Dave Rocco, Head of Artist Marketing and Label Services at Spotify, joined us for our newest installment of the Music Power Players series to talk about his career trajectory and offer advice to our aspiring industry professionals. 

Like many of our guests before him, Rocco has worked in various parts of the industry—including talent scouting, A&R, event production, radio syndication, and more—before landing his current job at Spotify. Throughout his winding and varied career, he learned that it is always okay to say that you don’t know. 

Now that he is at Spotify, Rocco takes care of a lot of big-picture things. He holds meetings with team leads about their needs and goals and meets with Spotify’s big artists to help build them successful campaigns. In terms of the future of Spotify, Rocco says one of his biggest goals  is to curate their own, unique brand.

When asked what advice he would give to our students, he emphasized the importance of being passionate and thinking big. Get the most education you can, hone your skills, know what value and skills you can bring to the table. Things are always going to change because you change and so does the world, so have goals that are wide and flexible and don’t be afraid to pivot. 

After finishing the moderated portion of the night, Dave generously answered every single question from the students in the audience on topics ranging from the role of social media in our society to advice on how to balance your work and personal life. We cannot thank him enough for joining us! 


Music Power Players with David Marcus

Our most recent guest for the Music Power Players series was David Marcus, Executive Vice President and Head of Music at Ticketmaster.

At Ticketmaster, Marcus helps the company sell 60 million tickets every year and put 500 touring artists on the road. His role is very “big-picture” oriented: he helps set the tone for his team and works on ways to make the artist and consumer experience better. Most recently, Marcus has worked on implementing Ticketmaster’s “Verified Fan” ticketing service to help limit the amount of tickets that are resold for outrageous prices on secondary markets.

Before coming to Ticketmaster, Marcus worked at a variety of jobs both in and out of the music industry. Throughout his various experiences working in IP law, radio, startups, and the emergence of the digital music space, Marcus learned to always “fake it till you make it.”

While answering questions from the students in the audience, Marcus left us with this piece of advice: “You gotta go for it. You gotta have confidence in your sense of the world. Make the world fit to your idea of what you think it should be.”

We would like to thank David Marcus for his time and his advice! We have more Music Power Players events coming soon; keep an eye out on our socials for more details.

Author: Kaitlyn Zorilla



In the first installment of MIC’s Music Power Players series, CAA’s Mitch Rose joined us to talk about his journey through the music industry. CAA, or Creative Artists Agency, is the world’s leading entertainment and sports agency. There, Mitch Rose is the Co-Head of Contemporary Music. He manages 100+ people in Los Angeles, Nashville, and London and works on putting bands on the road in successful ways.

When asked what advice he would give to college students trying to break into the music industry, he provided us with 10 life lessons:

  1. Learn how to connect with people.
  2. Failure is good! There is failure in life.  
  3. Don’t be afraid to take a stand.
  4. Learn how to read a situation and connect with the people involved. Make people like you!
  5. Make yourself an interesting person. Show off your passions. Learn about things outside of your comfort zone and talk to people about them.
  6. Always be truthful and no one will doubt you.
  7. Stop looking down at your device, look up! Life is happening around you.
  8. Learn how to work in a team. You have to be egoless and selfless.
  9. Learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Get away from thinking “well, this is what we’ve always done.”
  10. Don’t be afraid to show enthusiasm.

We are very grateful to Mitch Rose for giving us his time and wisdom. If you’re interested in working in the music industry, keep your eye out for more Music Power Players events hosted by MIC in the future.  

Author: Kaitlyn Zorilla


Office Hours with Este Haim


For our first Office Hours event of this school year, we were joined by Grammy nominated musician and UCLA alumna Este Haim. After graduating from UCLA in 2010 with a degree in Ethnomusicology, Este formed HAIM with her sisters Danielle and Alana. Since, they have released 2 albums and won countless awards, including the NME Award for Best International Band in 2014 and 2018. 

During our conversation with Este at the Ostin Recording Studio, she talked about her experience in the music industry, specifically what it means to be a woman in that space. She recalled going to all-boy jam sessions as a teenager and how she would always be skipped over. Of that experience, she says, “I remember being like: this needs to change. I don’t know when and I don’t know how, but this needs to change.” Years later, Este and her sisters work tirelessly to encourage and include women in their music-making process. She told us, “I want to specifically inspire women, and people in general, to be honest. Stand up for yourself, never stop believing in yourself.”

