BEHIND THE SCENES: WHAT IT'S LIKE WORKING AT ATLANTIC RECORDS (INTERVIEW WITH AMANDA ALFIERI)
Most people who are passionate about music either are too afraid to follow their hearts or get sucked into some other career, but if you take the chance and you risk everything to follow your heart it will, most likely, never fail you. Here is a look into Amanda Alfieri's magnificent job at Atlantic Records in the big and bold New York City.
Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been working at Atlantic? What’s your job title? Have you had any other titles since you started?
My name is Amanda, I’m the Senior Manager of E-commerce here at Atlantic Records. I’ve been at Atlantic since 2005, I started as an intern in the New Media department while in college. Once I graduated in 2006 I became a full-time employee doing online digital marketing for our urban roster. For the last 5 years I’ve overseen our E-commerce operations as well as continue to do Digital Marketing for Simple Plan.
How did you know you wanted to work in this industry?
When I was in college, I was really into building websites and always had a strong passion for music. I always wanted to support my favorite artists, and figured I could contribute by building fansites for them to help connect fans and keep them up to date on their favorite artists. From there I figured I could do this in an official capacity in the music industry so I started looking into internships at labels so I can get experience. After my first internship at J Records, I was sold. This was the atmosphere I wanted to work in, this is how I could help artists, this was where I wanted to be.
How did you get into the music industry? What classes/degree did you take to get ahead in this field? Is it true that it’s all about who you know?
I majored in Communications at Manhattan College; my concentration was actually in Broadcast Communications. In many schools they do have music business classes, music management, etc. I’d say the best thing to do is to get an internship. It’s great to get real-life work experience, you not only can learn hard skills but you also learn how to work in such an environment. Once there, networking is helpful. You need skill to back it up, but knowing the right people can be beneficial.
Now, more than ever, music is ever-changing. What do you think is one genre of music that you hope will never go out of style? What genre of music do you hope will?
Music is always changing and that’s great! It keeps things fresh! But, I wish that pop-punk never goes out of style. Right now it’s not as popular as a few years ago but it’s still around. It’s energetic and fun, but can be full of angst and I love it. I wish the electro pop, LMFAO-style genre goes away and never comes back.
The music industry has also been hit by the economy. Do you think it takes more than just a passion for music to make it working on the business side of things?
Oh yeah. Passion is super important, I feel like if you’re in the music industry these days you have to love it and believe there are new ways to make this business work. Aside from passion, you need to be a creative thinker. The music industry is changing so much these days, you have to be on your toes, willing to adapt and try new things.
What’s the biggest surprise about working in this field? Was it what you thought it would be like?
It moves faster than I ever would have imagined! It’s not like other industries where you can plan a campaign out for months and months ahead of time. Many times you have a plan and then change it completely when you see how quickly a song reacts at radio, or how fans respond to new songs or videos. I always pictured it to be somewhat like this, but not as fast paced as it is.
Working so closely with these artists, do you see more bands doing this for the money or see them doing it because it’s what makes them who they are?
The artists that last are the ones who do it because it’s who they are. Especially in these days of the music industry since most artists don’t make the money you heard of back in the day. They do it the same reasons I do what I do.. because it’s what we love.
Who do you think changed the music industry? Why?
The internet changed the music industry. Aside from being able to download music, the internet also broke down the walls and barriers between artists and their fans. Anyone can connect to their artists any time they want.
Do you think most people who work in this field go to college?
Most, definitely not all. There’s a bunch of people that just got started helping out and got pulled in at the right time. However, most have gone to college and ended up here.
Since this is a part of the entertainment industry, any interesting stories from behind the scenes?
Tons! But they are staying with me.
Even though they are just people, when working with big names do you, or have you ever, gotten star struck by anyone?
I got a little nervous when meeting Phil Collins, my mom would play Genesis a lot when I was younger so it was pretty cool to meet someone that I heard when I was really little. He was probably the most down to earth guy I’ve ever met.. had nothing to be nervous about!
What’s the best and worst part about working in the music industry?
Best – it’s fun, lively, always changing.. and I don’t have to wear a suit. I get to work with people who are passionate about music and enjoy what they do. Worst – Long hours.. but I could be working long hours on something I hate.. so it’s not that bad!
Is there a moment that sticks out in your head that made you realize that this is the perfect job for you?
Back in 2007 I got to fly to Montreal to work with Simple Plan on a live webcast they were doing to kick off their new album and single. It was a mix of everything I loved – technology, music, one of my favorite bands - Simple Plan, and traveling. I got to work with a band on something new and exciting... and it went smoothly!
Although at times it must be a fun job, it must be a very high stress job, what does it take to make it through the day?
When it gets crazy around here I think to myself – I could be sitting in a stuffy suit working at some boring job… but I’m here, with co-workers who are great friends, and working with artists I’d admire and respect. Not many people get to say that.
Lastly, what albums are currently on heavy rotation?
Adele’s 21 – always.. and lately Foster The people’s Torches. It took me a minute to get into Foster the People, but really liking the album.