Lydia Bender is a coordinator for international marketing services and digital marketing at Sony Music in Manhattan, the second largest music label in the world. Having grown up outside of Kansas City, Kansas, it’s been a major lifestyle change for the Show Production and Music Business grad, but after catching up with her over lunch at Rockefeller Center, it’s hard to imagine a better fit.
“If you told me when I was in high school that I’d be here I would have hard stars in my eyes, I just wouldn’t have been able to believe it,” she says. “I almost don’t even know how it happened. I just worked like crazy, and I’ve had so many great experiences since.”
Lydia moved to New York City following Full Sail graduation with hopes of breaking into the business side of the music industry. After sending out resumes to her top companies, she landed a position with Sony Music Entertainment, which grew into her current role in the company’s International Marketing Department as a coordinator for both their digital marketing and marketing services teams.
As she explained, digital marketing involves creating a presence for Sony’s roster of artists through social media, YouTube, and other online media distribution outlets. Marketing services expands on that role by taking U.S. artists and helping push them to different countries overseas – everyone from Beyonce and Britney Spears, to recent pet project Foster the People.
“Whenever new music comes in we sort through it and send it out to places like China, Japan, or France – whatever market it might work best in,” she says. “I also handle our international websites for each artist, working with our teams in these countries to help coordinate their content. I’m really lucky doing international because it means that I get to work with artists across all our labels, like RCA, Epic, and Columbia, as well as all the smaller ones.”
As involved as all that sounds, it’s really just a basic outline when it comes to Lydia’s job at Sony. While technically an office job, it might just be the most unpredictable office job someone could land, as her actual workweek is full of the kind of random highlights that might only happen to most people once in a lifetime.
“You never really know what’s going to happen here,” she says. “We’ll always have a lot of cool work events, like mandatory new music listening sessions, or group outings to go to see bands – then suddenly that night you’re out at dinner in New York with these artists and their management. I’ve also met some great musicians in this building, and sometimes you’ll just see people like Susan Boyle, the American Idols, Will Smith, and Jay-Z randomly in the elevator. It’s hard not to get excited by all of that.”
A music fan since she can remember, Lydia still has trouble putting into words what it means to be in the heart of the industry at Sony Music. People often choose their careers to be close to the things that they love, and being able to have an active hand in the success of different artists, and even steer industry trends, isn’t lost on her.
“More than anything my favorite part about this is when I feel like I’ve helped an artist advance,” she says. “Like when Foster the People blew up, that was awesome. I put blood, sweat, and tears into that band, and to see it pay off how it did was a great feeling. It’s the same with any of the smaller bands coming out right now, where putting together a global website really helps them reach different audiences. When we can go from a band having a small group of fans to everybody knowing who they are – you can’t even explain how good that feels.”