a producer, a consultant and an educator. To me, they are expressions of the same skill set, which is communicating. Having had so many experiences brings value to what I offer the people I work with. Since I was an artist, when I’m working with one I can come from a place of knowledge and understanding, which makes people want to keep working with me and has been a huge part of my success.
Most of the challenges I’ve faced have been self-created. When I was younger I completely bought into a narrative and identity I created for myself on how things were supposed to unfold. Every time I was confronted with a reality that didn’t match my narrative I wouldn’t accept it. I know that stubbornness prevented me from accomplishing many things and I wish I had had the ability to compromise and pivot when necessary, just like any good business would.
It’s okay to change your mind.
Lack of role support. There aren’t enough role models for other women to look up too and that is hugely detrimental.
I’m really inspired by my boss Bonnie Hayes, who is a big time writer, producer and educator. She’s my role support. I watch her in meetings and see how she talks to the people who work for her and it has such a huge impact on me. She is the definition of a Boss Lady and being around her and working for her has changed me for the better.
What do you look forward to accomplishing in the next year?
I’m having a baby this year so I’m looking forward to striking a new work/life balance.
Easier said than done I imagine….
Tell us more about how you got involved in your current role? What is your ultimate goal and what do you need to take it to the next level?
I was poached from another job by my current boss. I’ve been at Berklee for 3 amazing years now and I more than accomplished my initial goals. I’m ready to slow down a bit and focus more on my family – which may sound a bit backwards, but for me would be a huge accomplishment. I’ve always been very career oriented and for me the next level will actually be slowing down and learning to let someone else take the wheel.
WIM is proud to return to Midem for the fourth consecutive year to host "Meet the Women in Music", a networking session featuring executives from Nielsen Music, The French Export Office, Sparkplug, The Association of Independent Music, and more on Tuesday, June 6th in Midem's Networking Village.
In addition, WIM members can use this special promo code: WIMMIDEM that will discounted the registration price from €805 to only €395, but only until June 5th, so go register now!
Meet the Women in Music:
WHEN: Tuesday, June 6, 2017
WHERE: Palais des Festivals et des Congrès de Cannes
6 boulevard de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes,France
TIME: 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Have questions about this event? Please contact email@example.com.
For more information on Women in Music, please visit womeninmusic.org.
Women In Music is excited to partner with Music Biz 2017 — the industry's premier convention hosted by the Music Business Association.
Music Biz 2017 is set to bring together 1,500+ music industry professionals from across the country from Monday, May 15 to Thursday, May 18 in Nashville at the Renaissance hotel.
We'll be hosting a Women In Music mixer during the convention at 7PM on Tuesday, May 16, so stay tuned for more info!
The "four most important days on the industry calendar" will include 100+ panels, live music showcases; workshops with Apple, Amazon, Google/YouTube, SoundCloud, Spotify, and Pandora; meetups; mixers; awards honoringAdele, Maren Morris, Paula Abdul& more; a keynote from Spotify's Troy Carter, and...Music's Leading Ladies Speak Outpowered by Nielsen .
Headlined by a keynote interview with Atlantic Records' Julie Greenwald carried out by Ann Powers of NPR Music, this event will take on the theme of “Creative Partnerships” and will feature stories of how Greenwald's keen and often maternal instincts have helped her to uniquely nurture the careers of major artists such as Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Christina Perri, Janelle Monáe, Twenty One Pilots, Sturgill Simpson, Coldplay, and more. The conversation will also illuminate how she achieved her success in a male-dominated business, as well as her views and approach on the many issues around work/life balance. A featured panel of female executive will then tell their stories as a women in the music industry and talk about work life balance, bridging confidence gaps, and facilitating greater gender equality in the future. Women In Music's own Erin Crawford of Nielsen will act as the event's emcee. Way to go!
For the full schedule, visit musicbiz2017.sched.org.
First-time convention attendees (managers, songwriters, publishers, publicists, lawyers, startups, other industry enthusiasts) have the opportunity to experience the entire Music Biz convention May 15-18 for just $249*! Register for a 'non-member registration' with code WIM-249 at musicbiz2017.eventbrite.com.
In addition to 'Music's Leading Ladies', Tuesday, May 16 at Music Biz offers an abundance of programming including the Metadata Summit; Career Development Workshops; panels on live streaming, vinyl, international music, and more. If interested in purchasing a day pass, use code WIMDAY to reveal a special option to do so here for only $199.
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