Career Spotlight is a new interview series that focuses on regular people in the music industry and the jobs you might not hear much about—from publicists, artist managers, booking agents, label owners, and everything in between.
Career Spotlight: Matt Brown (Haulix)
What drove you to choose your career path?
The main reason I work in music is because it was music that first made me feel comfortable in my own skin. As as only child, I never had many friends growing up, but once we moved to a town with a music venue I slowly began to find my place in the world. Inside the darkened walls of that club, I could be myself, and I could scream or dance until I didn't have an ounce of energy left in my body. I could be myself, and as long as I wasn't hurting anyone people would accept me. I've never found that kind of open acceptance anywhere else on the planet, and that goes double for the world of jobs and careers. Music demands authenticity, while most industries require you to submit to their rules and guidelines. I like my freedom, and I can't imagine sacrificing what I have now for a cubicle or factory floor.
How did you go about getting your job? What kind of education and experience did you need?
My current job at Haulix came together largely as a result of my own curiosity with the company. I had been a fan of Haulix for many years, and one day I decided to reach out and inquire as to whether or not they needed any help. Matt Brown, the company founder, replied almost immediately. We sent a few emails in the days following that encounter and, within two weeks, I was hired.
What do you actually spend the majority of your time doing?
This is a good question. Most of my time is spent brainstorming and developing new ways for us to engage with clients. This often results in new blog or podcast content, but it also extends to press opportunities, speaking engagements, and the managing of cross-promotional efforts.
Matt, our founder, spends a lot of time speaking with clients (labels, pr, artists, etc.) about what they want and need from Haulix. I speak to the press who engage our platform through our clients and try to learn how we can improve their experience. Together, we speak to everyone as often as possible. Communication is job #1.
What misconceptions do people often have about your job?
Whenever you find yourself in a position that demands constant creativity it can often be hard to express just how you spend your time. It may take me three hours to create a piece of great content, but of those three hours only one is spent doing any actual writing. The rest is spent on research, including conversations with my peers in the industry. These conversations can range from a few minutes to an hour, and they often touch on many topics at once. I make notes of everything, putting aside any key information I may want to leverage later, and then try and work the relevant information into my piece. So many people think I simply develop an idea, write about it, then edit and publish, but in reality there are about half a dozen more steps in the creative process that no one really sees.
What are your average work hours?
I'm contracted to work 30 hours a week, but I often find myself putting in 40 or 50 depending on the work load. My daily routine includes two, three-hour sessions. These typically range from 8AM to 11 and 1pm to 4pm, with a one-hour break in the middle for lunch.
What personal tips and shortcuts have made your job easier?
The best tip I can give anyone in my position is to create and stick with content calendars. Planning four or more weeks ahead gives you an immense sense of relief from the typical pressure that comes with daily content creation, and it also allows you to make room to work on more 'big idea' stuff that may take longer than usual to complete.
What do you do differently from your coworkers or peers in the same profession?
The funny thing is, not a single one of our direct competitors have done anything to establishing a marketing presence or voice. From what I can tell, most don't even engage their clients on a regular basis. My job is all about our clients, as well as the people they depend on, and I make it my mission every day to assist them in carrying out the best promotional efforts possible.
Do you have any advice for people who need to enlist your services?
Haulix offers a free, 30-day trial to anyone interested in our service in exchange for signing up. If you would like more information before making that commitment, feel free to email me directly: 269-779-9488.
What's the worst part of the job and how do you deal with it?
The worst part of my job is knowledge I always need to be one step ahead of our competition. Haulix has done some amazing things since inception, and in many ways we have changed the way people think about promotional distribution platforms. That's something we're incredibly proud of, but in this constantly connected society our previous accomplishments are not enough to ensure longterm success. The Haulix team and I wake every morning knowing that people are looking to us to not only set the standard, but continuously raise it through further developments. We don't always know how we're going to do that, and it weighs on us from time to time.
All that said, I think I just described the most ideal 'worst problem' scenario ever. I essentially said we're so good we struggle with finding ways to be better, which I know may come across as a little bit arrogant, but it's true nonetheless. I take great pride in what we do, and I often stress over how to maintain our current level of quality while experimenting with new ways to improve our services.
What's the most enjoyable part of the job?
Interacting with the industry at large. I have a job that allows me to talk to both seasoned veterans and first-time interns, all of whom have a passion for music. What more could you ask for?
What kind of money can one expect to make at your job?
I'm not the kind of guy who likes to discuss salary. I'm not the richest of the rich, but I'm also not going hungry. I can pay my student loans, cover rent, keep food in the fridge, afford health care, and buy pretty much anything I want (within reason) without breaking too much of a sweat. I have to be conscious of my spending, but I don't have to restrict myself from having fun. I hope to make more in the future, as I'm sure everyone does, but I'm also happy with where I'm at.
How do you move up in your field?
Innovation. Find a way to do what we already do, only better. Bonus points if you can also make it more affordable without taking food out of developer's mouths.
What advice would you give to those aspiring to join your profession?
No one is going to do the work for you. If you want to be a part of this industry it is on you to make it happen. Whether you're from a small town or the city, it's on you. Start a blog, start a band, sell merch, manage artists, send press releases, start a podcast, join college radio, etc., etc. etc.
If you want to work in music, take a chance and start doing something that will put you on a path towards that goal. If you don't, no one else will.