Alumni Interview with Matthew Santiago

Name: Matthew Santiago

Major at Berklee: Music Business/Management (Entrepreneurial)

Graduation Date: 2009

Professional Title: Engagement Manager

Employer: The Echo Nest


What are some of the accomplishments you’re most proud of in your career thus far? 

I started at the Echo Nest when it was a fifth of its current size. Watching the company grow and succeed while maintaining its culture is one of the best feelings ever. I’m simply proud to be working at the Echo Nest and being a part of such a talented team that is having a large effect on the industry.

What are the most challenging aspects of your current job?  

One of the most challenging aspects of my job is juggling a variety of tasks. There are constantly new products, features, and partners that need different amounts of attention. Understanding how to quickly understand these needs and appropriately prioritize new projects is crucial.

What would you say are the top requirements (skills, mind set, etc.) for someone entering this line of work? 

Hard work: put in the time and take the extra steps. If you see opportunity, take advantage of it. Self-motivation/reliance, being able to take the lead on a variety of projects even when you may not be 100 percent familiar with what the project entails.  

What would be a reasonable salary range to expect if I entered this field? What is the long-term potential? 

There is a heavy swing in the music tech industry depending if you’re working for an established technology company or a start-up, and depending on what additional experience you may have. I’ve seen salaries ranging from 32,000 to 45,000 for entry-level positions.

This industry has changed dramatically in the past five years. What have you seen from inside your company? Where do you think the changes will happen in the next five years? 

I feel the music industry is constantly in a state of change, mostly due to technological advances. This includes technology that helps facilitate the design and manufacturing of music products, to tools that have shaped how people make and record music, to applications that help users find new music in a pool of millions of tracks. Technology has always been what inspires and evolves the music industry and I strongly believe it will continue to. Making music has become more and more accessible, and I expect to continue seeing this shift, allowing people to have more control on what they listen to, how they listen, how they interact with the music, and how they make music a part of their life will evolve as our technology continues to evolve and become more accessible.

How has your Berklee experience prepared you for what you are doing today?  

I greatly appreciated my time at Berklee because it showed me that there is so much more learning that happens outside of the classroom. Spending time after class to talk with professors, working with other students on nonacademic projects, and going to many Berklee events allowed me to make a number of valuable connections that are responsible for my current position and skills. The welcome packet I received on my first day suggested I met one new person each day. While this goal may seem far-fetched, it’s a good one to keep in mind.

If you could offer just one piece of career advice to students, what would it be?  

Ask questions. They can turn into valuable conversations; worse case, you may learn something new.