Indiana Daily Student

Local independent label employees speak at IU Career Development Center series

When IU alumnus Jon Coombs first started interning at local independent music label Secretly Canadian, he came with the desire to become a part of the music industry. Just a month before he graduated last May, he asked if the label happened to be hiring.

He hardly thought he’d get a job, but wanted the interview experience, he said.
Coombs is now Project Manager/Label Assistant for the Secretly Canadian family.

Six Secretly Canadian employees – from co-owner Ben Swanson to Coombs to senior publicist Lucy Robinson – will be part of a panel discussion tonight at the Fine Arts Building.

The event is part of a series titled Art Works: Career Perspectives from Creative Professionals. Sara Pennington-Busick, IU Career Development Center’s associate director of employer relations, founded the series because she said she believed there was “a lack of professionally focused events that focused on creative sectors.”
Past speakers included NPR broadcasters, violinists and individuals from Broadway shows.

Along with Wes Erwin, senior assistant director at the Career Development Center, Pennington-Busick has a specific goal for tonight’s event.

“The whole purpose was not only to expose people to the music industry, but also to allow people to understand career paths,” she said.

Secretly Canadian was formed in 1996 by four IU alumni: brothers Chris and Ben Swanson, Jonathan Cargill and Eric Weddle. The founders believed in the quality of local bands, many of whom they saw at basement shows.

The rosters of Secretly Canadian and affiliated labels Jagjaguwar and Dead Oceans currently consist of local acts such as The Impossible Shapes, national performers such as Dirty Projectors and various international performers including Swedish singer Jens Lekman.

Ben Swanson noted his love for Bloomington, saying living in a smaller town can allow easier accessibility into the scene.

He stressed the importance of not only being in tune with local and regional music, but staying aware of what’s going on nationally and internationally.

Although it’s common advice, landing a good internship can be highly beneficial to making it in the music industry, Coombs said.

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