In Jan­uary, North­eastern music industry major Madison Murphy bun­dled up to trek across some of southern Iceland’s most pic­turesque land­scapes, from the Sól­heima­jökull glacier to the famous Blue Lagoon. But this wasn’t a scenic tour of the country; it was part of a dream-​​come-​​true co-​​op in the music industry.

Murphy, AMD’18, joined the Ice­landic band Vök as they filmed the music video for their single, “Waiting.” Ignoring the frigid winds that she recalled at times turned her face bright red, Murphy col­lected a bulk of behind-​​the-​​scenes footage of the band and cre­ated a video she used to help pro­mote the single via social media.

This co-​​op helped me realize that I made the right deci­sion to go into the music industry.
— Madison Murphy, AMD’18

The video project only scratched the sur­face of her work on co-​​op. She spent the first three months of 2016 in Ice­land, dividing her time between working for two bands—Vök and Of Mon­sters and Men—and for Ice­land Music Export, which pro­motes the country’s music scene at home and abroad.

Most of the time the work I was doing didn’t feel like work,” Murphy said. “It was some­thing I wanted to do. I love these bands, and it was amazing to me that they were let­ting me work for them and be such a big part of what they were doing.”

Murphy man­aged Vök’s social media pres­ence and launched the band’s newsletter. She even joined the band for a few days in Ger­many on their month­long Euro­pean tour, doing more social media, helping with logis­tics around the band’s radio inter­views, and working mer­chan­dise tables.

At Ice­land Music Export, she worked on a project that involved pitching key music super­vi­sors in the U.S. enter­tain­ment industry on using Ice­landic music in tele­vi­sion shows. She kept track of all the com­mu­ni­ca­tions with these music pro­ducers and their needs with regard to using the music. In fact, she helped secure the place­ment of Vök’s “Waiting” in an episode of MTV’s Scream.

From industry net­working to observing the inner work­ings of a band’s tour, Murphy said, “I ended up learning so much more than I antic­i­pated, and it was quite overwhelming.”

Madison Murphy (second from right) with the band Vök after a show in Germany. Photo courtesy of Madison Murphy

Madison Murphy (second from right) with the band Vök after a show in Ger­many. Photo cour­tesy of Madison Murphy

Yet, all of this might not have been pos­sible without Murphy’s ambi­tion years ear­lier. In July 2012, while in high school, she founded the unof­fi­cial fan club for Of Mon­sters and Men—called Of Mon­sters and Men Army. She helped grow the fan club to 20,000 fol­lowers, and through this expe­ri­ence made inroads with the band—which even thanked the fan club in the booklet of their sopho­more album Beneath the Skin.

Murphy worked with the con­nec­tions she made with the band from the fan club—which she founded and ran for nearly three and a half years—to land her co-​​op in Ice­land. She plans to return there in Sep­tember for another three-​​month co-​​op with Vök and Of Mon­sters and Men, and she’s hoping to arrange a study abroad in Ice­land next year as well.

This co-​​op helped me realize that I made the right deci­sion to go into the music industry,” she said.