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MIC explores music publishing through professionals

by: Holly Johnson

MIC explores music publishing through professionals

Industry professionals discuss with students what it takes to be in music publishing  (Photo credit: Holly Johnson)

On Tuesday, Oct. 24, Cal State Fullerton’s Music Industry Club (MIC) hosted a music publishing panel with three industry professionals to expose club members to this facet of the industry. The panel was held at Gordon Hall from 7-9 p.m.


Among the panelists were Luana Belgrader, a music publishing coordinator at Format Entertainment; Sophie Watt, a freelance consultant; and Ryan Svendsen, the head of music at Millennium Media.  MIC president Matthew Morales mediated the panel and asked each panelist about their career in the music publishing industry. 


Infamously, the music industry is described as competitive, cut-throat and hard to break into. In that vein, Morales asked panelists what challenges they had faced in the past as they started their careers within the industry. 


Belgrader commented that when she first entered the music industry, she did not realize how fast-paced the environment would be. According to Belgrader, you can receive a project that needs to be completed just a few hours later, and you must get it done. 


When Watt got into the industry, she admits, she relatively did not know anything about music publishing. In such a high-risk environment, Watt faced severe imposter syndrome. However, she had mentors to help her along her journey and she ultimately found her way through the industry. 


A specific challenge Svendsen encountered when entering the industry was finding a position he ultimately enjoyed. It took him a while to navigate and find his path within music, but he could pivot and brush failure off his shoulders to continue within the industry. 


All panelists agreed that working in music publishing can be a grueling job sometimes, but there are rewarding moments, too. 


For Belgrader, the most satisfying moments are those when the client takes time to thank her for the work she’s done for them. Oftentimes in the industry, a simple ‘thank you’ falls by the wayside, so it is always heartwarming when a client shows appreciation. 


Watt commented that the most rewarding experience is when she can repair a relationship with a client that has gone south. Since music publishing is an intense industry, emotions can run high and relationships can deteriorate.  However, taking purposeful steps to repair those relationships sets Watt apart from other music publishing entities. Solving problems and resolving client tensions is a special kind of customer service that Watt finds gratifying. 


Svendsen talked about his heartwarming experience when he worked on the infamous film La La Land . As the film’s senior music coordinator, Svendsen oversaw many musical operations, including choosing the movie’s composer, Justin Hurwitz. 


When Hurwtiz won the Oscar for Best Original Song in 2017, he actually shouted out Svendsen in his acceptance speech. This moment, according to Svendsen, was quite emotional and very rewarding. 


The evening concluded with a special networking session between the panelists and paid MIC members.