By Alice Macedo
The year 2020 has brought with it so many challenges. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 125 major companies, with at least 500 employees, have filed for bankruptcy. Among those are airlines, such as LATAM, Avianca and Aeromexico, performance groups like Cirque du Soleil and department stores including JC Penney and Neiman Marcus. The music industry has also been going through a lot of struggles since live performances and events are currently unsafe, pondering that the agglomeration of people is the main form of spreading out the Coronavirus.
The music business had to adapt in order to continue to provide entertainment and jobs to people around the world. With that came live stream concerts and conference calls. However, a lot of opportunities faded, especially for students seeking to start a career or get a summer internship to build up their resumés. With that in mind, a Science in Business Administration undergraduate from the University of Florida, Danielle Gray, came up with the Quarantine Marketing Battle.
In March, when the pandemic hit and everything came to a complete halt, Danielle saw her chances of working in a music industry company during the summer going away. It occurred to her that job recruiters, in the future, would probably ask students what they did during quarantine, so, she thought of a personal goal – to create marketing plans for different artists. When she proposed a “battle” to colleagues, a lot of whom had also lost their summer plans, they showed a great deal of interest in it. Later, after seeing so many students’ internships getting cancelled, Gray thought “Why not make this open to the entire country?”
While developing the idea, she contacted some friends, mentors and professors in the industry, for feedback and help spreading the word to other colleges, and as well as getting artists and their teams on board. Through that, Danielle gathered over 100 students from 25 different universities (Berklee College of Music, NYU, USC, Full Sail University, SUNY Oneonta) and even a participant from Poland. They were divided into groups, in which they selected one of the three artists provided – Jukebox the Ghost, Duke & Jones and seeyousoon. Each of the artists had a specific goal that they would like to see in the marketing plan. And the team with the most creative and thorough campaign would win the battle, and get the chance to have the artists execute it.
After a couple of weeks of brainstorming, mentoring, preparation and organization, each group presented their plan to a conference call, in which the judges, the artists and their managers sat to watch and give feedback. Each team received a grade and comments on their ideas and proposals.
Danielle believes this was a great opportunity to connect people, help students develop their portfolios and skills, and network with other like-minded individuals and professionals.
“I created this due to COVID-19 halting many summer internships. It’s important for students to know that even though COVID-19 impacted many music industry internships, there are still ways to get involved at home.” – said Gray – “that’s how the Quarantine Marketing Battle was born. It escalated from a personal goal to a battle containing students from across the country.”
The project had such high demand that the student is currently preparing and accepting submissions for a second round this Fall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interview with Danielle Gray conducted by writer Alice Macedo.