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  • Writer's pictureMichael J. Pineda

How Working at a Musical Enterprise Changed My Life

Updated: Apr 10, 2022

In January of 2020, I traveled to Vienna, Austria to study abroad. This was by far one of the most life-changing experiences that I have ever had. This was my first time in Europe and I made some great friendships, visited some astonishing places, and learned some German; an all around great time.

I went to Vienna to learn and explore, as well as to advance on my academics. I knocked out some of my general education classes, but I got the opportunity to take a Business elective called "Arts & Culture Internship Seminar". This class was centered around an internship which is why it drew my attention, but it also included a one-hour long 8 am class session on a Monday. There was a difficult decision to be made, but I wasn't going to compromise a unique and unforgettable experience for some sleepless nights. Nevertheless, I made the correct decision and landed an internship at paladino media G.m.b.H.

paladino media is a highly diverse musical enterprise that is composed of 4 music labels (paladino records, Austrian Gramophone, Orlando Records, KAIROS), a sheet music publishing division, and a large network of musical connections. The paladino media team is 2 powerful brains, Martin Rummel and Susanne Grainer, who work as a dynamic duo to operate every aspect of the company. The company manages its own recording operations and digitized its catalogs to its web store in the time that I was with them.

As soon as I strolled on to Hofmühlgasse 15, which was 4 minutes from my residence, the visions and sounds around me struck a chord (G major 6/9 chord to be exact). It was a casual work environment in general, but I can't say I didn't get a little anxious sitting next to the Senior Consultant and the CEO of the company. As time passed, I became much more comfortable and started bonding with Martin and Susanne. The workplace culture of this small but powerful company was a thing of dreams. They told me on the first day,

"Feel free to grab whatever you want! We have candy, cookies, coffee...just grab what you like."

It took me like a full week and a half to sneak a couple gummy bears in my mouth every time I would go to the bathroom. The second week I was there, Martin asked me if I wanted some coffee on his way to the kitchen; that's how I knew it was real. Time continued to pass and I kept asking questions and learning about all the different dimensions of operating the business. As a musician, you don't always think about what the labels do. You don't think about how the sheet music gets to your music stand, you just play the notes. You don't think about all the thought and effort that goes into creating the designs and the print work for physical CD's, partly because they are becoming obsolete, but also because we are never behind the scenes. Working with paladino gave me the insider scoop on the world that supports musicians - insights into management, recording, publishing, and music education.

Some days, I would just be chilling, burning CD's or making documents. One of my biggest challenges was staying quiet during my work days. I would always listen to music, and hum all of the solos and melodies that I knew. On most days, the team wouldn't even notice. Towards the end of my time, I guess I had gotten really comfortable and was probably SCREAMING these melodies, and Martin said, "Could you be quiet? I am revising some sheet music and I cannot focus." I said, I GOT YOU B. Of course, humming is a built in habit that I simply could not break. This quickly became an issue. There were some days we went out and about, to the Post, or just on a stroll. Some days, I would stay after hours; this is when the conversations would get crazy. Martin would talk to me about his time as the musical director of the University of Auckland in New Zealand. He would go OFF on the systems that lack support for musicians. He would share some ways he restructured Auckland's curriculum for music education, focusing on versatility, marketability and business tactics. As a society, we talk a lot about the violinist who is celebrated when he makes the audition for first chair of the Wien Philharmonic Orchestra, but we rarely talk about the 99 students who do not.

I was two months into my internship when COVID-19 hit. I didn't get to say goodbye to Martin or Susanne, only by email. I saw only a glimpse of a day in paladino life, but I cherish all of the memories! I remember all of those times I would walk back to my residence after locking the paladino door behind me. I was always flooded with emotions, whether it was excitement or happiness, fulfillment or curiosity. It was such a rush, and I was excited to go into work the next day to contribute to this company that had already given me so much. I thank Martin and Susanne, and will definitely see them again soon.

For the mems:

  • Coffee every day in the paladino media cup

  • Snacking on Gummy bears or Swedish Fish 24/7


  • Herr Professor (Martin's dog, who consistently spent his time lounging)

  • Going out in the neighborhood with Martin for different tasks

  • Installing the hand sanitizer pump in the paladino office

  • Seeing the mural below every single day

  • Finding Eric Lamb on a CD and then having him walk into the store

  • Watching Martin's enthusiasm when there was a fender bender outside of the store

  • Picking up on bits and pieces of German hearing Martin and Susanne talk

  • That one time we went to the post office with Martin

  • FUTURE: International Project with Susanne - Mirabell Mirabell Mirabell

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