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Max Kovalchuk, Stage AE and Sony Music Entertainment

SAEM student and music intern Max Kovalchuk. SAEM HOME | COURSE DESCRIPTIONS | INTERNSHIPS | CAREERS | STUDENTS | FACULTY

Background and area of interest

Growing up I was very much into sports and thought I possibly wanted to be a sports agent.  As I got older I started getting more into music. I loved finding new music to tell my friends about and it made me happy when I could introduce them to a band.  When it was time to decide what I wanted to do with my life, I was unsure just like mostly everyone else.  I looked at Point Park University since they had photography and really liked everything about the school. I then looked at more majors that Point Park offered and saw the sports, arts, and entertainment management program. I researched the major and met with Ed Traversari. After my visit to the school and meeting with Ed, I knew I wanted to work in music and attend Point Park. I started looking more into some different jobs in the music industry and decided I probably wanted to work at a record label.

How did you land internships with Stage AE and Sony Music Entertainment?

My internship at Stage AE began because I originally started working in guest services when the venue opened. I knew I wanted to get more involved at the venue so I applied for a marketing/promotion internship. I chose to intern at Stage AE because I had been working with the company for a few months and was impressed with their professionalism.  I realized this would be a great opportunity for me to get more involved and it would also be a way for me to see what it actually takes to put on concerts.

As far as my position with Sony Music Entertainment, it is not exactly an internship, but a job. I am the college marketing representative for the Pittsburgh area for Sony Music. I got this job because the Sony representative before me, Bret Kunash, worked with me in guest services at Stage AE and I asked him about his position there and what exactly he did. He gave me a breakdown of what he did for them and I thought this is exactly what I wanted to do. He told me he had to give up the position since he was graduating and he said he would put in a good word for me with Sony. He really helped me out by showing me the ropes. I had multiple interviews with Sony and eventually received the position there. With Bret helping me out, it made the transition into working for Sony much easier. I am extremely fortunate to be working for such a great company and for having an awesome opportunity to work for one of the largest record labels in the world. This is exactly what I want to do and it is the perfect chance for me to break into the industry.

What kinds of work are you responsible for at these internships?

For Stage AE, a typical week for me is completing anything the marketing/promotion supervisors need done. This includes entering data from surveys, hanging flyers in the venue for an upcoming show, making calls to ticket winners, going over ideas for ways to promote a specific band, strategically planning ways to have a presence for Stage AE at other events in Pittsburgh, and creating awareness of upcoming shows using social media. Once I leave the office I usually take a ticket giveaway box to one of the record stores in my market. One thing that I really love about this internship is that they encourage creativity. They are always looking for unique promotions to do at shows to give the fans a more memorable experience.

For Sony, I work closely with local independent record stores, lifestyle businesses and college campuses by distributing various promotional materials. I work on numerous marketing campaigns for current artists on the Sony Music record label, as well as Sony's sublabels. I build and manage relationships with clients, tour managers, venue owners, retail business owners and consumers. I also complete extensive marketing research reports of attended events and finished promotions that are sent directly to label executives and artist management. Also, at least every two weeks I cover a show for a Sony artist.  After the show I try to meet with the band to let them know that they have label support at the show. When I get back from the show, I put together a tour recap. This includes all of my market set up as well as pictures and a review of the concert including who the demographic was and what the venue was like.

What lessons have you learned so far?

I learned that it really is all about who you know in this industry. The better connected you are to people already in the industry, the better off you will be. You have to be able to build and maintain relationships with people and you can’t burn any bridges in the process because you might need that person later on down the road or that person might end up being your boss. Be sincere and work as hard as you can. People notice a good worker. Take advantage of the opportunities that you have. Pittsburgh is a perfect city for a major like this.  It has all of those industries, so any way you choose to go you have options. Some of the best advice I got from a friend in the industry was don’t be too good for anything. We’re all just starting off and sometimes that means you have to be willing to do things that no one else wants to do. Step up and offer to help out every chance you get.

What are your future career goals?

Once I graduate college, I am hoping to work for a record label. I would work in any position for a label but ultimately I would love to work in A&R (Artist & Repertoire). I enjoy finding new bands and sharing them with other people.

More internship and career highlights from SAEM students and alumni:

Megan Beavis
Nick Ceraso
Amelia Johnston
Bryanna Kiselauskas
Bret Kunash
Jeff Morgan
Amy Schlierf
Nicole Townsend
April Weber

Read what students think .  Can you get a job in this field?  You bet!