Ashley Brown - Business & Entrepreneurship Alumna - Music Business
Ashley graduated from Columbia in 2010 with a concentration in Music Business. Since then, she has worked at high profile festivals such as Lollapalooza, Riot Fest, Vans Warped Tour, North Coast Music Festival, and the Spring Awakening Music Festival. She is currently working with Alliance of Action Sports on event services for the Dew Tour.
How have the arts, entertainment or media been involved in your career since graduating?
I work in the entertainment industry. I found a passion in live events from my experience at Columbia College and have since been neck deep in live concerts and sports entertainment.
How did Columbia and the Music Business program prepare you for your career path?
Because of my experience at Columbia, I was able to leave college with a job. I was a student walking to get my diploma on Sunday, and Monday morning I walked into an office to begin my professional career. The skills I learned from classes, and also being the President of the Student Programming Board, helped me walk into interviews with an impressive resume and portfolio. I had experience booking shows, ordering credentials, managing a group of students, and traveling all over the world (I participated in AEMMP Records SXSW trip and the MIDEM class). I had the freedom to explore many different career paths while at Columbia through the Business & Entrepreneurship classes and found the perfect fit in live entertainment. There was no confusion when I graduated as to what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Have you crossed paths with any other Columbia alumni?
Absolutely. I have a network of Columbia students & alumni that I hire for music festivals all the time. My artist relations staff for Spring Awakening Music Festival consisted of four alumni (besides myself) and one current student. We have to stick together as alumni and when you find that group of kids doing stuff while you're in school, you're almost always guaranteed to run into them again during your professional career. The Chicago entertainment and music scene is a very small place. Everyone knows each other, or at least has one degree of separation. You can always trust someone recommended from Columbia because you've been through those classes; you know they come prepared with the right skill set.
What's your favorite Columbia memory?
Working with the Student Programming Board I was able to collaborate with our staff advisor and move the Biggest Mouth event off-campus to the Metro. We had outgrown the Conaway Center and were turning away hundreds of students who really wanted to support their artist friends who were performing. I was a part of the venue deals and all the planning logistics, and then watching the 1000+ students come out to an event off-campus that I produced was a really amazing moment. The fact that this event is still taking place many years later and we still maintain that partnership with the Metro is something that I am extremely proud of.
Any advice for current students?
Work your butt off while you're in college. Take as many internships as you possibly can and take classes you're interested in - there's so many great classes offered through the Business & Entrepreneurship department right now. The experience you get while you are a student is priceless, and those connections you make with your internship bosses and fellow students stick around. The other important part of that is to also never burn any bridges, you never know who you will need a favor from in the future, and this industry can feel extremely small sometimes.