Table of Contents
Alison Stolpa is a Blogger and Music Writer who has held numerous positions across the music industry. After learning how to DJ at the University of Minnesota’s Radio K, she was hired as a Receptionist before working her way up to Program Director. While at Radio K, she also served as a co-host of the station’s popular weekly live local music show, Off the Record.
After college, Stolpa moved to London to attain an MA in the University of Westminster’s Management program. While in London, she served as an Intern for the Basement Jaxx’s Atlantic Jaxx label and Matthew Herbert’s Accidental Records label.
When she returned to the States, she worked as a Record Store Clerk at Electric Fetus in Minneapolis and Amoeba Records in Los Angeles. She has written for the Amoeba blog and worked as a Staff Writer on Amoeba’s Webby award-winning What’s in My Bag series.
She has also served as a guest contributor to the Reviler music blog. For about a decade, she served as a News Writer for the beloved Tiny Mix Tapes blog, writing under the pen name Liz Louche.
She has worked as a Publicist for indie label Modern Radio Records and for bi-coastal literary PR firm Hilsinger Mendelson West, where she worked on The Doors drummer John Densmore’s book, The Doors: Unhinged.
She has played in numerous bands and even done a short stint as a Background Singer.
University of Westminster
Music Business Management MA
Graduation with merit
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Magna cum laude
Member: Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society
Articles By Alison
Career Profiles by Alison
Baby, you're a star. Learn how Singers in a variety of genres got a foot in the door and built promising careers.
From the rave to the club, DJs get the party started. But how can an up-and-coming DJ get their start in this crowded field?
You've got an excellent ear for sound, you love collaborating with artists, and you've got the technical skills to hold it down in the studio. Here's how to become a Music Producer.
Are you the type of person who's always scribbling down lyrics and melodies on scraps of paper, in your notebook, and on your phone? Learn how to channel your skills to become a Songwriter.
The atmosphere is electric. You're behind the soundboard at one of the year's biggest concerts, making the stars on stage sound their best. Here's how to turn the dream into reality.
You've got a notepad bursting with insightful lyrics and catchy songs. You dream of writing lyrics for some of today's top artists. Learn how to turn your talents into a career as a Lyricist!
For many gear geeks, working as a Record Producer is the ultimate goal. Here's how one Producer went from fetching coffee to working with some of today's top acts.
You always know the hottest new artists first and you're a regular at performance venues around town. Here's how to turn your passion for discovering new talent into a career as an A&R Coordinator.
What do we mean when we talk about Roadies? Discover the many roles in sound, lighting, and instrument maintenance essential to making a concert work.
Music Therapists use the power of music to heal clients with a diverse range of interests. Learn more about a career where you can use your passion for music to help others!
Entertainment Attorneys handle all legal matters for musicians. This includes contractual agreements, negotiating, advice, and counseling.
Production Managers are responsible for all technical production elements of a live show, including sound, lighting, and staging.
Dreaming of a career backing up your favorite artists in the studio? If you've got the skills, we'll tell you how to pay the bills as a Session Musician.
Poster Artists design show posters for artists and music/lifestyle companies like record stores and concert venues.
Always got your camera at the ready each time you attend a show? Love snapping pics of your favorite band? Don't miss our advice on how to launch your career as a Music Photographer.
A Session Singer sings backup with artists or provides vocals for movie, commercial, and TV scores.
Mixes, edits, and syncs music to film. Serves as the technical and creative liaison between the Composer and filmmakers.
A Stage Manager makes sure the day-to-day operations of a concert hall or other musical venue run smoothly.
Music Historians research and write about musicians, instruments and musical genres in historical context.
Professional musicians who perform at corporate events, charity galas, holiday parties, weddings, and other private celebrations.
For some, traveling the open road is the only way to live. Discover what it takes to be a Tour Manager and what this essential behind-the-scenes role is really like.
