A Chat with Carianne Marshall

Ciera Barnett

One of the most anticipated events of GRAMMY Camp is always the board meeting where campers gather in small groups to have lunch with members of the Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter Board—industry professionals who are sure to have great expertise and experience working in the music industry.

While I expected this to be an extremely formal lunch - I even wore a dress - it was a walk in the park, literally. After gathering our food, eight other campers and I were directed to sit around a chair with a big number seven on it...in the grass. After a few minutes, we were greeted with a big smile from a woman named Carianne Marshall. As soon as she came over, she looked at the chair that was clearly meant to be her seat, sat her purse in it and said “I’m not sitting in this...that would be so awkward,” and she joined us on the ground.

Surprisingly, Carianne seemed as interested and excited to meet us as we were to meet her. She made a point to know each and every one of our names, as well as our backgrounds and goals for the future. She was sure to let us know that she truly cared and wanted to hear our voices rather than just talk at us about her job.

Now Carianne Marshall isn’t just any woman. She’s an extremely successful music industry executive with decades of experiences leading teams at both large and small music companies. In fact, she was named one of Billboard’s Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Music. Currently, Carianne oversees the west coast creative licensing staff of SONGS, which is a company in charge of placing music written by their contracted stable of lyricists in visual media such as film, video games and commercials, as well as advocating for some songs to be picked up and recorded by other artists.

Despite her major role in the industry, Carianne just genuinely wanted to hear from us when it came to topics in the music industry such as quality of music, streaming services and the pros and cons of being able to so easily only pick out music we’re interested in. She of course did give her own background and snippets about her work life. One point that she wanted us to understand is that while large music companies and labels certainly have benefits, they are just not capable of some things that smaller companies can do with ease, which was a big reason she decided to go to SONGS.

It didn’t feel like I was talking to an industry executive. When sitting with Carianne, it just felt like a group of music lovers talking about music. And that was the best part.

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