Learning the Business of Music

Clarinetist Courtney Sams

September 29, 2014—Courtney Sams, a junior majoring in clarinet performance, enjoyed a unique opportunity this summer, interning for Cheryl B. Engelhardt, founder of CBE Music.

Starting the company after a life on the road, founder Engelhardt and her company provide scores for films and commercials, as well as “sonic logos” for branding and advertising.

As part of her internship, Sams performed a mix of marketing, outreach, research, and social media, working directly with Engelhardt, a businessperson that Sams characterizes as “an innovative entrepreneur trying to find her niche in the music world.”

Much of Sams’ collaborations were via teleconference, as Engelhardt was based in Switzerland for the summer.

Communicating with film executives and ad agency creatives, Sams’ internship was about discovering new possibilities in music business beyond performing or teaching.

Sams, who has played clarinet since fifth grade, learned lessons in her internship that dovetail with the entrepreneurial spirit of a University of Oregon education in music.

“I learned the importance of self-promotion and marketing myself as a person and a musician,” explains Sams. “It’s important to reach out for opportunities rather than letting them fall into your lap,” she adds.

Sams and her team also created a video that served as a case study in evaluating what makes a video go viral. Working together to come up with the idea, the team developed the creative aspects and marketing plans, while Engelhardt composed the music.

“We then recorded it and filmed ourselves all from different parts of the world. If the video goes viral, that's besides the point, but we wanted to be creative and make something interesting that people would like,” explains Sams.

--Victoria Schmidt

Scroll down to view the video Sams and her colleagues created for CBE Music.