The first day I arrived at the Relapse Records office in Upper Darby, I was sure I was lost. I don’t take the bus often in Philly (there’s too many and I find the subway more convenient) and I like to avoid any stressful situations that involve pulling a chord to alert the driver of my stop. Anyways, when I got off the bus I saw a big warehouse attached to a kung-fu studio. I knew that was the building, but I was unsure of exactly where the entrance was. I called my supervisor, Bob, with whom I had previously communicated with, and he came out to meet me. I’m glad I didn’t attempt to find the door myself, because where Bob emerged from, I never would have guessed to head that way.
We introduced ourselves and Bob took me inside so I could take a tour. He introduced me to everyone else in the office which consisted of about 12 other people, working in 3 separate departments. Bob and I sat down to talk for awhile, mostly about the label and what bands they were focused on at the moment. He asked me about myself and how I ended up in Philly; as well as what he expected of me. After initial conversation, we went into the office and I cleared off a desk. Bob instructed me to log into my AIM account, since that would be the easiest and most convenient way to communicate with one another. And he was serious, some days after the initial ‘good-mornings’, I would sit down and not utter a single word to another person until we said our ‘good-nights’. Yet I had still accomplished a full days worth of work without speaking to another person! Some days I found that cool, other days I found it lonely.
As the weeks went on, I would engage in some pretty basic intern taks. File this, upload that, organize this, take the cardboard out to the dumpster. Sometimes when you’re sitting at a computer all day, it can be exciting to move around and stretch your legs. The Upper Darby office also acts as the domestic and international shipping headquarters for all vinyl and special order T-shirt orders from the Relapse website, so we do a heavy amount of packaging and shipping directly from the office. At first, you probably would not have wanted me to pack and tape up a delicate box for a vinyl order that needed to be shipped overseas. All of my boxes look like cardboard and packing tape got into a fight, and in the end the winner would be still undetermined because it just looked awful. Now, I have acquired the skills to perfectly fold, tape and ship these menacing 10” boxes with grace and ease. Hopefully this wont be the most beneficial experience I take away from this internship.
But the job isn’t all glamour and cardboard….90% of my time is spent working on projects in the marketing and promotions department, with the other 10% dedicated to helping out others in the office with smaller tasks. Since the music industry no longer operates like it used to, I feel that one of the greatest outcomes of this change is the amazing website : Bandcamp. This website allows any artist to upload their albums for free or whatever set price they deem fair enough, or for a donation price. And until I started this internship, I had barely heard of it let alone used it for entertainment purposes. SO when my supervisor gave me one of my first projects, which was to upload one bands new album, I panicked. I was stuck between a place of wanting to ask a million questions and just pretending I already knew what I was doing in order to impress him. After about 3 minutes of staring at the computer in fear, I just decided to figure it out myself. And it took me about a half an hour to do what now takes me all of 5 minutes. While I was basking in my accomplishment glory that day, my supervisor informed me that I managed to leave out the following: album art, artist description, social network links, ISRC codes and song titles. He saw the smile drift away from my face and told me not to worry because “it’s all a learning experience”.
I believe that my time so far at Relapse has influeced me to switch majors from Copywriting to Account Management. As the months went by, I noticed my interests gearing more towards promotions; and my leadership/initiative skills blossoming. I love writing, but I felt that the pool of jobs left over in the copy world were smaller and more difficult to enter into. Plus, I want to engage in artist management and promotions, so I just felt that this change in direction was more appropriate.
With only a few weeks left of the semester as well as this amazing internship, I look forward to the future and the opportunites/experiences this internship has given me.