Reminiscing about 2019 When Live Music Was Still Live – My Accomplishments

I wanted to write a post about my goals for this year but in this situation, I feel like writing about last year is way easier. Nobody knows what 2020 holds but I can easily share what I accomplished last year. Maybe it will even give some of you motivation to go after your own dreams after we recover from the pandemic.

Now more than ever I realize that I don’t have time to waste but I have to work my hardest to achieve my career goals in live music and touring. These goals, however, have sub-goals that support my efforts in becoming a better tour manager and being able to live off of working concerts.

2019 took me several steps toward my goals. I continued learning more about tour management and tour promotion by working local shows and interning for an independent record label. I acquired new skills in live music production that ultimately lead to new work opportunities. I finalized my studies in music business, graduated, and found my first mentor. All the time adding new skills to my resume and widening my professional network. 

Looking back, that’s quite much for one year! Let me recap 2019 in 5 main points and tell you more about each learning experience:

  1. Artist Management and Record Label Internship at Outerloop Group
  2. Tour Management, Pre-Production, and Advancing for Pablo Dylan
  3. Production and Stage Management Internship at Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles
  4. Production and Touring Mentorship with Matthew Himes
  5. Academic Certificate in Music Business from UCLA Extension

Artist Management and Record Label Internship at Outerloop Group

I started 2019 with a new internship at Outerloop Group. I was lucky to be introduced to Mike Mowery, the President and Managing Partner of Outerloop, through a mutual friend who works in music and agree on the internship during a Christmas party at the end of my first year in Los Angeles. Another example and a reminder of the importance of networking in this industry.

Outerloop Group is a 3-in-1 company that provides artist management, record label, and coaching services. By assisting their touring and tour promotion department with tasks related to Ice Nine Kills, one of the bands Mike has managed for years, the internship with Outerloop led me deeper into the business of artist management and record label practices.

Ice Nine Kills at The Belasco
Ice Nine Kills headlining show at The Belasco in Los Angeles, CA. Photo credit: Erika Pursiainen

During my time with Outerloop, I did an extensive social media audit for one of the Ice Nine Kills tours. This taught me a ton about social media and concert and tour promotion (among other promotional and communication efforts that were happening within the 223 social media accounts I was auditing). I also researched new performance opportunities in the band’s own scene by creating a database for horror and sci-fi conventions (Ice Nine Kills is a theatricore band that builds their music around horror stories). Furthermore, I learned more about how performing rights organizations operate by entering the band’s performances into the BMI Live system that collects royalties from their live concerts. 

This was a very rewarding experience and it was great combining learning and heavy metal that is close to my heart. Thank you, Mike, for having me and giving me the opportunity to learn from one of the best in the industry!

Tour Management, Pre-Production, and Advancing for Pablo Dylan

I started tour managing Pablo Dylan at the end of 2018 after the boss of my summer internship (in artist management), who’s is also Pablo’s Manager, read about my tour management experience on my blog and realized we could continue working together. 

We did 10 local one-off club shows together in California. I also helped with the pre-production and handled all advancing of the Ezra Bell / Pablo Dylan co-headlining tour 2019, in addition to advancing some fly-in shows that I couldn’t attend myself (total of 11 shows).

Tour managing Pablo and his band and crew taught me more about cooperation with local venues. Advancing lead me deeper into how different venues and promoters work and communicate when preparing for a show, and how to build relationships with venues and their staff. I was able to work with new venues for me, incl. Goldenvoice venues The Roxy Theatre in LA and Slim’s in San Francisco and AEG Presents Art Deco venue The Fox Theater in Pomona. 

Having the opportunity to be involved in and help with tour pre-production with Pablo’s management and publicity team widened my knowledge of teamwork and different roles and dynamics in getting ready for a tour.

Pablo Dylan with band and crew
Pablo Dylan with band and crew at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown, CA. Photo credit: Max Ziman

All in all, I gained a lot of very valuable information and got more experience in tour management under my belt. I’m forever thankful for Pablo’s Manager Chad Aroo Anderson of Aroo Industries for believing in me, trusting this important responsibility with me, and allowing me to grow with the team!

Production and Stage Management Internship at Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles

This summer internship was a really special one for me. So special that I want to tell you more about it in a separate post and also introduce some of the amazing people I had the privilege to work with. Thus, I try to be brief about the internship in this post and mainly summarize what I learned during the summer of 2019 at Levitt Pavilion. 

Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles is one of several non-profit venues across the US that are run by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation. By interning as part of the venue’s production team, I got a great overview of the production of an outdoor concert that was run pretty much as a small festival every Thursday through Sunday from the beginning of June to early September.

Because Levitt Pavilion is located at MacArthur Park, which is a public park in the Westlake area of LA, we had to build and tear down the stage daily. So, I got a lot of repetition and was exposed to different stage setups by working with various different types of artists, bands, and performing groups.  

My goal was to learn as much as I can about production to be able to grow as a tour manager. What I got out of my time with Levitt was way more than that and exceeded all my expectations.

In addition to working as a stagehand in the production crew, I was appointed as the stage manager and handled stage management from the third show I worked. As part of stage management, I was also responsible for backstage and talent management with the help of our hospitality crew. Furthermore, I distributed the credentials (wristbands) and provided the merchandise setups for all shows.

At the end of the summer when we were approaching our final show dates, I didn’t want the internship to end as I was enjoying my work so much. Fortunately, even if the internship ended, my amazing boss Matt who is now also my mentor (see the next point in this post) offered me work as a stagehand and stage manager with the events happening at Levitt outside of the summer shows.

I can’t be more pleased about my time with Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles. I want to thank Matt and our entire crew from the bottom of my heart for having me and treating me as an equal member of the team (which is not always the obvious case for women working in production, unfortunately)!

In case you missed it, I have already published two interviews with the Levitt staff: 

Production and Touring Mentorship with Matthew Himes

I had coffee with Matthew Himes, Director of Programming and Production and my boss at Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles, at the end of my internship to reflect on what I had learned and how to move on from there. During the discussion, I encouraged myself to ask if he would be willing to mentor me moving forward and I was so happy he said yes!

Me and my mentor
Me and my mentor Matt Himes after the last summer show 2019 at Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles. Photo credit: Andrew Perez

I respect Matt so much for all his openness and the information and knowledge he has been willing to share with me. I’m hoping one day to return some of the favors Matt has done to me, which there are quite many already, believe me… You can read more about Matt and his journey in the music industry later when I post my interview with him so stay tuned!

Academic Certificate in Music Business from UCLA Extension

I took a huge personal and professional leap of faith two years ago when I sold everything I owned, packed my bags, and moved to Los Angeles to study music business and become a tour manager. A year and a half, 10 courses and 4 internships later, I graduated and earned an academic certificate in music business from UCLA Extension. 

I ended up choosing the music business program at UCLA Extension because of several reasons. First, as a career changer, I wanted to study music business in particular to get a better understanding of how the music industry works. Second, I wanted the school to be located in the entertainment city of Los Angeles. Third, I wanted to have quality education at a respected school that would look good in my resume (which in the music industry isn’t as important as work experience but still valuable). Fourth, I wanted the program to offer both internships and OPT (Optional Practical Training, which allows me to work in the industry of my studies after graduation) so that I could gain more work experience. Fifth, I wanted the program to last a relatively limited time because I don’t have the time or the money to lose. And finally, I wanted the education to be affordable enough, compared to the reality that most education in my home country Finland is free for all, which I’m used to.

I haven’t regretted my decision and I can warmly recommend UCLA Extension’s music business academic certificate program to anyone interested in learning how to navigate the music industry.

There were, of course, other amazing experiences and moments in 2019. I volunteered at the Tour Link Pro conference in January that also organized the Women in Touring Summit for the first time. I attended NAMM again and met some very talented people. In October I flew to Nashville to see what the Touring Career Workshop was all about and reconnected with many industry contacts. I also did a lot of networking, had coffee/lunch/drinks with new people working in music, met so many amazing women working in the industry at gatherings organized for women by women, visited recording studios, went to a lot of shows and reconnected with touring crews, learned to play some bass, and more. What a year!

Looking back, after completing my studies, I’m confident that I made the right decision to move to LA. I’m on my way to my dream and even if the music is not live right now I have faith that it will, sooner or later, and I can continue from where I left off with my new career in live music and touring. In the meanwhile, I’m trying to stay active, educate myself more, network, and work on a new exciting project. Let’s make this time count!

right now: Rush

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