Dance / Cover Band
Performs covers of popular songs so the audience can dance and have a good time at clubs, bars, casinos, lounges, and schools.
Negotiates terms to secure rights to songs, masters tracks, delivers songs to DSPs, and ensures projects are under budget.
Cruise Ship Musician
Anchors aweigh! Are you ready to embark on a musical career where you'll make friends from around the world, travel across oceans, and get paid to perform on the regular?
Sound Designers bring your favorite entertainment to life through careful use of music, sound effects, and audio engineering.
Promotion Managers serve as the head of the radio promotions department and are in charge of netting radio airplay for the label’s artists.
Public Relations Counselor
Public Relations Counselors write press releases, pitch stories to media, and schedule and coordinate interviews.
Works to get radio airplay for a label’s artists and sets up any on-air performances or promotional giveaways.
Musicologists study music in a historical, critical, or scientific context. The majority of Musicologists are employed by institutes of higher education, where they conduct research, publish papers, and teach college-level classes.
Director of Publicity
Oversees the Publicity Department at record labels and is responsible for formulating and managing publicity campaigns.
Works to make sure artists and record labels are represented positively to the general public. Also arranges press kits, campaigns, and more.
Creates press kits, writes press releases, and contacts media to secure coverage for artists and albums.
Artist Relations and Development Representative
Artist Relations and Development Representatives work with artists to cultivate and develop their careers, both artistically and financially.
Music Marketing Representative
Implements surveys for specific market analysis, and briefs radio stations and trade magazines on record sales.
Surveys consumer methods of purchasing, while analyzing and formulating consumer purchasing strategies.
Manages financial aspects of touring, including budgeting, reconciling show settlements, and negotiating band, crew, and vendor deals.
Tour Publicists work to secure regional interviews, show previews and concert reviews for every stop on an artist’s tour.
Music Business Accountant
Music Business Accountants advise and work with musicians and music industry companies on financial matters.
Regional Sales Manager
Oversees all aspects of marketing albums, including publicity and radio promotions. Also works with digital and physical distributors to ensure songs and albums are available for purchase.
A Drummer is a musician who provides rhythmic accompaniment in an ensemble or band using percussion instruments like drums, cymbals, and drumsticks.
The Advance Person travels to each city on a tour, days or weeks before the band and crew arrive, in order to quality-check facilities, accommodations, and promotional material.
Ever get songs from commercials stuck in your head? That's the particular skill of a Jingle Writer. Learn how to craft catchy-as-hell musical compositions that feature in online, radio, and TV advertisements.
Distributes merchandise and promotional materials to retailers and wholesale departments.
Music Supervisors find and license music to set the mood and convey emotion in films, commercials, video games, TV shows, mixed media, and for events.
Music Critics interview Musicians and review live performances and recorded albums for print or online media outlets.
District Supervisor of Music
Works with Teachers in a school district to coordinate music education curriculum and activities and ensure learning goals are being met.
College, Conservatory, or University Music Teacher
Educates students in music theory, history, composition, performance or music business studies at an institute of higher education.
Private Instrument Teacher
Music Teachers provide instruction in music performance and theory. They can teach one-on-one or in a group setting. Some Teachers specialize in only one instrument, while others instruct pupils in a range of different instruments.
Music Librarians answer reference questions, interact with the public, process donations, and help catalogue and sometime digitize collections.
Jazz Musicians are highly trained artists who perform original or repertoire jazz works in concert and in the recording studio.
Leads violin section of the orchestra, performs as a soloist, decides on bowings for the first violins, and works closely with the Conductor.
Music Video Director
Directs the action and leads the film crew on a video shoot to realize his or her creative vision for the video.
Leads a section of the orchestra, sometimes supervises rehearsals with the section, and assigns parts to musicians.
Licensing Representatives pitch music in their catalog for use in film, TV, commercials, movie trailers, and video games.
Managing Directors oversee the orchestra’s daily operations, strategic planning, and the different departments responsible for fundraising, event production, and so on.
