Caiti graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Music Business in 2010. Now she is a Marketing Director for Atlantic Records, where she oversees marketing campaigns for alternative artists like Portugal. The Man, Miike Snow, Alec Benjamin, Broods, Melanie Martinez, Charlotte Cardin, MILCK, Arlie, Jasmine Thompson, and HONNE. We caught up with Caiti to talk about Columbia and her career!
Can you share a quick version of your background and bio?
Like so many people in the music industry, the road to my current job was a pretty random, winding one. Growing up in Wisconsin I went to every concert I could find, meeting and befriending as many musicians, promoters, managers, roadies, etc. as I could. Through keeping in touch with those people and just being part of the Midwest music scene, I met the booker at Summerfest in Milwaukee and ended up helping him sift through hundreds of artist submissions for two years, which gave me the opportunity to network even more. After I left Columbia, I moved to New York where I interned at the indie label Mom & Pop, then got a job as an office assistant at an indie PR company, then briefly managed an artist (while bartending to make money), and then became a personal assistant to a popular musician (through a Craigslist ad!). I later got a job as a marketing assistant at Island Def Jam, got promoted in a year to Junior Product Manager, and worked with artists like Tove Lo and The Vamps from the very beginning of their careers. I moved over to Atlantic in 2015, where as a Marketing Director I oversee campaigns for Portugal. The Man, Broods, Melanie Martinez, Miike Snow, and many more.
If you had to summarize your experience at Atlantic Records in two sentences, what would you say?
Working at Atlantic Records is amazing – it’s like family here, and every employee (regardless of the department they work in or the level they’re at) is so passionate about music that you can feel it in the building. It’s hard work, but when you work in teams with friends it’s a lot of fun too.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities in your role?
I oversee marketing campaigns for alternative artists at the label – I create timelines for releases with A&R, communicate them to the company, and work with each department at the label plus artists and their managers to ensure we have a great campaign. Things that fall under that umbrella are getting to know the artists and their vision; scheduling releases with production; creating budgets; getting creative directors on board for artwork and photo shoots; linking artists with stylists and makeup artists; traveling to attend photo shoots, video shoots, and concerts; working with the merch team; identifying press targets with publicity; working with the digital department on creative campaigns with online partners; conveying campaign information to our international department so they can pass it along to other territories; working with our touring department to identify touring targets and schedule promo; teaming up with our sales department to identify streaming and retail targets, and the promotional opportunities within them; liaising with our video production department to make great music videos and content with our artists; feeding our radio team information and stats to help their radio campaigns; and generally being the main point of contact at the label for my artists and their managers. It’s a big job, and some of the responsibilities are much more fun than others, but I love it. Every single day is different.
Why did you choose to study Music Business at Columbia?
I actually studied journalism at UW-Madison for two years before transferring to Columbia – I realized that I didn’t want to do anything but immerse myself in music and the industry around it. Columbia offered classes that were relevant to my dream career like management, music production, digital media, PR, music history, and so much more. I was so happy to be there learning things I knew would help me get to where I wanted to be.
Can you share one aspect of the Columbia experience that you found particularly valuable?
My Digital Media class with Justin Sinkovich was my favorite class – we studied all the music platforms that were relevant to the industry then – some of which are still around and some of which died out years ago. I’m aging myself a bit here, but we learned about Spotify before it was even available in the US! Digital is pretty much the only way people discover music now, so it was cool to have that jumpstart in knowledge before actually diving into the workplace.
What advice might you give to other students in the music performance or music business industry?
Network network network, and be as persistent (without being annoying), kind (without sucking up), grateful (to EVERYONE), and open to new opportunities as possible. Always work hard, go above and beyond expectations, and be SUPER organized. There are a LOT of strong personalities in the music industry, so learn to be perceptive about the wants and needs of your family and friends as training – listening, noting body language, and learning people’s strengths and weaknesses is very important in navigating through the industry. It’s a lot of work clawing up the ladder, but if you’re passionate, determined, and open to criticism, you can turn all of that into a career.