Just planning to go to a concert can be a headache—coordinating all your friends’ schedules, making sure to buy tickets for the same row, organizing travel to and from the venue. Can you imagine what goes into planning the actual event?
Diana Lease, a senior in the Music Industry program in Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, is getting her very own taste as a touring and events intern at Columbia Records.
Yes, Columbia Records—the record label that boasts Calvin Harris, John Legend, Adele, Bruce Springsteen, Tony Bennett and many more artists.
From Columbia’s offices in New York, Lease purchases, organizes and distributes concert tickets for press or promotional events, and frequently updates touring schedules for artists currently on the road, like Beyoncé and John Mayer. Because many of the artists on the label undertake national tours, she’s constantly in contact with venues and promoters throughout the country.
“I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to work in a position where I can help artists’ live performances be heard and seen by their fans,” Lease said.
Students in the music industry program usually have different co-op cycles than other Drexel students: Their cycle includes two three-month co-ops. Lease’s co-op at Columbia started in the middle of June and ends mid-September.
“I’ve learned about the different events surrounding a tour schedule such as promotional events, including TV performances, radio interviews, in-store and fan events,” Lease said. She’s also become versed in the many expenses involved in artists’ touring budgets, she said.
Drexel students’ past experiences are what sold Lease on the gig. After all, who could resist Sony Music Entertainment, one of the three biggest music companies in the world? Sony Music Entertainment owns 13 U.S. labels including Columbia, and Lease was such a fan of many of the artists on the Columbia roster that she knew where she wanted to be.
Lease has been able to find time for fun alongside all the work. She got to see Columbia’s band HAERTS open for Fitz and the Tantrums at The Fillmore at Irving Plaza in June. She’s still crossing her fingers for a chance to see some of her favorite bands on the label, including Daft Punk, Krewella and Passion Pit.
Lease said the combination of her Drexel classes and her co-op at Columbia has solidified her desire to pursue a career in the touring music industry.
This Philly student isn’t new to the Big Apple—a place where she can see herself living after college. Last summer, Lease worked as a catalog intern for Astralwerks Records, where she researched publishing agreements and prepared digital releases for groups such as Pet Shop Boys and Swedish House Mafia.
“You must be well-rounded in this industry,” she said. “No matter what department you are working in, you need to be able to understand the industry as a whole. I have always had a love for music, and the music industry program at Drexel as well as my experiences on co-op have made it that much more apparent that this is the industry I should be working in.”