Why an MBA Is Useful in Record Promotions Jobs
In Chapter 8 of 15, Island Def Jam Records and its business of making big-time superstars provides Columbia University MBA Andy Epstein a platform to manage operations and budget within the record label promotions group.
Erik Michielson: So now you manage operations in the Promotions Department of Island Def Jam records here in New York City. Tell me a bit more about your job. Andrew Epstein: Island Def Jam is one of the major record labels. Island is celebrating 50th anniversary Def Jam is 25th, everyone knows Def Jam and everyone knows Island records from Bob Marley to U2. The major label game is shifted but there's still our major big time record labels that are in the business of making big time, recording super stars. And part of that game is promotion is getting this artist out across the country and had many, many, many years. You can’t have a superstar, you can't have a Kanye West if 100 people aren’t hearing your song a week and that’s the promotion departments job is to make sure the song is heard and my job is to make sure that everything gets done and happens within a budget—I’m trying to keep an eye on a budget as part of my job. Erik Michielson: Sure. Andrew Epstein: My promotion department colleagues are salesman, trying to promote, promote, promote, sell, sell, sell. This is hot, this is what you got to know about and then they call me up and say this is what I did. I made this deal, this deal, this deal and I say, oh man and we didn’t have any money for that deal. Okay, tell me again, let's figure out how we’re going to do this and I go through different things that they do and just make it work and make it work within the system. There are complaints, and there are budgets and there are finance and operations and the guys are out selling the music, they don’t worry about those things and they check back with me sometimes every couple of hours. This is what I’m doing. Okay, that’s going to be fine. Hold on, that’s not going to work. You’re going to slow it down there.