Twitter Takeover – Michael Kauffman ’86

This fall the Career Center is continuing the Takeovers of our Twitter account by the best and brightest Temple students and alumni who will walk us through a ‘day in the life’ at their internship or job. Our next Takeover takes place on Tuesday, November 15 and features Temple alum Michael Kauffman, a 1986 graduate of the School of Theater, Film and Media Arts! Learn a little more about Michael below, and make sure you’re following @templecareers on Twitter on Tuesday!

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What year did you graduate from Temple and what was your major?

1986, Radio-TV-Film

What is your current job, and what does it entail?

I’m a consultant who provides marketing and business support for clients from start-ups to corporations. Currently I’m spearheading partnership sales and marketing for The Music Business Association, a membership-based B2B trade organization that serves the music industry and ecosystem. In addition to a variety of on-going programs and resources for members, we host an annual conference, Music Biz 2017 to be held next May in Nashville, attended by 1500+ decision-makers at labels, distributors, stores, publishers, societies, streaming, information technology and internet radio services, agencies, brands, audience development & artist management companies, universities & educational organizations, and accounting & legal firms.

What career path led you to where you are now?

After graduation, I embarked on a career in music through advertising and sales roles at retailers (Sound Warehouse), record labels (Verve, Windham Hill) and distribution companies (Universal Music Group, Bertelsmann Music Group) which took me to Chicago and then back east to New York City. I was fortunate to work with amazing mentors like Tommy LiPuma at Verve and with legendary artists like Diana Krall, Herbie Hancock, Natalie Cole, Jamie Cullum, Al Jarreau, George Benson and many, many others. My work during this timeframe also focused on launching classic catalog recordings from icons like Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and John Coltrane and partnering with retailers like Tower Records, Borders, Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Virgin, Starbucks and independent record stores, to bring this music to the marketplace.

After leaving Universal Music Group, I transitioned away beyond the sales side by overseeing corporate communications, marketing and social media strategy at start-ups like the HiFive Group, which I co-founded, and RightsFlow, a music licensing and rights management firm which was acquired by Google. While at Google I was in a corporate communications role before shifting to the YouTube marketing team where I was involved in developing a variety of support, resources, and workshop initiatives for artists and music partners like the YouTube for Artists portal. These experiences all uniquely contributed to my expertise and passion for telling compelling stories, creating fun experiences, and developing successful marketing strategies to connect creators with fans.

What part of your experience at Temple best prepared you for the real world?

Temple provided me with both real-world inspiration and street smarts that were filtered through a diverse and robust community of fellow students and top-tier instructors. It was a fertile environment for me where I could experiment, participate and learn about a broad spectrum of entertainment career options.

Given what you know now, what pieces of advice do you have for Temple students?

Try different things and different career roles via interships and any other opportunities you can find to develop your chops. Use existing social channels to learn, connect and network. Create often. Travel and collect experiences while developing a point of view.

Create some more. Temple faculty and its student body are incredibly diverse and accomplished — listen, read and investigate the dynamic art and culture that is pouring out of the community and the city. While in school, I was involved in the marching and pep bands, produced and hosted an off-campus radio show, promoted concerts and dance parties, and acted as a free PR liason for a variety of music festivals.

Volunteer work can provide amazing experiences and inspiration, so seek ways to find and fuel your passion. I thought I wanted to be a filmmaker, but through my various side projects, I ended up discovering how much I enjoyed working with music and helping artists connect with fans. That created the spark that launched my career.  Think about where you want to go and then map out a plan to take steps in that direction: think about “What skills do I need to know?” “Who and where do I want to work?” “How is success defined for me?” Undoubtedly the plan will pivot, but it’s important to begin taking steps that get you involved with people who will become friends, mentors and colleagues.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Be curious. Block out time each week to dive into the classics: movies, music, books, games, restaurants… Google to find recommendations from people who inspire you. Let me know what you discover — I’d love to hear YOUR recommendations, so reach out and share them with me.

Are you on Instagram or Twitter? If so, can you provide your usernames for each?

@michaeljoel

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