MTSU Department of Recording Industry students were the first students to work on a real national artist marketing campaign with the popular indie-rock group Manchester Orchestra as part of the Pandora Challenge: Music and Social Impact program on Oct. 9.
Real Industry, an organization that serves as a bridge between academia and industry for university students, held sessions in the morning and mid-afternoon for MTSU students, who will be charged with the challenge of creating a social media campaign to help 1 Million 4 Anna Foundation, which is dedicated to fighting Ewing sarcoma and supported by Manchester Orchestra.
The challenge utilized music, data, technology and marketing, and was one stop in a five-university tour sponsored by Pandora, to engage the next-generation of leaders in music business and marketing to achieve social impact. Other colleges involved are the University of Southern California, New York University, the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Stanford University.
Challenge participants will have access to Pandora’s Artist Marketing Platform (AMP), Next Big Sound and the 76 million monthly active listeners tuning into Pandora. They will devise ways to leverage AMP and data from Next Big Sound to engage Pandora’s listeners and bring awareness to the fight against Ewing sarcoma in young people with the 1 Million 4 Anna Foundation, having real-world impact and influence.
Real Industry has also conducted workshops at Stanford University, New York University, University of Michigan and other schools. This was its first time at MTSU.
“I am honored that Real Industry chose MTSU students to participate in their program. It will provide our students with real-world experience and exposure to data and best practices that they might otherwise receive,” said Beverly Keel, MTSU recording industry department chair.
“In addition, this day will be special because Manchester Orchestra is managed by Nashville’s Vector Management. One of our alums and former adjunct professor, Jon Romero, serves as Vector’s head of Digital Marketing and Strategy.”
Keel said Romero attended Monday’s event “to help our students succeed in this challenge.”
“The Pandora Challenge is a unique opportunity for MTSU students to work on a real-world artist marketing campaign with access to cutting-edge industry tools and massive music-streaming audiences,” said Jay LeBoeuf, executive director, Real Industry.
“Students leave having launched an impactful live campaign that goes beyond the artist to promote a social initiative, develop their portfolios, try out career roles, get mentored by industry leaders, and develop their professional networks” said Priya Shekar, program director.
In 2009, 16-year-old Anna Basso was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a bone and soft tissue cancer that primarily affects children and young adults. Her family created 1 Million 4 Anna in an attempt to heal her body and spirit. Family, friends and strangers alike pledged to pray for Anna every day at 12:12 p.m., resulting in more than 1 million prayers said in her name. Although Anna’s fight ended after 18 months, the foundation’s work carries on, as does Anna’s legacy.
Members of Manchester Orchestra are excited to have MTSU students working on social impact through music marketing.
“The Basso family is basically the reason that I create music,” said lead singer Andy Hull. “It’s about so much more than vanity and ticket sales. It’s about being a part of something that is bigger than you can even comprehend. Helping people without ever knowing you were helping them. When that happens, those people actually help you.”