Your Next Stage Connects

Emerging Talents with Music Industry Professionals

By Ellie Hsu | News | November 17, 2023

Cover Illustration: First panel discussion that kicks off the event. Vicky Huang / Your Next Stage

News Reporter Ellie Hsu attends the second edition of Your Next Stage, a career conference for students interested in the music and events industry.

The second edition of Your Next Stage, a music and events career conference aiming to bridge the gap between students and the industry, was hosted at CREA on Oct. 5, 2023. The event attracted 190 attendees from diverse study backgrounds, including Law, Communication Science, Data Science, Business Administration, Psychology and more.

Students listening to one of the talks. Vicky Huang / Your Next Stage

Origins and Purpose

The event was founded in 2022 by three students at the University of Amsterdam — Rosalie Visser, Leila Hammoud and Luis Esteban. They received support from Next Stage Academy, an academy offering courses for people starting a career in the music industry.

According to Rosalie, a 21-year-old Business Administration graduate, the university is not really paying attention to the music industry as a serious business. Speaking from her experience as a Business Administration student, Rosalie explains that there’s only one course that mentions the music industry. Courses often collaborate with and mention more “classic” companies like Starbucks and KPMG instead of Spotify or Sony Music. 

“This [pattern of] ‘not taking it serious’ goes from the extent of not collaborating with a major [music] company […], [but also] not offering classes that are about entertainment business as much,” Rosalie says. She believes that the lack of attention towards the music and entertainment business limits students’ vision on what they can do with their careers.

As a young professional who is currently working as a Booking Coordinator at The Bullitt Agency, Rosalie started working in the music industry at the age of 16. She often receives questions about the music industry from her peers. Recognizing that many students are insecure about their first career steps, and feeling that she may not have all the answers, she decided to organize a career event and leverage her industry connections to address this gap.

A Multifaceted Program

The event consists of panels, talks and a networking carousel with 41 industry professionals. While the panel discusses broader topics related to the industry, the talks delve deeper into the specifics. The networking carousel allows attendees to speak one-on-one with the industry professionals. 

Prior to the event, the organizers send out more detailed information about the professionals, enabling the attendees to plan their networking effectively. The professionals are all experienced in their positions, and they come from varied study backgrounds, including law, psychology, and mathematics. Luis Esteban, a 23-year-old Communication Science student at the UvA, also points out that the number of female professionals was increased after taking feedback from the previous edition, including one talk that consisted only of female speakers.

Networking as the Linchpin

According to Luis, networking is one of the main benefits for the attendees. As they understand the difficulty of reaching out to industry professionals, Your Next Stage offers an easier way to make the first step. The importance of networking is repeatedly emphasized by the industry professionals throughout the event.

Guidance from Industry Titans

On top of networking, the professionals also provided other tips for students who want to enter the music and events industry. Carlos van Erven, currently the Head of LASER (a sub-label of Son Music), says he looks for those who are persistent, creative and hardworking. He stresses the importance of these qualities based on his personal experience. 

“There’s endless opportunities to showcase your hard work, it’s not only through a job […], it’s also through putting in extra effort,” said Carlos. When he first started, he was rejected and was asked to ‘maybe try in a year.’ He set an alarm and responded to that email exactly one year later. His persistence got him an opportunity. He also created an Instagram music page that talked about his favorite artist for one year, and this stood out to the recruiter at the interview. 

Enlightenment Through Your Next Stage

Since last year’s edition, a few students have successfully landed an internship position through the networks obtained at the event. This year, the organizers hope that more students get inspired, get some advice and make new connections.

One of the attendees, Maurits van der Roest, an Entertainment Communication student at the UvA, shares his feedback on the event. He states that Your Next Stage provides valuable insight into the “obscure world” of the music industry — about how it works, what happens behind the scenes, who does what and why it happens.

First panel of the event with Rosalie Visser as the moderator and Carlos van Erven as one of the speakers. Vicky Huang / Your Next Stage

A Continuum of Support

Rosalie suggests attendees follow up with the professionals and do not hesitate to reach out to Your Next Stage and Next Stage Academy, as they are there to support the newcomers in the scene and guide people in the right direction. They are passionate about continuing to host the event, potentially passing it on to new hands and expanding it to other institutions to make it more easily accessible for everyone.

Ellie Hsu is a university student in Amsterdam. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of The Amsterdammer. 

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