A modern record label is built on social media and digital music sales. Last year digital downloads surpassed CD sales for the first time. This past decade has shown us the ever evolving Internet, and all the social media sites that come with it. Used as an expressway for showing and selling music, social media has become a direct way to reach fans and market not just music, but all other artist merchandise. Katie Guastini from Epitaph Records is going to give us a little insight on her job and what it entails.
Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been working at Epitaph? What’s your current job title? Have you had any other titles since you started?
I’ve been at Epitaph since April doing social media, but have worked in the label world since 2008.
What exactly are a Social Media Marketing person’s duties?
Developing creative campaigns surrounding album releases and tours, all the nuts and bolts of working with sites like Soundcloud, Youtube, our website, etc. and then the obvious -creating and maintaining Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest.
Who do you think changed the music industry? Why?
Steve Jobs. How can that not be my answer? He’s one of few responsible for flipping the music industry upside down by turning music sales online and making it 1000x more portable.
What does music mean to you?
Music is pretty much the soundtrack to my entire life. It can change my entire mood completely.
I have my songs for when I’m sad, happy, driving, raining, whatever. Without those songs those moments would be a lot more boring.
Favorite Epitaph album releases?
Motion City Soundtrack- Commit This To Memory
Social Media Marketing is a new job for the music industry. How do you think social media changes/ effects the way people listen to and find music?
Social media has changed both the way that people are listening to and discovering music. It’s easier than ever to just hop on one of the millions of music streaming sites or apps and listen. I’ve discovered so many awesome bands by checking out the “related artists” on iTunes and Spotify.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned working in the music industry?
Things don’t always go the way they should. It’s definitely a cut throat world and those that don’t deserve it will sometimes be signed first, promoted first, etc. I’ve learned that’s just the way it is and the best thing anyone can do is just work super hard and enjoy what they’re doing.
What’s the biggest surprise about working in this field? Was it what you thought it would be like?
Everyone knows everyone. For such a big field, it’s an extremely small world. Every time someone in the industry adds me on Facebook, no matter what state or country they’re from, we always have at least 10 mutual friends in common.
What’s the best and worst part about working in the music industry?
The best part is that my day to day job never really feels like work. My day job can be anything from hanging out and listening to music while brainstorming, to a day at a music festival, to a video shoot. It’s rarely boring.
The worst part is that it’s definitely its own little world, and it can pull you in and get a little overwhelming. It can be hard to stay grounded.
Is there a moment that sticks out in your head that made you realize that this is the perfect job for you?
I think just the first year going to a show every week. It was just like…this is my life. This is my job. I get to work for these amazing musicians and get to see them succeed.
What classes/degree did you take to get ahead in this field?
I got super lucky and got a job at another label I interned at right out of high school. I decided it was too good of an opportunity to pass up; however I fully recommend going to school for marketing or communications if you’re interested in doing a job like this.
What inspires and motivates you to still pursue a career in music?
Every time I work on a project and I get to see it pay off. When you spend months or even longer, and finally get to see the band play for thousands of screaming fans or sell a ridiculous amount of records, it makes it all worth it.
How did you know you wanted to work in the music industry?
I actually started out doing street teaming when I was in middle school and realized I loved everything about it. Obviously the work I do evolved a lot more, but just working for the bands I love and coming up with creative ways to get their music heard was really rewarding for me.
What would you tell other people who want to work in the music industry/ at Epitaph?
A lot of people, myself included, have gotten jobs through interning. The two most important things that you can have are contacts and experience. Of course that all falls flat if you don’t work hard and you’re not good at what you do, but who you know and what you have on your resume can help get you in the door.
Lastly, what are your favorite album releases, so far, from this year? What album releases are you most looking forward to be released this year?
I’ve been listening to Grace Potter & The Nocturnals- The Lion The Beast The Beat. And I hear the Backstreet Boys are recording…just sayin.