When asked about what advice she would give to someone trying to break into the industry, she shared many inspirational words with us. She says you need to have a goal and chase it, no matter what roadblocks come up along the way: “See it and believe it and never give up on it.” Always take the opportunity to network and collaborate with others because you never know what might come out of it. For musicians, Este emphasized the importance of knowing how to do it all: know how to write, record, and mix all of your music yourself. 

After answering questions from the audience, Este stayed around and talked to all the students, greeting and speaking to them with such genuine kindness and interest. We cannot thank Este enough for being our first guest of Office Hours this year and for giving us some of her time and wisdom! 

Author: Kaitlyn Zorilla

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Last Tuesday, Peter Petro of Crē•8 Music Academy spent the evening with UCLA students as part of MIC at UCLA’s Music Careers 101 series. 

After years spent working in various parts of the industry—including artist development, radio production, music supervision, and music journalism—Petro now works at the Director of Admissions at Crē•8 Music Academy, a partner of the renowned Westlake Recording Studios (Rihanna, The Chainsmokers, Jay Z, Adele, etc). Throughout his varied career, Petro has acquired extensive knowledge about the industry which he readily shared with our students. 

Before eagerly jumping into audience questions, Petro shared a few general pieces of advice. He started out by saying, “I want you guys to feel empowered that at any moment in your life you can do things and move yourselves forward in your interest in music.”  The rest of his personal advice took on the same optimistic tone. 


 “I want 

to knock out as many excuses as possible."

In terms of professional advice, Petro emphasized the importance of having successful interactions, finding and using leverage points, and creating competitive, professional products that fill a need in the industry or solve a problem. He presented four self-assessment questions that summarize his points perfectly: 

  1. How competitive is my product?
  2. Can it solve an important problem?
  3. Is my solution valuable and rare?
  4. How much does it cost (time, money, risk)? 

After finishing his extremely helpful Q&A session, Petro listened and gave feedback to a student who submitted his music for review, assessing the product using the questions above. 

We can’t thank Peter enough for spending his night here and sharing his knowledge and advice with us! Make sure to follow us on Instagram (@micatucla) to stay up to date on more talks in the Music Careers 101 series as well as all our other industry related events!


Author: Kaitlyn Zorilla 


Songwriting 101 with The Swaggernautz

On Monday night, the Music Industry Committee at UCLA hosted 20x Platinum producer-songwriters The Swaggernautz for an intimate Q&A session on The Hill. The duo, made up of Tat Tong and Jovany Javier, excitedly answered questions about their songwriting process, tips for succeeding in the music industry, and the importance of putting yourself out there. 

Both Tong and Javier started seriously pursuing music in their 20s and, once they began to collaborate, they realized they found something special. Since their inception in 2013, Tong and Javier have worked with artists like T-Pain, Troye Sivan, Kaskade, and Luis Fonsi. When asked how they got their careers off the ground, both emphasized the importance of networking at music events, sending out emails, collaborating with peers, and making music that feels right to you. Javier’s biggest advice to college students was, “Surround yourself with people and create. Do not wait for people to tell you. Figure out what you connect with and do that. Right now’s time.” 

The Swaggernautz’s catalog of hits, both domestic and global, shows that they are good at what they do. But what became apparent as soon as they starting speaking to our students was that they absolutely love it too. The combination of the two makes the future of their careers look extremely promising. 

Their success has also given them the platform to start helping others start their careers in this industry and we are extremely lucky to be recipients of their generosity. Not only did they spend their Monday night chatting with us, but they will be mentoring selected UCLA student musicians through a Songwriting Camp later this week as well. Check back here for more updates on this unique project coming soon! 

Connect with The Swaggernautz on Instagram (@theswaggernautz) and while you’re there, make sure you’re following us (@micatucla) so you can stay up to date on other events like this that MIC at UCLA is bringing to campus this year! 

Author: Kaitlyn Zorilla 


UCLA Ranked #1 U.S. Public University

UCLA has earned the title of the nation's top public university in the 2017-18 Times Higher Education World University Rankings!

Published on September 5th 2017, the report also ranked UCLA as the top 15th university in the world. These rankings consider a variety of performance indicators from knowledge transfer, student-to-faculty ratio and international outlook to the quality of teaching and research.

Go Bruins!