Music industry majors land coveted positions

Three musicians smile as they stand on a stage.

Dorian Jones

Before stepping across the stage as a Conservatory of Music graduate, Dorian Jones ’22 was walking into his first job in the music industry as an international marketing coordinator for Mack Avenue Music Group, a label representing Grammy-award winning jazz, gospel, R&B and blues artists.

“I started part time two weeks before finals and immediately went full time the Monday after graduation,” Jones said. “I handle promotions and coordinate interviews. It’s exactly what I wanted to do.”

Jones is one of Pacific’s music management and music industry alumni finding success in America’s creative sector economy, which is projected to become $1 trillion soon, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is the third largest economic sector, surpassed only by health care and retail. 

Adriana Aguayo ’22 began her job in August as coordinator of business and legal affairs at Universal Music Group for Interscope Geffen A&M Records. The company represents some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish and Benny Blanco.

“If an artist wants to release a song that has a piece of someone else's music in it, they have to get the rights. My department makes sure everything is cleared before the song goes out,” Aguayo explained. “It’s not a job I thought I would land right away because of how big the company is, but it’s been exciting.”

Pacific’s music industry studies and music management programs prepare students for the “buying and selling” aspects of the music business, such as licensing, promotions and booking.

“There are a lot of employment opportunities in the music business besides being a performer,” said Benom Plumb, associate professor and program director for music industry studies and music management. “If you know what you are doing, get your foot in the door and prove yourself, then there's likely a job waiting for you right after graduation.”

Pacific was the first university in Northern California to offer such a program and remains one of the few. Hands-on training is one of its hallmarks and will be amplified with a new professional practice initiative this semester. 

Teams of students will gain experience running a record label by putting together recordings of Conservatory concerts. The groups will rotate through all aspects of the business, from venue management and recording to licensing and marketing.

“Students will build their portfolio while they are with us,” said Conservatory of Music Dean Peter Witte. “This is also an opportunity for us to demonstrate how people in the arts make money, and there is a lot of money in the arts. We want to make certain students understand all the career choices they have.”

The experience will build on students’ hands-on experiences, including the student-run record label Pac Ave Records and robust internships, which are a program requirement. 

June Benoit’s internship her junior year helped her secure a job three weeks before graduating this year as a music publishing assistant for Los-Angeles based Create Music Group.

“I knew I wanted to be in the music industry, but I wanted to work on the business side because I liked the idea of helping songwriters make their career,” Benoit said. “I discovered my passion for publishing at Pacific and I’m in my element. I get to apply all my knowledge at work every day. It's fulfilling.”

Benoit, Jones and Aguayo will return to Pacific this semester to share their experiences as part of Plumb’s aim to bring alumni to campus.

Graduates have landed at industry-leading companies, including Apple, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Capitol Records. Pacific taps into their expertise through the Conservatory’s Music Management Advisory Board. The group provides advice on the program to Conservatory leaders and mentorship to students. Members also established a scholarship to help students cover internship expenses.

“Pacific benefits from its alumni network, which is really cool because that’s one great way to get a job,” Plumb said. “Our alumni are a huge asset.”