Where They’re Headed: Zacharia Alden ’17

The comparative literature major is off to Miami for a job in the music industry.

For a comparative literature major a job in music might seem like an unexpected turn. But pursuing success in the music industry is just another outlet for Zacharia Alden’s creativity. The Dallas native recently moved to Miami to continue his work with Record Man, an independent music company specializing in consulting, promotional, and production services for independent artists.

Record Man began as a page on the online music distribution platform SoundCloud, called “La Tropicál,” established nearly three years ago by Edward Sanchez ’18. Sanchez grew that page into a full-fledged enterprise based in Florida (including imprints La Tropicál Records, Etiquette Noir, Royál X, and XTENDED Records). It now provides independent artists access into an industry that can be difficult to break into as a result of large, corporate label structure, expensive marketing costs, and overwhelming competition on digital platforms.

As a manager, Alden oversees the administration of Record Man’s paid promotional services on SoundCloud. His responsibilities range from supervising interns working on campaigns for artists to analyzing SoundCloud data to assess the value of pages affiliated with the company. Additionally, he curates music that is released on “one of our flagship hip-hop SoundCloud pages, Section 808, which is dedicated to 808 Ardmore Avenue” (a college apartment at Haverford).

Alden has always had a passion in photography, poetry, and literature, and he is glad to be working in an industry where his work is similarly rooted in “creativity and inspiration… appealing to our audience’s’ sense of wonder and excitement.” But the most exciting part of working at Record Man, for him, is the chance of having a hand in the potential success of “the next big artist.”

“It’s a great feeling to find an incredible song and have the resources to reach out to the artist, sign a deal with them, and distribute their music,” he says.

Even though Alden didn’t initially foresee entering the music industry, the writing and communication skills he gained at Haverford were excellent preparation for engaging in negotiations and striking deals with labels and artists. In fact, it was while he was still attending college that he began contributing to what would eventually become his current job.

“I met Edward Sanchez, [who was] one year my junior, who introduced me to what he was working on,” Alden says. “I decided to join him, and have been working with him ever since.”

Moving forward, Alden is open to whatever will come as a result of pursuing business, “something that, from a technical perspective, I know less about,” he said. “But I’m glad to have done it, and excited to see how everything plays out.”

“Where They’re Headed” is a blog series reporting on the post-collegiate plans of recent Haverford graduates.