Meet BA (Hons) Music Promotion graduate Carly Rockett. She spends her days overseeing the ticketing for Communion Music as Operations and Ticketing Manager. We caught up with her to find out more about what she’s been up to since graduation and her work at Communion Music.
Can you tell us about your journey from graduation to where you are now?
After graduation I did a lot of festival freelance work as an artist liaison, stage manager, basically any job where I felt I could gain some experience, and most importantly roles that would look good on my CV. At one of the festivals I was working at I ended up meeting Communion’s Head Of Live, we chatted whilst at the festival and a couple of weeks later I was invited to interview for an internship. After interning with Communion Presents for 3 months I was offered a full time job at the end.
My role has developed a lot over the 4 years I’ve worked at the company. I’m currently the Operations and Ticketing Manager overseeing 200+ shows a year, as well as the ticketing for a one day festival in West London.
Did you take on any internships/work experience while at Uni?
I was always very aware that my degree alone wasn’t necessarily going to secure me a job. I met a lot of passionate, talented people whilst studying and knew I could come up against any of them in a job interview.
I undertook a lot of festival freelance work, managed an artist and also worked as the Head of Events for the University Radio Station. All of these roles helped me develop professionally and I made great contacts too along the way.
“I was always very aware that my degree alone wasn’t necessarily going to secure me a job.”
You’ve had many different roles working at festivals. Did one role lead to another?
Reputation is really important in the music industry. If you take time to build good ones and work hard, you’ll find people remember you and may even put you forward for work. After working with the press team at Larmer Tree Festival, they asked me to work with them at Boomtown Fair too. It was really nice to know I’d done a good job the first time round!
What advice can you give to our students who do work experience at festivals?
Make the most of these opportunities. You will be surrounded by so many professionals, so network where you can. Make conversation with as many people as possible, give them your email address or ask for theirs so you can follow up after the event.
What does a Ticketing & Operations Manager do and what’s your usual day like?
A usual day for me is very email and admin-focused to begin with. I’ll be setting up shows for onsale, working with several ticket agents and venues ensuring information about a show is sent correctly and the show has a smooth onsale. Once a show is onsale I manage allocations and report the sales them to artists teams twice a week. There’s a lot of spreadsheets to maintain!
I oversee advancing of all our shows either directly in-house or via external show reps. This involves dealing with booking agents, tour managers and artist managers to ensure the show runs as smoothly as possible. Usually I’ll be advancing two to three shows a day.
There’s a lot of paperwork to submit to our accounts team, so I usually set aside a couple of hours each week to organise it before sending. I’m very passionate about finding new talent to bring onto our roster, so I set aside time each week to listen through recommendations I’ve been sent and keep on top of acts that blogs and music websites are talking about.
I’m usually then at shows in the evenings, either our own, or checking out new acts, so the working day is usually a long one.
Is your current position ‘the one’ for you or do you have any other goals in mind, too?
My job is very exciting and Communion are a relatively new promoter, we still have a lot of room to grow. My goals are very focused on my current role, I’m looking forward to bringing new artists onto our roster and helping develop their live careers.
Communion seems like a very tight-knit team. How do you suggest approaching these companies?
Although some companies may seem tight-knit it’s always worth approaching a company whose ethos you agree with and where you feel like you have something to contribute. Sometimes companies are looking to find the right candidate but at the right time, so don’t feel disheartened if they don’t have a job to offer you immediately as one may become available in the future. Concentrate on just being yourself and leaving a lasting good impression.
What’s the highlight of your career this far?
Working with so many incredible artists means there’s a lot of special moments! Personally working on the live campaign for James Bay was a highlight. Starting with The Slaughtered Lamb in November 2013 and building to four sold out shows at Hammersmith in March 2016, with over 20,000 tickets sold. The Hammersmith shows were one of the biggest campaigns I’d worked on at the time and it was great to see them all sold out.
Which qualities must a person have in order to succeed in the music industry?
Be confident in yourself and your decisions. Get to know everything about your role, ask questions all the time. Always treat people how you would want to be treated, you never know who you’re talking to!
“Always treat people how you would want to be treated, you never know who you’re talking to!”
Would you say it’s a ‘who you know’ industry?
In some circles it seems like that, but generally you just need to take time to build relationships.
What are your experiences as a woman in the music industry?
I work with lots of incredibly talented women across all areas of the industry every day.
The conversation around women working in the industry is sometimes very blame focused, so I think we need to have more open positive conversations around this topic. It’s my responsibility along with many others to encourage those who want to work in the industry by offering our experiences and advice.
There are lots of wonderful organisations and groups working to encourage women including She Said So and Let’s Be The Change.
Source: Blog | Southampton Solent University | Alumni spotlight: Talking music promotion with Carly Rockett