Alumnus Eric Jones, Music Industry, is an Artist Manager for Darlingside, The Western Den, and Ballroom Thieves, a band he began working with during his last semester at Northeastern. He became familiar with the group through personal connections, and when he needed to record a band for his Recording II class, he ended up collaborating with them. As it turns out, they got to know each other quite well and continued working together for years to come.
“As we were hanging out, I started asking questions that they hadn’t really thought of yet, and even started giving advice and helping them get gigs,” described Eric. “That it quite literally how I started managing them and becoming an Artist Manager.”
After graduating from Northeastern, Eric ended up getting a full—time job with his first co-op employer, but still found time to continue helping the Ballroom Thieves.
“I began to notice a direct correlation between the amount of time I was putting into working for them and the profit I was making for the band and decided to go for it full-time and see what happens,” Eric explained.
Since then, a lot has happened! Throughout his career so far, he has managed the release of four full-length records and two EPs with three different record labels – and has overseen over 1,000 shows in 11 countries. Some highlights have included appearances at Newport Folk Festival, Boston Calling, NPR’s Tiny Desk and in The New Yorker. As you may have guessed, his job as an Artist Manager is fast-paced and involves a lot of interpersonal communication and coordination as he works to bring the business aspect to how musicians operate.
“It allows me to be a little bit creative in working with the artists on a daily basis, which I really value,” explained Eric.
Since each artist typically has its own team – including its record label, booking agents, publicist, radio team, publishers, touring personnel, and more – Eric’s role includes coordinating all of them so that they are moving the business forward together. These are folks who would not necessarily work with each other regularly on other projects, so Eric brings them all together as one team.
“My job is to be the center of it all and make sure the band’s career goals are realized,” he added. “I’ve found the pocket of the music industry that feels fulfilling to me. It allows me to be a little bit creative in working directly with the artists, since I’m the person on the team working closest with the artist on a daily basis, which I really value. My role is entrepreneurial as well; in a way, I am in charge of a small business, and that’s really exciting.”
All of Eric’s co-ops during his time at Northeastern helped prepare him for the multifaceted role he leads today, which is one of the reason he is now a co-op employer himself. He has had Northeastern students helping him since 2014, and enjoys giving them a first-hand look into his corner of the music industry.
As he reflects back on his experience at Northeastern and beyond, he encourages current students to consider how “you can earn a living doing a surprising number of things and if you have something you like and that you’re good at, you can probably make a living doing it! There are more career paths than you might consider when you start out in college.”
But that’s just a portion of what Eric has to say to our students – come hear the rest at the panel discussion with Eric, entitled Listen to the Music: Six Degrees of Northeastern-The Power of Connections, on October 25, from 6-8 p.m. 236 Richards Hall.