Chatting with Aranyaka Verma, Artist Development Consultant

“Behind the Show” is an ongoing series where we spotlight the work of people who help make concerts happen! Let us know who we should interview next: [email protected]

This week, we chatted with Aranyaka Verma. Aranyaka is currently an Artist Development Consultant. She also has experience as a Marketing Specialist for a NYC venue, and has completed numerous internships in Marketing and Corporate Development.

BP: How did you get your start in music? How did that lead to where you are now?

Aranyaka: I officially started my full time career in the music industry in 2017 when I joined NYU’s Music Business program. Before that, I was a performer and had dabbled in a few projects in college. As a part of my masters program, I had a chance to intern at Roc Nation, World Music Institute, and Superfly. Between my academic work and these experiences in three different sectors of the industry, I realized that I was in a great place to help artists navigate through multiple parts of the industry and decided to be an Artist Development Consultant, helping independent artists with marketing plans, social media strategy, and identifying income streams. It’s allowed me to be in tune with A&R and live music, while also being able to be my own boss. 

BP: You got your Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, and later returned to university for a Master’s in Music Business. Has your background in Engineering been useful to you in your music career? Did many of your peers in the Master’s program have non-music backgrounds as well?

Aranyaka: Absolutely. It has given me a unique intersectional skillset and perspective. We live in a world where tech drives music consumption and data sits at the heart of decision making. My background in engineering has provided me the foundation for data analysis and modelling, and has helped shape my approach to problem solving and qualitative analysis. 

Quite a few of my peers in the program came from non-music backgrounds – some were straight out of college with non-music majors, some had general business backgrounds, others came from economics, accounting, and finance.

BP: You’re currently working as an Artist Development Consultant. What does a typical day of work look like for you in this? How have your strategies shifted due to Coronavirus?

Aranyaka: The best part about my job is that no two days are the same. I usually schedule calls/meetings with my clients in the first part of the day and the second half is usually reserved for execution. Some of the things I usually do on a daily basis include Excel sheet updates and lots of browsing through social media (both clients and otherwise) to stay on top of trends and new opportunities.

Like everyone else in the industry, the loss of live music has taken a toll on my work as well, but the demand for social media analytics and content strategy has gone up which has been great for me as that’s my forte. More and more people are now open to working remotely which has also helped me reach out to clients from outside the New York City area.

BP: Making a living as an independent artist is as hard as ever with most concerts in 2020 being cancelled. What trends are you seeing from artists to try to replace their lost income?

Aranyaka: Apart from paid live streams, I’ve seen artists turn to taking masterclasses and regular music classes online which I think is brilliant. A lot of artists have also realized the value of sorting out their publishing and publishing administration, which is a welcome change. 

BP: You also worked as the Marketing Manager for NYC venue Mister Rogers. What would a typical day look like for you there? How did this changed during the pandemic?

Aranyaka: A lot of my work for Mister Rogers was remote. We usually had a team meeting every Monday to strategize for the coming few weeks and the rest of the week involved social media scheduling, asset collection, brainstorming content series, and community management. I would be at the venue for public events. Unfortunately, the physical space closed down after a few months into the pandemic.

BP: What’s the most challenging part of your work and what’s the most rewarding?

Aranyaka: Deciding the rate to quote a new client is probably the toughest part of my work. But the most rewarding is when the people you work with find value in your work and make an effort to establish strong working and personal relationships with you.

BP: What helps someone be successful in a marketing role for a venue? In artist development?

Aranyaka: First off, establishing relationships based on trust and open communication is crucial. In both roles, it is essential to be able to understand what you’re selling from an owner/creator’s perspective, and be able to find what works for the target audience within that vision. Audiences value authenticity and honesty, and you must pitch things well to them to cut through the noise online and grab their attention.

Second, always remember that while staying on top of trends is important, it is necessary to sort through those trends to find what works for your client. Not all trends work for everyone, and every trend needs to be tweaked to fit your client.

BP: What advice would you give someone who’s interested in either of these positions?

Aranyaka: Hang in there and trust yourself. The first few months are tough when you’re in the initial stages of pitching yourself and finding the right people to partner with to get things off the ground. Setbacks will be aplenty, but your work will cut through everything and speak for itself. 

BP: Bonus Fun Question- What artist (living or dead) would be your dream concert?

Aranyaka: Jimi Hendrix and Pandit Ravi Shankar together. 

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us, Aranyaka! Want to keep up with what Aranyaka is up to? Follow her on Instagram! You can also check out her recent article in Outlook about the effect of India’s TikTok ban on independent artists.

If you work behind the scenes in the live music industry (or know somebody who does) and want to share your story and perspective, visit our Contact Us page to let us know!

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