An Accompanist (or Collaborative Pianist) is a Pianist who accompanies Singers, Dancers, and Instrumentalists for performances and rehearsals.
Audio Engineers produce recordings and live performances. They select and set up gear to get the sound the musicians want. After recording, they mix the tracks to create a song or album.
Orchestra Managers handle contracts with musicians, venues, and vendors. They also help manage rehearsals, event logistics, and operations personnel.
Director of Development
Oversees philanthropic and marketing support received from individuals, corporations, foundations and government agencies on behalf of the orchestra.
Talent Buyers book artists at a venue in hopes of drawing a large crowd and netting a profit for the club.
Subscriptions and Ticket Service Director
Manages the day-to-day operations of the ticketing offices, maintains the ticketing system, ensures patrons receive their tickets, and supervises the box office.
Director of Educational Activities
Education Directors plan, coordinate, and implement an orchestra’s educational community outreach programs for local children and adults.
Celebrity Bodyguards have seen it all and are willing to do anything to protect their famous clientele. Here's what it's like safeguarding musicians, Producers, and Singers.
Personnel Directors handle human resources for the orchestra, hiring musicians and ensuring their working conditions are up to par.
Choreographers create and teach dances to dancers to perform on stage during concert tours, theatrical performances, or film/TV projects.
Orchestral Music Librarian
Catalogs and orders music for the orchestra, assists Conductor by copying scores and sheet music.
Personal Assistant to Recording Artist
A Personal Assistant manages the day-to-day tasks of their employer’s business and personal lives.
Recording Artist Website Content Producer
Produces content for the record label and artist’s website, writes articles and updates site events.
Mastering Engineers ensure the sound quality of recorded music is consistent and well-mixed, creating the final, approved mix for albums before they’re sent out to be replicated and released to the public.
Band Directors oversee rehearsals and performances for a school’s athletic bands, including marching bands and pep bands. They also handle behind-the-scenes duties such as recruiting and budget planning.
Ethnomusicologists go into the field to learn about the musical practices of different groups, writing academic studies that frame musical traditions and movements through a sociocultural lens.
General Managers are the decisionmakers at a label, overseeing aspects of an album’s creation such as marketing, budgeting, distribution, and promotional shoots.
Imagine the thrill of hearing your musical compositions soundtracking your favorite TV shows, movies, commercials, and video games. Here's what you need to know about becoming a Composer.
Learns the ropes at a music business organization through administrative support and assistance on projects.
The Program Director manages and schedules station programming, and oversees the station’s various departments and staff.
Promotes a label’s artists through social media, online marketing campaigns, and organizing campus-area events.
A Music Blogger writes breaking music news stories to be posted on an online music blog.
Love sharing your favorite tunes with the people in your life? Learn how to become a Music Director! These radio pros shape the sound of their stations, adding top artists to the regular rotation and helping listeners discover fresh, new acts.
An Arranger reworks an existing musical composition for a live performance or studio recording, adapting the instrumentation, vocals, and harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic elements to create a new version of a song or musical composition.
Video Jockeys create video content and curate video playlists for concert performances, DJ nights, and live events.
Coordinates church choir, recruits singers, develops and trains musical talents, and selects music for performances.
A Pianist is a musician who plays the piano and other keyboard instruments, providing harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic elements in music, whether playing solo or as part of an ensemble, band, or orchestra.
A Marketing Coordinator handles tour, retail, and digital marketing opportunities for a record label and its artists.
Orchestrators transpose music and write scores based off a Composer’s initial draft or sketch.
Cantors provide inspiration through music for a synagogue’s congregation. They also take on other clergy duties such as teaching and working with families.
Music Web Designer
Web Designers use their creative skills to design the look and feel of websites for record labels and artists.
Director of A&R
The Director of A&R finds new artists, matches them with musical collaborators, and oversees the musical direction of the label.
