Of the multitudes of sessions we could have attended at 2:30 on a Thursday during SXSW, we chose this one. Why? Well, with a description asking questions like: But what about our personal identity and our own long-term goals? Aren’t we more than just the companies we tag in our Instagram bios and the artists we work for? Is it even possible to separate our panelists from their music business identities?
We knew this was the session for us.
And so did, apparently, everyone else. This was a PACKED room of folks in the industry, industry-adjacent, and even students who are considering “what’s next?” The panel was made up of 4 folks who have worked in multiple roles throughout the music industry. Maria Gironias (Reddit), Sydney Lopes (Spotify), Brandon Holman (UnitedMasters), and Nick Maiale (jump.global). All of the panelists have had realizations (whether forced through layoffs, or on their own through self-reflection) that their personhood does not = their job. This goes hand-in-hand, however, with the realization that many times it’s the job title that gets you the calls, the invitations, and the clout within the industry.
If you choose this industry, then it is yours – Maria
A couple of the panelists recalled being removed from their position, and hearing crickets instead of responses/outreach from people they thought were their friends in the industry.
FOMO became a large part of the conversation at this point, because – with the detachment of a job title from your name – people stop calling, inviting you to industry events and collaborative projects. This is because there is a perceived notion that you can no longer do things for them because you are no longer [insert position here] at [insert company here].
It’s the type of “contacts-solely-for-personal-gain” nonsense that has kept me out of traditional networking spaces for the majority of my adult life. I don’t have time for that nonsense – and no one else should be making time for it either.
But, with a creative industry that has been built upon/with titles and clout, it was very refreshing to listen to these folks talk about their experiences, lessons learned, and even air their grievances. As Maria indicated, you need to allow yourself joy and reprieve from your work as well. “Eating three meals a day,” she listed as one of her big MUSTS. “Making sure I call my parents more. Not skipping out on that meal with a friend.” It was a very down-to-earth conversation, and by the end – even in a crowded room – I felt like it was a chat between friends. Myself included.
Some lessons straight from the panelists’ mouths:
“Your network is your net worth” is garbage. – Nick
Just because you have a lot of [followers, likes, etc], doesn’t mean you can get people in the room – Sydney
I AM meditation you stop identifying with your name and gender and all the things around you. I AM. you are relinquishing stories and programming. You are something so much more powerful than any of these boxes. (Deepak Chopra) – Brandon
You are not a shitty artist if you don’t have a billboard in Times Square. – Brandon
Your career is nonlinear and just because something doesn’t last forever doesn’t mean it wasn’t great – Maria
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