BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Madison Ridley, who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree from the Kelley School of Business in May, seized an opportunity in the Kelley Business Honors Program to research her passion — the music industry.
She discovered innovative ways musical artists market themselves and gained valuable insights to launch her business dream of creating a music venue all her own. At the same time, she’s actively marketing music on the IU campus for a music distribution company, putting new skills into practice.
Here are Madison’s firsthand tips for igniting your interests with all that the Kelley Business Honors Program has to offer.
Pursue what excites you most
“For my Kelley Honors senior capstone project, I chose supervised independent research. I believe completing this project can set me apart for a career in the competitive music industry. Professor Jeanette Heidewald and I share an interest in music and she agreed to be the faculty advisor for my project. She helped me brainstorm topics and shape the focus of my research.
“I began by observing how musical artists market themselves in unique ways, focusing on the role of social media. From The Weeknd to Taylor Swift, musical artists are going beyond traditional marketing to engage with their fans and create community. Offering meet-and-greet events, concert ticket promotions, and merchandise giveaways are some of the impactful ways artists are successfully building loyal fans on social media. My thesis is that musical artists — as with any other business — are more successful when their marketing includes a personal message that connects with their audience.”
Say yes to opportunities that align with who you are
“In my first year at Kelley, I joined WIUX student radio, then launched my own radio show. A local Bloomington radio station hired me as an intern to assist their marketing efforts. As a campus representative for a music distribution company recently acquired by Sony Music Entertainment, I market new artists to IU students, promote them on social media, host listening events, and disperse their merchandise. These experiences, combined with my major in entrepreneurship and management, broaden my business perspective and fuel my commitment to launch my own music venue for performing artists in the future.”
Take advantage of study abroad
“Through Kelley Honors Program, I studied for a semester at an international university in the Netherlands taking general business courses and Dutch. Our small group of Kelleys joined students from Belgium, France, Turkey, and beyond. I appreciated meeting people from different cultures, opened myself to new experiences, and returned with a heightened excitement to travel.”
Find where you belong at Kelley
“I encourage everyone to apply to the Kelley Honors Business Program or find another close-knit group to join. Whether it’s the Jellison Living Learning Center, Kelley Honors, or a business fraternity, finding a community is important. Kelley Honors faculty and staff genuinely care. They regularly ask about my classes, thesis project, and job search — it’s my support system. Everyone in Kelley Honors is motivated and wants to do their best, and being part of this community helps me feel at ease.”
Interested in the Kelley Business Honors Program? Explore the possibilities.
Editor’s note: This article was written by Mary Thomason-Smith.