Women in Music
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Women in Music

Interview with Milica Cuckic, USA Business Development at BMAT Music Innovators

Milica is an experienced music industry professional with 11 years of demonstrated success working on customer relations and business development. The roster of diverse partners she has worked with includes, but is not limited to international music and tech companies. Due to her extensive knowledge of the entertainment industry ecosystem (players, trends, business solutions, rights management, etc), she has been involved with negotiating and closing many deals in the world of sync licensing, music monitoring and tracking, as well as artist marketing campaigns. She was a featured speaker at SXSW, House of Blues — Music Forward Foundation, MONDO NYC conference, CD BABY DIY Musician Conference in Austin, Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU etc.

How did you get your start in the music industry?

I was doing an exchange program semester at SMU in Dallas, Texas where I truly had an “epiphany” that I could actually have a career in the music business. I took several courses that inspired me and made me realize that there are so many jobs and unknown things to me in this industry which I was curious to learn about, due to my passion for music. So I sent resumes to several music companies looking for an internship in NYC and Los Angeles. Soon I was accepted for an internship at Promotions Department of System Recordings, electronic record label and moved to NYC. That was the very start of my journey.

What have you been working on lately?

In my current role with BMAT Music Innovators, I work on building new partnerships with PROs, labels and publishers to provide them with music monitoring data from radios, tvs, venues. This includes testing new pilots using our in-house audio fingerprinting solution and enhancing the metadata accuracy of songs database all together. We work with over 100 Collecting societies worldwide ( SACEM, PRS, GMR, SIAE to name a few) and over 2000 record labels and publishers. Knowing that what I do helps the songwriter and the artist get compensated more accurately is what drives me to deliver more in this role. I am also working on setting my own label, Inat Records — a true passion project of mine!

What is your ultimate goal and how are you working to accomplish it?

My ultimate goal is to continue to grow professionally and never lose that sparkle for the intricacies of the music industry. While I can’t pinpoint the specific projects/domains of the music business I’ll be working on (I actually see the beauty in that “uncertainty”), I hope to remain as enthusiastic and as passionate about its trends, latest innovations, hot topics, collaborations etc. I want to be able to take that Billboard magazine , read its every single page or watch any Music Awards show from the beginning to the end with so much excitement even when I retire:) Every job can get repetitive and it’s easy to lose the drive along the way, but if I can still have that piece of curiosity and eagerness to learn/discover/connect more in the music industry, I’ll feel very fulfilled. The ways I am cultivating that passion and working towards that goal is to always be engaged with the music community, the news : the good and the bad ones. I also focus on doing my best to advocate for music creators rights and making the overall ecosystem fairer and more transparent for them through my work and advocacy.

How has the current pandemic/crisis affected your work day-to-day, and what have you done to shift gears? What has been the greatest challenge? What has been the silver lining, if any?

I am used to working from home or co-sharing spaces, so this did not really affect my day-to-day significantly. I do miss attending industry events and speaking to people in person, as opposed to doing all these Zoom calls. Trying to replicate the experience of meeting and creating business opportunities online, as opposed to doing it organically at a conference has probably been the biggest challenge for me. I am interacting with people, but conversations simply do not have the same effect as when done in person. The silver lining is in being stimulated in a way to become more innovative and creative in these trying times. How do I shift my approach to reaching out to a lead, how do I tweak my project/products so it fits current needs better, how do I address potential delays? I think I have been forced to become more “resourceful” and “resilient” due to this pandemic . I see it as not necessarily a bad thing, so definitely some silver lining in that sense.

What advice would you give your younger self? What advice do you have for women entering your field?

Advice number one I would give to my younger self is to worry less. Things do fall in place if you work hard and put all your stamina into it. Sure, there are things, circumstances you cannot control, but worrying is only taking away your precious energy.

My advice for women entering this field is to be more assertive, more vocal and NETWORK 24/7. This is not a typical 9 to 5 job and you have to constantly be involved with the music community, attend industry events, ask questions, pull sleeves, write emails… that is how you build your reputation. This is the business made of contacts, so the sooner you realize that and have that mentality, the better it will be for your growth.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned being a part of the entertainment/music industries?

Be ready to always go an extra mile to be able to stand out. The industry is just so competitive and if you don’t want to take that job, there are other XXX people waiting in line to do it and get paid even less. The system relies on you being passionate about it and it unfortunately takes advantage of it. But on the positive side, it is one of the most changing and dynamic industries out there, so you will never be bored working in it.

How would you describe the current state of the music industry in 3 words?

Innovative, Saturated and Complicated:)

What is your favorite quote from a song and why?

“ Who knows what miracles, You can achieve, When you believe, somehow you will, You will when you believe” from “When You Believe “ by W. Houston and M. Carey.

The lyrics are very self-explanatory: there are no limits to what you can do if you believe in yourself and work hard towards your goals. Only YOU can push the story forward. And if you don’t believe in yourself, truly no one else will. The lyrics resonate with me a lot because I have been through SO MANY obstacles to land a job in the music industry. It was only because of my grit, stamina, perseverance ( sometimes bordering on stubbornness) and confidence that I managed to get in and stay in it after all those trials.

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