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Colleen Finnegan, AMD’11

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Perfect Mix: Style, savvy, and killer instincts have these women in the music industry headed straight to the top.
By Allison Tanenhaus via Northeastern Magazine
Photographs by AP Images: Brian Ach, Tony Avelar, and Joe Howell

Colleen Finnegan, AMD’11
Event Marketing Coordinator, Pandora

Colleen Finnegan was the kid who played in bands and penned concert reviews in high school. For her, becoming a music event promoter was as natural a choice as coming to Northeastern.

“I had never seen a school with such robust music industry programming,” says the music major with a business administration minor. Finnegan excelled in classes ranging from recording, venue management, and copyright law to economics, marketing, and finance.

Co-op didn’t hurt, either. Finnegan promoted bands like Guster and Fun via social media in the Boston office of Los Angeles-based record label Nettwerk; booked live shows at a Cambridge, Mass., nightclub; and even founded her own company, Four to the Floor Promotions, which nabbed rising-star acts such as Kid Sister and the Bodega Girls for popular dance nights.

After graduating, Finnegan picked up cred in sales positions at Boston’s Sonicbids, which connects bands with venues, and San Francisco’s social media powerhouse, Twitter. Then she got her big break at Pandora, beating out more than 1,000 other applicants.

As an event marketing coordinator, Finnegan manages Pandora-sponsored shows at hip festivals like SXSW and Coachella, and organizes events that bring emerging artists to cities where fans are based, and to Pandora HQ for intimate live sessions.

“Where I am now is central to what’s to come,” says Finnegan of the innovative environment. “Record sales are no longer the revenue stream they once were for musicians. Artists now rely on touring, events, and sponsorships, as well as Internet radio and other streaming services to get their music out there and make a living.”

Finnegan credits Northeastern for being such a fertile training ground for music industry majors. “So many of the women I had classes with are now wildly successful, completely unafraid to go out there and make names for themselves,” she says. “They’re smart and know what they’re after—and Northeastern empowered them to realize it.”