Doing something a little different with this week’s Women in Music series, and had the opportunity to interview Hayley Rosenblum from Kickstarter. Hayley gave us some insight in to her day to day, talked about what keeps her driven, and offered some advice for young professionals looking to enter the industry. Read what she had to say below!
First, could you tell us more about your background in the music industry? What led you to work in this field and what previous experiences have you had?
My background is centered around fan communities and online engagement. As a teenager I was very active in online marketing campaigns; I joined street teams for my favorite bands and record labels. I helped to build and sustain online fan communities through forums, newsgroups and even the official websites of some of my favorite bands.
While I was in college I didn’t think it was possible to turn my passion into a career, but stayed involved with music in every way I could as part of my extracurriculars. I joined all the clubs that put on concerts, from underground punk shows to the campus programming board that put on the headlining concerts for my university. I became heavily involved in the campus radio station, too. I joined the college radio station’s Executive Board as their Public Relations Director and I co-hosted a weekly three-hour show with my twin sister, where we built a dedicated worldwide listenership and interviewed some of our favorite musicians.
One of the musicians we interviewed was Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls, who I ended up working for a few months after I graduated. I started interning for her manager, and within a few months became part of her team of three people. We helped her begin releasing music independently again after she left her label. Amanda’s fan community is a unique and beautiful thing, and with the Internet changing, we used online media in new and exciting ways. This included creating three Kickstarter campaigns for various projects, including Amanda’s most famous: her campaign for Theatre is Evil, which is to date the largest music fan-funded campaign ever, raising $1.2 million from nearly 25,000 people.
In 2013 I joined the team at Kickstarter to specifically help musicians using the platform and help grow Kickstarter’s music community.
How did you go about transitioning to your role as Music Outreach Lead at Kickstarter? What does a typical day look like for you?
I’ve been at Kickstarter for three years now, and my job has certainly evolved as the company itself has grown. One of the most exciting parts of my work is that I get to help so many musicians connect with their fans around their creative projects.
A typical day for me usually involves me talking to musicians, managers, and labels on the phone, in person or via email. I help them conceptualize their creative projects and guide them through their strategy to make new things and to communicate and connect with their audience in the process (for musicians, this may mean to help them think about how they are connecting with their current fanbase while also introducing them to a brand new audience).
You can also find me speaking or presenting at Music conferences around the world and making appearances around the Internet (like on Kickstarter’s YouTube Channel) to create educational resources to help educate and inspire folks to experiment in their creativity and make something new.
What do you strive for when you begin a new project, and do you have a favorite type of project or engagement?
I’m a firm believer that the journey can be just as valuable, if not more valuable, than the end goal of any project.
I’ve seen thousands and thousands of Kickstarter campaigns over the years, hundreds daily, and my favorite projects are those that are innovative, or projects that showcase a unique idea with some form of collaboration. I am a music fan and a music appreciator to my core, so I have been known to enthusiastically share projects that come from artists that I’ve been listening to for years. My favorite projects are ones that fully tell a story through their Kickstarter page and inspire collaboration with their Kickstarter backers.
What do you think is the most important aspect of fan engagement for a musician?
Hands down, the most important element in any sort of fan engagement or interaction – from online profiles to in person meetings — is authenticity. You must be true to your own voice, your own perspective and your own persona. After that, the next important element is considering that connection is a two-way street, and to be open-minded about that every time you meet or interact with somebody new.
Do you have internship opportunities, or just advice for people interested in a similar career in the music industry?
Kickstarter posts openings for jobs and internships regularly on our Jobs page, so be sure to check that out year-round for any openings!
My advice would be to immerse yourself into the parts of music that you love and to try to learn everything you can. Meet people, offer your time and expertise to help others through helping friends with their own projects, to volunteering your time or interning to get experience. Learn everything you can to build up your skill set and see what parts of music you are most interested in. If you have friends that are musicians, talk to them, ask them what their team looks like and see if you can help somehow. The more you learn, the more you’ll know what you like to do and the more skills you’ll have to offer. Make meaningful connections and be available to share insight or info with other people.