Starter Stories: Amy Willard, Marketing Manager at Fueled By Ramen

Amy Willard
Photo Credit: Matt Vogel

I think most people are surprised when I say that growing up, I never thought about working in music or that I don’t have a degree in music business– it’s actually in architecture. No, working among the top names in alternative music was not the result of all those career tests my guidance counselor liked to hand out in high school to help the young and impressionable make semi-important life decisions.

After joining the student newspaper as a junior, I began writing about new bands I was into and with the help of MySpace and Napster, I quickly found myself immersed in non-mainstream music. This would continue through college, where I started my own music blog and reaching out to publicists to cover shows.

The more I started photographing concerts and interviewing bands, the more I realized I wanted to work in the music scene and less in an architecture firm. Through people I met at shows, I eventually applied for an internship at an artist management company and began developing the online presence for metal bands.

For me, I think I just happened to transition into the music industry at the right time. As the interest in MySpace began to fade and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube became larger, more prominent platforms for artists, I was really able to dive-in and be part of first wave of digital marketers and social media managers for bands.

My experience with social media, photography and videography eventually landed me a gig with the Vans Warped Tour as the 2012 Monster Energy Pit Reporter. I spent 8 weeks on the road, getting to photograph and interview some of my favorite bands; it’s an experience I’ll never forget.  I think being on tour really gave me a lot of new perspective, allowing me me to gain valuable insight on how things we post online translate into real-life experiences for bands and fans.

After Warped Tour, I began a new job with Fueled By Ramen and I’ve been with the label for three years now as a digital marketing manager. I handle the updates to the social media profiles for our artists and put together online ad plans for tours/albums as well.  My design background comes in handy when we’re looking to update the online graphics and put together new online promo materials.

I feel very fortunate that I have found a job that’s taken my love for music and paired it with my passion for creativity.

Probably my best advice to anyone looking to start their career in the industry is to find a way to be part of music– whether that’s applying for internships or joining a street team. It’s a unique place to be and I think once you start getting involved on any level, you’re going to meet a lot of people who will help you find our place!

PS. I’m always down to connect!
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