Society of Leaders in Development (SOLID) recently concluded its second-annual Scholarship Marketing Competition, a pivotal educational experience for aspiring music business students. Sponsored generously by the International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA), the competition’s top prize was awarded to the student group that received the highest score on their marketing campaign presentation aligned with Cassadee Pope’s (Grammy-nominated artist) upcoming album and brand transition.

As an added value to the students, each team not only left with prize money based on their team placement, but also received an industry resource guide curated by SOLID’s Ambassadorship committee, offering a comprehensive toolkit for career advancement including job-hunting strategies, resume building and cover letter writing tips, recommended industry newsletters and more

“I was incredibly impressed with the students’ presentations and truly believe they all will find meaningful positions within the music industry,” said Pope. “Nobody has their ear to the ground like these students, and that was made very clear by their innovative ideas and attention to detail. I will absolutely be using some of what they pitched during my album promo!”

IEBA’s Executive Director, Pam Matthews, and Director of Operations, Jason Conner, provided valuable insight on the presentations, emphasizing their commitment to supporting students entering the industry. Judges included Rio Van Risseghem (The Orchard), Amanda Quinton (Quinton Digital), Grace Hawkins (Quinton Digital), Lyndsey McFarlane (Quinton Digital) and Cassadee herself.

Matthews stated, “We loved partnering with SOLID again this year. They’ve found a fresh approach to providing financial assistance to students preparing for a career in the entertainment industry. As important, they’re connecting with students in a generous and purposeful way. It’s easy to see their sincere commitment to supporting young people. Kudos to Melissa (SOLID Ambassadorship Chair), Jared (SOLID Ambassadorship co-Chair) and Sara Beth (SOLID Education Chair).”

Melissa Flaxman, SOLID’s 2023 Ambassadorship Chair, and co-Chair Jared Meyer transformed the competition into a hands-on platform, building off the visionary efforts of former Ambassadorship Chairs. What initially began as a standard scholarship application has flourished into an immersive environment for students to learn from music industry professionals. The core focus of the competition is fostering creativity and teamwork among students, while providing them opportunities to expand their network as they work towards a full-time position in the entertainment industry.

“It’s such an incredible experience to see what these students create in their final presentations. Seeing their growth from day one starting as strangers and how they adapt to work collaboratively and creatively as a unit gives me such confidence that we will be seeing their names again as leaders in the music industry as they graduate and grow in their careers,” said Flaxman.

President of SOLID, Erin Pettit, said, “This creative and innovative opportunity to lean into the next generation of this industry would not be possible without the hard work of Melissa and Jared, in tandem with scholarship support from IEBA. This program truly allows students to put what they’re learning in school to use with a hands on, real-time artist release where they get to also network with other students and industry professionals. Congratulations to all of the students who participated – we hope you gained valuable takeaways.”

This year’s competition expanded its reach beyond Belmont, MTSU and TSU by welcoming students from Vanderbilt. To provide even more value for participants, the event’s highlights included a dedicated networking lunch to facilitate interactions between students, SOLID members, and industry experts. This interaction cultivated meaningful relationships crucial for their future career endeavors. The winning team was comprised of students from MTSU, TSU, Belmont and Vanderbilt.

SOLID’s Scholarship Marketing Competition signifies the commitment of its current leaders to nurture the next wave of marketing professionals in the entertainment industry.