BusinessMusic

Megan Brandt, Sr. Manager at Universal Music Group

Megan Brandt

Company: Universal Music Group, East Coast Shared Services (Republic Records)

Title: Senior Manager, Artist & Repertoire Administration

Industry: Recorded Music

Function: Project Manager for the label’s artist roster and recording budgets

Education: Public Relations with minors in Art History & German from Southeast Missouri

State University

Survey:

EHC: What is your daily schedule like?

I work 10 a.m.-7 p.m. every day, and each day is different. In a nutshell, my label has a roster of 100+ artists, and I am responsible for 30-40 artists/projects. I issue purchase orders and payments for producer and engineer fees, studio time, and other costs associated with recording a single, EP, or LP. I work directly with A&R (creatives who sign our artists) to gather full credits and paper delivery for music Republic Records releases and exploits.

EHC: What is your favorite part of your job?

I work with a really great internal team and a great roster of artists and musicians. It’s all about the music and the people.

EHC: What were the steps you took to get your job?

I transitioned from PR to label life, first in film & TV sync and then to the very beginning of recording the music with new signed artists. When I knew that I wanted to make a change, I went to as many networking events as I could and found a job at my current company through a group called Women In Music.

EHC: What is your best piece of advice for girls interested in this field?

Have passion, patience, and perseverance. You need a reason to want to go into music as a career because it isn’t easy. You need to earn your place in the industry–internships and assistantships are the best way to do that. Starting at the very bottom is normal in this business, and it’s often expected, but if you put in the time and always advocate for yourself, you’ll grow and find your place.

EHC: What inspired you to pursue this career?

I’ve done a few different things at this point in my life, and for each one, it’s been a desire to acquire more skills and learn new things. A&R administration is something I didn’t know about, and collecting this knowledge has helped me gain skills that I will add to my arsenal.

Career Snapshot

Megan’s job is in A&R administration. The “A&R” stands for “Artists and Repertoire,” which is the department that most people think of when they think about the music industry. One side of this is the department that finds and signs bands and artists (the creatives), but the other side is the project managers who ensure that studios are booked, that producers get paid, and that everyone knows what is going on regarding specific artists and albums. Even though lots of people mistake Megan as one of the creatives, the A&R administration team at a label gets to be a part of an artist’s creative journey and is a vital part of the album-making process. Working at a label, you inevitably run into a few musicians and artists that you admire. Megan met Lorde and James Bay before they were household names, and Psy (of Gangnam Style fame) came by the office to teach Republic’s presidents how to do the Gangnam Style dance!

The Career Journey

Megan didn’t always know that she wanted to work in the recording industry. She started her career by moving to New York City, entirely open to any job in music or art. Using her degree specialization in public relations, she found an internship (and later a job) at the indie PR firm called Girlie Action Media, Marketing & Management before moving on to work as an assistant at Workman Entertainment. She then decided to change gears away from PR, working in film & TV  synchronization at Universal Music Group, East Coast Labels before shifting into her current role in A&R administration. All of Megan’s previous roles have helped her to get a feel for how the music industry works and have been invaluable in her career journey. Understanding as much about your industry as possible is useful in any field because you’ll start to be able to see how the puzzle pieces fit together and will be an invaluable asset to your company. This might be because you’re ready to have meaningful, well-rounded conversations with anyone who comes through your door or because you’re able to fill a hybrid role in a smaller company.

Advice

The music industry is a lot different from others like the financial industry because it is pretty relaxed. There are tons of concerts, after work events, parties, and anything else that can fit an open bar. It is essential to learn how to manage yourself in these events because you will be judged on your behavior and professionalism even if it is an awesome rooftop party with awesome drinks, celebrating an artist’s gold record certification. Limit yourself to a couple of drinks at work events (and most music events count as work events). It’s as much about safety as it is protecting your professional reputation.

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