college student
Brynnea McGill

Major: Music Industry Studies
Minor: Business Leadership
Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Internship: Mack Avenue Music Group

Brynnea McGill ’24 has a passion for the business side of the music industry. She is proud of her administration and project management skills which she developed as a music industry studies major at Pacific. Brynnea was able to use these skills during her internship at Mack Avenue Music Group where she contributed to a Grammy-nominated project.

Why Pacific?

I was specifically looking for a music program with a business focus. I love music and I’ve enjoyed singing in a choir for a long time, but I only wanted to work in the business end of the industry.

After I toured my top choice schools, Pacific definitely was my favorite. I got to sit in on a Pac Ave Records meeting, and I really liked the environment. I knew that the program would be very suited for what I wanted to do.

Who is the music industry studies major for? 

You could be a music creator or be interested in business, and there's a spot for you in this program. Professor Benom Plumb, who is the program director, is making more room for internships and hands-on projects. You get to learn a little bit of everything and the basic concepts so that you can have your industry foundation. But it's not about research papers. It is about the industry and practical experience.

How did you get an internship with Mack Avenue Music Group?

The president of Mack Avenue serves on Pacific’s Music Industry Advisory Board, and I met him at our first Music Business Conference. Later, when they were advertising for a marketing intern, Professor Plumb helped me get in contact with them. After an interview, I got the job.

Mack Avenue is a jazz record label. Two other conservatory students had interned there before me, and one of them got a job with them right after graduation. Adam at Mack Avenue said that Pacific interns were some of the best ones they've had. I just really appreciate our major setting us up for the real world.

What did your internship entail?

I worked remotely from home in Seattle during the summer. It was primarily independent work, but I was in constant contact with them via [Microsoft] Teams and email. 

My assignments were very versatile. They asked what I was good at, and they looked at my resume where I listed all the things that I did when I took the Pac Ave Records class. They were able to work with me to adapt my internship to my skill set. 

I worked on updating and adding products into their Shopify page and Bandcamp. Luckily, I got a lot of experience with Bandcamp at Pac Ave Records. Also, since I am good at spreadsheets, I made them a brand-new calendar to keep track of the artist's birthdays and the album anniversaries, for example. I also made a lot of Pre-save links using Linkfire. It was work that the upper managers don't really have time to do. And when Christian McBride, this very famous jazz artist, posted a link that I made, it was so gratifying! It's such a small thing but it was awesome because I knew I helped them with their backend resources so that they can use them better.
After my summer internship, Professor Plumb suggested that I should contact Mack Avenue because I was in the process of looking for a job. Now I’m working there essentially as a freelance employee and getting paid for my first real industry job.

What Grammy-nominated project did you contribute to?

Mack Avenue got three Grammy nominations this year. One of them was an album by the Yellowjackets for which I did very small things, but still, hey, I touched this process. I helped create an Instagram for the Yellowjackets by finding which handle names were available and created a Linkfire for their music.

How can you get hands-on industry experience on campus?

I’d say, it definitely depends on your interests. People who want to be musicians or producers at a working studio might want to take more recording studio classes. But for me, since I’m more into the administration and record label operations, my favorite hands-on experience was Pac Ave Records. We actually got to go through the recording and album release process.

I think the thing that I’m proudest of is my work in Pac Ave Records because I was the head of the business affairs department and I got to lead a team. I did a lot of contract negotiation and worked on the finances. I was also working with a lot of spreadsheets and web pages, and that has been my continued interest.

This semester, I am in a new class, distribution and licensing. I get to collaborate with Pac Ave Records on releasing the classical recordings that were performed in the conservatory. We're making compilation albums of the recordings that other students in the conservatory were in.

What skills do you consider most important for your future career?

Project management is my main skill set along with some administrative skills, and then licensing and record label operations. I could apply these skills in many different fields in the music industry. It could be a record label, publishing company, or a television company that does music supervision. It also could be a marketing company or a PR firm. These are skill sets that I’ve picked up while studying at Pacific.

Is there anything else you would like to say to students interested in music industry studies?

Definitely take advantage of our annual Music Business Conference! It’s not just for Pacific students. Anyone can register and come. There are panels and master classes with the top-level industry professionals such as SVP for Music Creative Services at Universal Studio Group and NBCUniversal Television Alicen Schneider in 2022 or Grammy-winning audio engineer Leslie Ann Jones in 2023. You’ll also get to meet Professor Plumb and Professor Smotherman who are both great resources to utilize, because they truly care about their students’ success and want to prepare us to be professionals in the industry rather than just passing a class.