Matchmakers in the Music Business with Jen Tanner
On episode 8 of Media and the Mix, Jen Tanner, Vice President of Global Brand Partnerships for RCA Records, joins host Grace Ibrahim and shares her path from American University (AU) to Billboard’s “Top 40 Under 40 List.” Tanner, an alumna of AU School of Communication (SOC), recounts how her time in undergrad paved the way to her current passions, and sheds light on the many opportunities that her 10-year career with RCA has given her.
When asked about her profession, Tanner calls herself “a matchmaker” who pairs the hottest artists of today with big name brands through genuine connections. From Doja Cat and Girls Who Code, to Pink and Stouffers, Tanner’s day-to-day is never the same as every partnership gives her a chance to open up a new channel of dialogue between an artist and their audience.
One of her favorite projects has been the opportunity to work with Girls Who Code to design a codable music video for Doja Cat’s “Woman” to showcase the fun of coding and introduce more young women to the field. Tanner’s never-ending curiosity and innovative pairing skills are just one of the many qualities that landed her on Variety’s “Hollywood New Leader” list, but she does admit this was not the career she had originally imagined for herself.
Tanner first came to AU in hopes of becoming a diplomat, but as her first semester came to an end, she realized that she needed to pursue a degree that she was truly passionate about. Throughout the next four years, Tanner would instead explore her interest in communications and music, obtaining a BA in Public Relations and a Minor in Music and Spanish.
Looking back, she deeply appreciates the fact that AU SOC required students to get a major or minor outside of communications because it allowed her to develop her interests in other fields.
Tanner also appreciated the abundance of internship opportunities in DC that allowed students like her to fully form a clear career path. From interning with MGS Communications, Sirius/XM Radio, the 9:30 Club, and DBC PR + New Media, Tanner discovered that the music industry is where she needed to be. If there is one piece of advice that helped her get to where she is now, it is to “figure out what will make you succeed.”