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PledgeMusic's College Rep Program Offers Interns Hands-On Industry Experience

2Here we speak with PledgeMusic intern Seth Matthews about his experience in the program developing relationships with labels and managers, and the opportunities he's had to connect with artists like Could Cult and Mark Andrew.

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Guest Post from PledgeMusic

Technically, you could call Seth Matthews an intern. Except instead of making copies or serving coffee, he’s developing relationships with labels, managers and bands as an A&R Scout for PledgeMusic, bringing in current artists like Cloud Cult and Mark Andrew to run new campaigns. It’s a hands-on program for self-starter types who are aiming for a meaningful career in the music industry.

How did you end up connecting with Cloud Cult in the first place?

When I’m looking for local acts It’s important to keep fan engagement in mind. Cloud Cult has been active since 1995 giving them 20 years to build a strong fan base. When I began looking into Cloud Cult I noticed they had a strong following on Facebook as well as some awesome music with an established sound. I liked the potential I saw and decided to reach out to Craig Minowa, who replied to me a few weeks later and expressed his interest in working with PledgeMusic.

As a college rep, you’re contacting bands directly on behalf of PledgeMusic?

Correct, strictly as a Pledge A&R rep.

Any other successes beyond Cloud Cult for you so far as an A&R rep?

There is currently a running campaign that I initiated with Mark Andrew best known for his appearances on The Voice and American Idol. I’ve had many replies and phone calls with artists and their managers, however. I consider any contact with potential customers a success because either way we’re getting the word out about PledgeMusic, and I am getting some experience with professional interactions. Some of my notable interactions would be with the managers of OCD Moosh & Twist and Sir Michael Rocks as I am big fans of both.

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What has been the best part of joining the College Rep program?

The experience. As a recent graduate of college, with a degree in music business, experience is the most valuable thing I can obtain right now as I start my career in the music industry. It’s one thing to sit in a classroom and get lectured on the music industry and a whole other thing to dive head first into it. Learning how to evaluate an artists potential and fan engagement will be very helpful for me down the road. Taking part in emails and conference calls as well as working directly with artists, managers, talent buyers, etc. has given me the knowledge of how to handle myself professionally in the business world.

Any advice for people wanting to start to plug into a local music scene? Is it as simple as attending shows? Are there other facets?

I follow a lot of artists, venues, and blogs on social media to help keep me updated. It doesn’t hurt to reach out to local tastemakers, talent buyers, artist managers, etc. Either way attending shows is a great way to meet people and seeing music live is the best way to experience it in my eyes.

For those who are interested in potentially signing up for the program, what do you think they need to know in advance?

You have to be very engaged with music of all kinds. If you’re going to be scouting artists in your local area it helps a lot to be involved in the music scene, i.e. Regularly attending concerts, having an established network with people in the local music industry. If you don’t have an established network Terry and Mike are very helpful when it comes to reaching out to people. As far as technicalities go, basic knowledge of excel is helpful as well as having an established presence on social media as you will be connecting with many artists via Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, and YouTube.

For more information on PledgeMusic’s College Rep program, you can email Terry Tompkins here.

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