Crystal has an impressive résumé filled with household names in the music industry, like MTV, Atlantic Records and Universal Music Group.
Member of Adelphi University’s 10 Under 10.
Head of Digital Experiences, Universal Music Group
Crystal Anderson ’04, M.B.A. ’05 has an impressive résumé that is filled with household names in the music industry, like MTV, Atlantic Records, and Universal Music Group. How did she get there? “I can’t stress how important it is to be passionate about the job you are interviewing for,” she said. “And when you land the position, speak what you want into existence. Even if you start in a role that isn’t your dream job, you can turn it into what you want it to be.”
As a student at Adelphi, Anderson saw the television show, The Apprentice, in which teams selected project managers to lead them in the week’s assigned task. “I realized there are people who own projects from start to finish, and those people live online and offline,” she said. “That was when I got interested in project management. I started to think, ‘how can I take on a project manager role, tie it into my computer science degree, and focus it online?’”
After earning her undergraduate degree, Anderson completed her M.B.A from Adelphi in just one year. From there she landed a project coordinator position within the information technology group at MTV. When MTV started a project management office, with a group focusing specifically on MTV.com, she jumped at the opportunity. Following MTV, she joined Atlantic Records, which had a small digital department at the time. When she started in 2008, there were just 6 people. By the time she left, the department had grown to three times the size of that.
In 2012, she was recruited to Universal Music Group (UMG) to create digital experiences for all of Universal Music’s East Coast label groups. She oversees a roster of 200 artists.
When Rihanna was ready to release her seventh album, Unapologetic, Anderson worked with Rihanna’s team to create the “#R7 campaign,” an interactive experience where fans could visit Rihanna7.com, explore this site, and win exclusive content and prizes. “Each week we asked a new trivia question. If fans answered correctly, they got access to exclusive announcements and content. The surprise of weekly content and contests kept our fans excited and engaged,” she said. This innovative 2012 campaign was successful. “Rihanna’s digital sales for her 7th album, Unapologetic, were the highest she has ever had…it resulted in her first number one album,” said Anderson.
In 2013, she was responsible for launching the new DefJam.com, which she cites as her biggest undertaking to date at UMG. “The goal was to create a groundbreaking site,” she said. “We wanted a new type of interactive experience for fans of UMG’s artists, such as Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Rick Ross, Big Sean & Frank Ocean.” She saw traffic to the new Defjam.com increase by 40 percent.
Anderson, who is always seeking out new technologies, partnered with the tech company Livefyre to integrate real-time social content about UMG’s artists from Twitter, Instagram and Facebook into Def Jam’s new platform. “Interactive content has allowed us to give our fans a voice. And they can find the latest news, social content and conversations about their favorite artists all in one place,” she said.
Always focused on what’s next in a digital world that’s constantly evolving, she is grateful for the educational foundation she received at Adelphi. “I feel blessed. There are a lot of people who graduate from college and are not using their degrees to do what they want. I utilize what I learned about information technology for my B.S. degree in guiding my own team. The M.B.A. I got? I use it every day,” she said.
Anderson said she and her sister Christine Anderson ’04, M.B.A. ’05 learned the art of time management and prioritizing as students at Adelphi, where they did everything from work several jobs across campus and start Adelphi’s Hip Hop team to teach fitness classes at the gym and participate in intramurals. “Everything I learned at Adelphi I’m applying to my life today,” she said.
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