Career Spotlight: Founder of Recess, Jack Shannon
Today’s Career Spotlight features insights from Recess Co-Founder, Jack Shannon, based in Los Angeles. Jack has worked and partnered with Kaskade, Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, Chainsmokers, Uber, Vice/Thump, Linkedin, Tinder and many more! Pay close attention to Jack and what he has to share, as it could help you land an EDM Job! Click here For open positions in the Electronic Music industry through our company directory.
Who are you and what is your background?
My name is Jack Shannon and I’m one of the co-founders of RECESS, a college media company that operates a music and ideas festival that brings successful entrepreneurs and the hottest acts in music to campuses across the country.
How did you get to where you are now?
I’m from Chicago originally. I went to Indiana University to study finance, but always had a strong passion for entertainment growing up, particularly movies. During college I read a Details Magazine article about Ryan Kavanaugh, whose company Relativity Media was co-financing entire slates of films for the major film studios. I called up Relativity’s main line and asked if I could come intern that summer only to be told that they had never had an intern but to stop by the office when I’m in LA and they would see if they had anything for me to do. So I got another internship with Morgan Freeman‘s production company that summer which allowed me to convince my parents to let me move out to LA for the summer. I don’t think Relativity thought I was going to actually show up but when I did, they gave me an internship and let me get Ryan’s coffee everyday while I spent the rest of the time reading pitch books in the back room and trying to absorb as much info as I could from the executives that would take the time to talk to me and explain things I didn’t understand.
It was one of the most exciting times in my life and I was instantly hooked on working in the entertainment business. I spent the next summer interning at MGM and Fox and moved out to LA right after I graduated. After a brief time working for Jerrry Bruckheimer as his 5th assistant I landed a job working in the UTA mailroom thanks to an Indiana alumni who put me up for the job. I spent a year a year and a half learning about the entertainment business at UTA which was an incredible experience where I met life long friends and absorbed a ton of information about how things actually work and deals get done.
When did you realize that you wanted a career in the music industry?
I honestly just kind of fell into the music business. My business partner Deuce Thevenow and myself threw our first concert while I was still at UTA. I was working nights and weekend on it while he was still back at our alma mater running things on the ground and promoting the show. We sold 5,000 to our first event which was LMFAO and Mike Posner. We thought it would be a side business and a nice way to make some extra money but after our show the next year where we sold 6,000 tickets to Pretty Lights and Chiddy Bang, we took an honest look at the business and decided we wanted to try and scale by expanding to college campuses across the country.
How did you work your way up to the position you currently have?
I learned a lot while working at UTA and applied that knowledge to our current company. The biggest challenge was making that initial leap and leaving the comfortable steady paycheck but I haven’t once regretted it.
What does your position at Recess entail?
I primarily work with our brand and media partners while Deuce focuses on operations and executing the tour. It’s great to work with someone with complimentary skills so you are each able to focus on what you do best.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
I love watching young student entrepreneurs pitch their businesses during the Pitch portion of our event. And also getting to help them by making intros to potential investors, advisers and mentors. I still love the concert side of the business as well but it’s working with passionate, driven young founders that gets me excited to wake up everyday and do what we are doing.
Least favorite aspect?
All the little aspects of running a business that aren’t fun, that are actually big aspects of running a business like accounting, payroll, HR, etc.
If you could change one part about the work you do, what would it be?
I want to amplify it and scale it bigger so we can reach more students and help more founders. We are working on that now 🙂
Is working in the music industry as cut-throat and challenging as many people make it out to be?
I don’t think it’s necessary cut throat. It’s definitely challenging and political. Whether you are working at a label, agency, promoter, manager, etc I think the most important part is to find something you enjoy and are really good at. You want to find a niche and make yourself invaluable to the company you are working for. Own that niche and become the person who knows the most about that one thing. Your bosses and their bosses will come to rely on you for that thing and you will get more face-time with them which will hopefully help you move up within the organization.
Do you have any advice for those trying to find a career path in the music realm?
Do as many internships as you can when you are young. Internships are a great way to figure out what you DON’T want to do, which will ultimately narrow down the options so you can figure out what it is you do want to do. If you can’t find a paid internship, do unpaid internships for credit. Most places will let you intern 2-3 days a week and you can work the other days at another job to pay the bills.
A Big thank you to Jack Shannon for taking the time to share his EDMJob with us in this Career Spotlight. If you’re interested in working in Electronic Music see our open positions, browse for opportunities, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook!