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Careers In Music: Sales, Marketing & Retail
Over the past few issues, this special feature has explored the creative side of the music business and job opportunities in areas like songwriting, singing and producing. This month we look at the more ‘business’ side of things with sales, marketing and retail.

This is the entertainment industry so it’s no surprise that you will have plenty of chances to be creative even in what appears to be a cut-and-dried, numbers-only department. Here is what you can expect to do in the Sales and Marketing department of a record company and in the retail of music.

You might imagine that selling music doesn’t really require that much effort ~ after all, if it’s a great song and a fabulous artist, shouldn’t the people you are presenting to immediately fall in love with it just like you have? Wrong! Turns out nothing comes easy ~ if you want your artist to be a success, you’ve got to really work for it.
Dinraj Shetty, Regional Sales Manager – West, Sony BMG, gives us a detailed look at what a sales job at a music company involves:

~ You must understand music.
As far as educational qualifications go, there is no hard and fast rule, only that aspirants must be graduates. The most important thing is that they must understand music and understand the entertainment part of the business. These are the basic minimum qualifications.

~ Selling music is not the same as selling an FMCG product.
They must understand what they are getting into and believe in entertainment as an industry where they are choosing to take their career path because the entertainment industry works in a fairly different way, so if you come in with no idea of what is involved it might be a culture shock to you.
Music doesn’t have a product life cycle that works like other products. Here, the album is out for a month or two, it grows in popularity and then it declines. It doesn’t work like a normal FMCG product. Also the excitement level is very high in the music business and each week you get a new product that you have to work on. So you should understand the complexities of the business.

You’ve been waiting for that new album by your favourite artist for months and suddenly you know the time is near ~ you start seeing their posters everywhere, album art makes its first appearance, you see them on TV for the first time with the new music and the excitement begins to really build now. All of this is thanks to the marketing department of the record company.
Sandhya Chandramouli, Manager ~ Marketing, Universal Music India, gives us a detailed look into what a marketing job would involve.

~ Taking the product to the media.
The main area in which we work is setting up our new product in the media. This involves liaising with outlets like radio, the press, retail and the internet. We now have a separate digital department taking care of mobile presence as well. A marketing person’s job is to make sure that the outlets complement each other and the artist is getting the right exposure across all of them.

~ Creating promotional material for the artist.
Another area of marketing is the creation of the material that will be sent out to the media outlets to ensure airplay. Promotional material has to be organized and readily accessible and must include all interesting and relevant information that the media might need. Over and above this, you also have to work to ensure maximum visibility for your artist so you must always be aware of how much airplay and exposure your artist is getting in the media outlets.

The last stop in this chain of events is the retail of music. This is the place where most of us have direct contact with representatives who hand us that album at the record store. It’s not as simple as that though, and we get Ajay Mehra, CEO, Planet M, to give us a look at what a retail job would involve:

~ As an employee you must be a good representative of the brand that is the store.
The Customer Support Associates at our store (called Planet M Inhabitants) are the first touch points ~ the brand representative for any customer who walks into the store. So it is important that they know what the brand stands for. The qualities that we typically look for are ~ youthfulness, energy, attitude, knowledge and passion for music and movies. The aspirants need to be in touch with today’s entertainment scene. They should also have a broad understanding of different genres of music and movies. A good command over English and the native language is a necessity as being the largest music and movies retailer, we attract a large base of international customers.

You can read the rest of our special feature Careers In Music: Sales, Marketing & Retail in the March 2007 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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