DAM Rock Musicians!!:
Being a digital asset management and archives intern at Sub Pop Records
Rachel Price, co-vice chairperson, SLA-UW
2nd year residential MLIS
I spent my summer doing a lot of learning…at one point I was juggling 5 jobs concurrently just to cover all my interests! This sounds terrifying, but it was actually insanely fun and I learned a lot. Today I will discuss one of the five hats I wore this summer, as an intern at Sub Pop Records.
The job title: Digital Asset Management and Archives Intern
The company: Sub Pop Records, an independent record label based in Seattle, Washington. Notably, one of the cooler places I have ever gotten the chance to work.
The status: 8 hours per week, unpaid. Rewarded with concert tickets, music, and t-shirts.
The nitty gritty: I came in one day per week and worked under Meghan Madonna, an iSchool MLIS alum. I spent my time split pretty evenly between three categories:
I updated the archival records (using Microsoft Access) with new album releases and physically archived new releases for preservation. This was a great chance to learn about developing archival best practices for a unique organization like Sub Pop, as they are still working out the details of how they want to go about preserving albums – such as where to store things, how many copies to preserve, and what parts of the packaging should be preserved.
Digital asset management:
Basically, this entailed looking at file structuring and storage and making sure it makes sense for our intended usage of the files. This involved a lot of renaming files, uploading huge file batches for digital content platforms, and working with file-naming best practices and implementing them. I also got my hands dirty entering metadata for audio files (like licensing codes, ISO country codes, rights-holders, and more).
Content management and strategy:
This was closely tied into the batch file transfers we were doing as a partnership with a digital music licensing platform. Essentially, we were using a content management system to create band pages to go along with audio tracks that we were uploading to the system, so I got to come up with a layout and content strategy to incorporate within each band page, then actually enter all the information (taking band bios and basic information from the Sub Pop documentation and putting it in this third party content management system). This entailed all the normal stuff – what is the necessary content, and what is the necessary metadata that goes along with this content (title, description, picture alt-tags, associated names to dedupe band names with different spellings, etc.)
There you have it! Life as an intern at Sub Pop was pretty cool, so if you ever get the chance to apply, I definitely recommend it! Internships are a great way to dabble in fields to better understand if it is something you think you might enjoy as a career when you’re done with your degree. The wider the variety of internships you can land, the better!