SoundCloud Content Acquisition Coordinator Sarah Haswell
In the latest of our regular series on jobs around the music industry, we talk to one of the SoundCloud staff members responsible for getting your favourite artists onto the streaming platform.
Place of work?
Content Acquisition Coordinator
How long have you had the job?
Almost three years.
What does a typical day involve?
I identify, build and maintain relationships with labels and distributors within the music industry and handle a large percentage of the the day-to-day management of SoundCloud’s engagement with indie labels and key distributors.
An average day includes meeting with any number of labels and working with them on artist campaigns to obtain the maximum possible amount of exposure on SoundCloud, training music partners in using our CMS system, providing them with resources to get the most from the platform and educating them about new and upcoming product features. I also populate our industry blog SoundCheck with creative uses of SoundCloud from artist campaigns with the aim to promote similar behavior across the industry.
Highs of the job?
The main perk from my perspective is the travel. Being an international company with HQ in Berlin and other offices in San Francisco and New York, I’m regularly visiting incredible cities. Every day I’m presented with opportunities to meet interesting people and attend exciting events and I’m constantly surrounded by music at the same time.
Also, one of the many advantages of working for SoundCloud is that I’m not limited to working on a particular campaign, artist, genre or event. The spectrum of content on SoundCloud is so vast that every day we come across something new and exciting.
I’d say the most rewarding part of the job is seeing a band or artist who has started on SoundCloud grow into a mainstream success – for example Mercury Prize winners Alt-J uploaded their first demo to SoundCloud. We worked with their team and watched intently as they interacted with the community, used SoundCloud for a variety of campaigns, set up a remix contest, offered a stream of their award-winning debut out to their fans, and ultimately were rewarded with their much-deserved Mercury Prize win.
“The most rewarding part of the job is seeing a band or artist who has started on SoundCloud grow into mainstream success.”
Lows of the job?
Who are the people who’ve had the biggest influence on your career and why?
The folks who gave me my first foot in the door: Robert Horsfall and Kerry Shipton of Sound Advice, David Riley and Sam McGregor of Signature Brew (previously Good Lizard Media), and Karim Fanous and Paul Brindley of Music Ally.
Caroline Drucker was one of the first inspirational people in my professional career. Caroline was a product manager at SoundCloud when I started and now heads up International Brand Communications at Etsy. Anyone who’s met Caroline knows she has an incredible mind and a strong personality. In the early days Caroline gave me a whole new outlook on career development, teaching me to break down barriers, develop confidence and aim high.
Finally my entire team at SoundCloud, all incredibly talented industry players with an astounding wealth of knowledge and experience, who push me to achieve my utmost on a daily basis.
How did you get the job?
I went head-first into three internships at the same time while working a part-time job on nights and weekends to learn as much as I could about the music industry and relevant online platforms and digital services. These internships meant that I was able to attend regular music and technology events in London, which were fantastic networking opportunities and it was at one particular meetup that I met a couple of members from SoundCloud’s music team. That night, after chatting to them about the company and their available roles I logged straight on to their jobs page and began my application.
This wasn’t your standard CV and cover letter request: it involved an extensive exploration into my knowledge of labels, top music publications and blogs among other key industry topics. By this time I’d already fallen in love with SoundCloud’s company culture and I poured my heart and soul into the application. A week and a few Skype interviews later, I was ready to start my new job.
How can we get your job?
In this industry, referrals are key. Make sure the right people know who you are. Go along to as many industry events as you can possibly get access to, seek out people who are already in the role you’re looking for and ask for their advice. Say yes to as many opportunities possible, and do your reading. If there are any free courses or classes covering the area you want to work in, make sure you attend them, not only are they educational, they’re useful for networking.
Potential employers are likely to be searching for you online so keep your LinkedIn up to scratch and remember that your public social channels such as Twitter and Tumblr are an extension of your own personal brand, so ensure that these represent your skills and personality.
“In this industry, referrals are key. Make sure the right people know who you are.”
In terms of company culture, creative idea generation and boundary pushing are pivotal: if you have a unique outlook on transforming the digital landscape and using sound to engage with the world around you, then there could be a job for you. Self-motivation and a dedicated approach to work is something I see in every SoundCloud employee, we’re constantly challenging each other and sharing ideas and this openness helps us create the SoundCloud experience you get today.