Website Marketing Manager
Establishes a presence on the internet, markets and promotes the label and its artists, maintains and develops web campaigns, creates partnerships on the web and maintains publicity and press.
Concert Hall Marketing Director
Concert Hall Marketing Directors work to promote live events by sending email blasts, creating posters, advertising in local media, and overseeing the venue’s social media.
Guitar Technicians set up and maintain all stringed instruments while a band is on tour.
Mix Engineers mix the various sound elements of a track to balance the volume and improve audio quality.
Album Cover Designer
Album Cover Designers create cover art and layout for LPs and CDs based off an artist or label’s design ideas.
Video Game Composer
If you've got music composition skills and a deep love for video games, working as a Video Game Composer just might be your dream job.
Music Store Salesperson
Music Store Salespeople provide customer service for clientele shopping for musical instruments, both in the shop and online. They also assist with inventory maintenance and store upkeep.
Record Store Manager
Manages day-to-day operations, supervises workers, and opens and closes the store.
Assists recording professionals in the studio by positioning microphones, prepping mixes, carrying amps, and more.
Light shows have the power to wow an audience. They provide atmosphere, supercharge a concert-going experience, and generally make an artist's live show one you won't soon forget. Here's how to become a Lighting Technician.
Social Media Manager
Social Media Managers write and schedule content for an artist or music company’s social pages. They also interact with fans and provide customer service on the social sites they manage.
Want to help bands grow and reach their full potential? Here's how to become a Personal Manager.
On any given day, you might find a Background Singer harmonizing with a Rock Star in the studio or hanging out at the film studio where they're recording songs for a new soundtrack. Here's how to get a foot in the door in this ultra-competitive field.
Symphony Business Manager
Supervises general accounting, including accounts payable and receivable and sourcing competitive bidding for office equipment. Attends board meetings and staffs finance committees.
Musical Instrument Sales Representative
Instrument Sales Reps are responsible for visiting musical instrument retail stores in their territory, selling them instruments and sound gear, and completing sales paperwork.
Booking Agents are power players in the live music industry. Learn how they find clients, make deals, and set up tours.
Provides CDs, DVDs, and music merchandise to stores whose main business is not music industry related.
Looking for a career that combines your writing skills with your love for music? Music Journalists interview bands, chase stories, and review the hottest new albums.
Recording Studio Manager
Recording Studio Managers ensure the studio runs efficiently by overseeing building maintenance and studio prep ahead of sessions. They also book studio time for artists.
Concert Promoters are responsible for putting together every element of a show or festival experience. Here's how one Promoter broke into and built a career in this challenging yet rewarding field.
Music Teachers instruct elementary, junior high, or high school students in vocal and instrumental performance and music theory. They also lead various performance ensembles at the school, such as the marching band, choir, jazz band, and orchestra.
Signs Songwriters to write demos, then pitches these demos to artists and labels as possible cuts on their records. They also pitch recordings for use in film, TV, and commercials.
Festival Directors manage the behind-the-scenes logistics of the festival by working with vendors, city officials and on-site staff.
Pitches musical compositions to labels and artists for performance and recording.
Works with patients to help them recover from vocal damage and to make positive lifestyle and/or vocal behavior changes.
Helps rehabilitate patients with vocal disorders through voice therapy exercises.
The studio's your domain and capturing exquisite sound's your game. Here's what it's like to work as a Recording Engineer.
Musical Instrument Builder/Designer
Designs and builds instruments, either to be sold at their own shop or for a large instrument manufacturer.
Instrument Repair and Restoration Specialist
Repairs and restores broken or neglected musical instruments.
Got a piano emergency? As a Piano Tuner/Technician, you've got the intimate instrumental knowledge and fix-it skills to solve any problem.
If you want to party like a Rock Star, you've got to have the musical skill, passion, and determination of a Rock Star. Here's how some of today's top acts made it to the top.
Handles all personal and business related financial needs of music business clients, including taxes, tour budgets, investment strategy, and contract negotiation.