I love music, but never aspired to be a musician. I never dreamed of taking the stage or going on tour.

Music was a creative outlet for me and I wanted to be around it everyday. I played a little guitar and piano, and messed around with samples. As a kid, my friend Greg and I would rehearse or record in the basement almost every day.  

I went on to graduate from Berklee College of Music. In the last few months and days of college, I was about to leave for Los Angeles to enter the industry I was extremely passionate about and had studied for years. I’d never lived in L.A. and didn’t even really know anyone who had a full-time job in the music industry. Thinking back, it must have been a scary time, but I don’t remember. I guess I was just excited to get started. 

I was prompted to pull this moment in time out of the memory bank when I was invited by Roger Brown and Carl Beatty to meet the Board of Trustees of Berklee College of Music.

These days, I’ve been spending more and more time with students from Berklee, Georgia Tech and others. They ask about how I got started and,  as smart and eager people, they look for advice and guidance.

And I realized from those conversations, this is one of the best times in the history of the music business to get into this industry. When I say this, most students respond with a confused look. They read all too often that the music industry is in decline thanks to piracy, litigation around rights and royalties, declining revenues and more.

But I remind them of a few important facts. More people than ever are engaging with music in more ways than ever before. The ecosystem of the music industry is deeper than ever before. And while some parts of the music industry may be in decline, not all are. Issues like piracy, the growth in access to music and live music have actually become a breeding ground for startups and innovators. Spotify would not exist today if not for the scourge illegal piracy placed on the music industry. There are more startups at MIDEM or SXSW than there are record labels these days. This desire and need to innovate will keep the music industry alive. 

Music is deeply rooted in the hearts, minds and DNA of every new generation. The business of music, though, will evolve and change. And brands, media companies, video game publishers, social networks and mobile device makers will all look to harness the power of music. This is the wider music ecosystem that provides more opportunity than ever before.

Most recent entrants to the music industry aim for that job at Atlantic, Columbia or Universal. And that’s great if you can get it. But most getting started don’t know to explore companies like Cornerstone, Translation, SFX and Frukt – all leaders in their roles in the music industry. Or what about brands like Nike, Converse, Levi’s and, of course, Coca-Cola – all of whom are combining their marketing efforts with music. 

Joe Belliotti

To me, all these factors give more students, apprising moguls and entrepreneurs the chance to do what I’ve been lucky enough to do – be around music every day. 

Joe Belliotti is head of global music marketing at The Coca-Cola Company. Follow him on Twitter @JoeBelliotti.