20 January 2021

Mark Dadic, Universal A&R: My Music Career & AIM

A Q&A with successful alumni.

The Australian Institute of Music’s community of like-minded music lovers make it one of the most connected student communities. All of AIM’s courses are about preparing students for a rapidly evolving music industry. Mark Dadic is a graduate of AIM’s Entertainment Management degree program and is now the Marketing and A&R Manager for Universal Music.

Mark Dadic – Marketing and A&R Manager, Universal Music

What does your role entail on a day-to-day basis?

Mark: My days are varied. A mix of actioning local marketing initiatives for both international (Republic Records, Island Records US and Def Jam US), and domestic (Def Jam ANZ) labels; balanced with A&R duties for Universal Music Australia.

The three most important lessons you learned at AIM:

Mark: The industry is very small and you’ll run into classmates often. If you’re after a steady 9-5 job, then you’re in the wrong place (but it’s mostly gigs and studio sessions so you can’t complain). Think global, act local.

The most transcendent, incredible moment of your career so far?

Mark: There have been many, but a moment that stands out was watching Juice WRLD perform from side of stage with a full band. Bittersweet as those Australian shows were his last before his untimely passing. RIP to a legend taken before his time.

An emerging trend in music that you think will become huge in future?

Mark: I have no doubt A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) will have its hand in every aspect of the industry in the future. It will be the next step in cutting out middlemen and further empowering new artists by removing expensive, time-consuming, and complicated processes from music creation to advertising work.

The most important qualities a music industry professional must have?

Mark: Personal: being able to adapt to new situations quickly. The music landscape is always shifting. Technical: Graphic design and video editing skills – budgets are often tight for upcoming artists so being able to go the extra yards for your artist to produce their vision is always an ace up the sleeve.

Why was your degree a great pathway to a music industry career?

Mark: Being taught by people who actually worked in the music industry who gave personal insights that a standard business degree lecturer wouldn’t. The internship program.

How is studying at AIM different to other educational institutions?

Mark: The flexibility and understanding that students have a life and commitments outside of studying, hands down. I honestly don’t think I would have graduated if AIM was run like a ‘traditional’ institution, it was a breath of fresh air.

How important is the community aspect of the experience?

Mark: I currently work with four of my classmates, where that same community vibe we had at AIM continues in our professional work. It really sets you up well for life post-study.

Matthew Tinkler – Musician / Composer & AIM Lecturer

What are the most important qualities that a successful composer / musician must have?

Matthew: A lot of jobs in this industry come through connections and a willingness to put yourself out there as a composer/musician. Decent interpersonal skills will go a long way in developing connections and getting your foot in the door.

Of course, being able to use a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) to produce basic demos also goes a long way. There are fast turnarounds in this industry and having the technical knowledge to be able to produce your own music is incredibly useful.

The three most important lessons you teach at AIM:

Matthew: The knowledge and tools to be able to fully realise the ideas they have in their head. How to give and receive constructive criticism. How to think critically and creatively about their own ideas, practice, and creations.

Why is composing THE most robust career path in a time of COVID?

Matthew: COVID has understandably thrown a huge wrench in the works for those who make their living performing. That said, composers and producers can do a lot of their work from the comfort of their own home or studio. Having a career path that doesn’t rely on live music means your work can be unaffected, and in fact even thrive. Just because performances aren’t as accessible as they used to be doesn’t mean that people stop consuming and appreciating music. In fact, I’d go even so far as to say that people are probably consuming and appreciating music even more, just in a different way!

What are the most common misconceptions about your music career?

Matthew: Thinking you’ll being able to do one thing, e.g. just be an instrumentalist, producer or composer. The reality is that you need to be able to wear so many different hats. At first this was pretty overwhelming, but then I started to see that I could begin to incorporate some of my other interests seamlessly with my musical practice and make it work!

How important is the community aspect of the AIM experience?

Matthew: AIM is founded on community, and a lot of the classes have an emphasis on collaboration. It is often about who you know and how you know them in this industry, so building up your connections is crucial to thriving in the music industry. From a teacher perspective, it’s important that the teachers are approachable and engaging for the students – something that all AIM teachers are fantastic at. I made a lot of good friends when I was a student at AIM, and I still find myself making great connections as a teacher! The community aspect of the AIM experience makes it a lot more fun to be a part of, which is really what it’s all about.

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AUTHOR

Christina Rowatt

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