OHIO student gains real-world music industry experience through OHIO-in-LA program
Scrolling through TikTok and listening to comical sounds or catchy songs, users may not realize the amount of industry work and planning that goes on to create what they view on their screen. OHIO student Sophia Cardone is getting a taste of how the music industry is evolving alongside the booming app, which allows users to scroll through short clips accompanied by sounds and songs.
Cardone, a music production and recording industry major in OHIO’s School of Media Arts and Studies, is gaining a firsthand look at the industry while studying in sunny Los Angeles through the Scripps College of Communication OHIO-in-LA program.
Through the program, Cardone, who will be a junior this fall, secured an internship with VRTCL, a company that combines music marketing with influencer marketing to create viral content on TikTok. Through collaboration with the app’s influencer scene, the company runs campaigns using a song that is introduced by a label or music management team in order to increase the song’s popularity and bring attention to the artist.
“It’s a really interesting experience and something that a lot of people don’t realize behind the scenes on TikTok,” Cardone said.
Cardone helps to plan and run such campaigns, and tracks how well a song is being received on the app. She was surprised upon starting her internship, how many songs she knew that had already been advertised through VRTCL.
“For me personally when I first started the internship, I was looking through past campaigns that they’ve run and I was like, ‘wow, all of these songs I love listening to that I found on TikTok because they ran these campaigns with them,'" Cardone said.
As someone who has loved music her entire life, she is grateful to be able learn the innerworkings of the industry.
“I’m really glad that I’ve found this and that I’m doing it because it’s really opened my eyes with what you can do with music and social media. It has made me realize that so much of the music that we hear on social media is put there on purpose,” she said.
She found the internship through the help of a fellow Bobcat.
“One of the alums that was in the program last summer, interned at VRTCL and now has a full-time job there. I’ve worked closely with her. She sent out the information about the internship, and without that I wouldn’t have even know about the internship,” Cardone explained.
There are three OHIO alumni who work at VRTCL.
“I’ve really made a great relationship with them, even though I didn’t know them when they were at OU. I’ve made such great connections, and I think that’s one of the best parts of this,” she said.
Cardone strongly emphasized the importance of making connections, and how her internship has allowed her to connect with a wide range of fellow professionals.
She works fully remotely, and sometimes around the clock due to varying time zones.
Cardone acknowledged how OHIO’s music production and recording industry program helped prepare her for the role.
“One thing that I’ve definitely learned through the program is music marketing and knowing what you’re going into because it is a different way of doing things,” she said. “When it comes to music consumption, a lot of people have different tastes, so you have to know what kind of audiences you’re catering to. And I feel like that’s something we’ve focused on and looked a lot at.”
As someone who is working in the music industry, Cardone describes the business-side of the music industry, and its uniqueness as a media field as well.
“One class that was really influential for me was on the business of media and knowing how businesses work, how they run and how to be a good part of a business that is in the media industry,” Cardone said. “Learning about that has definitely helped me so much in doing all of this.”
Through the program, Cardone has received a firsthand look at her potential career in the industry that she may not have gained otherwise, and it has only motivated her to continue working hard.
“I would say being out in LA while doing this internship has kept me really focused on what I want to do and who I want to be," Cardone said.
She has also been able to explore other areas of media. She was the assistant director for the short film produced by all of the students in the OHIO-in-LA program.
“Being out here has really opened my eyes to all that there is in the industry," she explained.
Los Angeles is a hub for creatives and media professionals, and the OHIO-in-LA program allows Bobcats to immerse themselves in the fields that they may potentially work in.
“Being in LA there’s so many people that are in the media industry and being able to be so submerged in all of that has been such an amazing experience,” Cardone said.