Belmont alumna Sarah Beth Perry is finding success with her company, With the Band, a fan engagement company that helps fans and artists feel a part of something bigger than themselves. With the Band is revolutionizing fan engagement by putting community first and creating connections among fans and their favorite artists through fan projects.
Perry graduated with a double major in entrepreneurship and music business in 2019 and has since been named one of Belmont University’s Top 100 Alumni Entrepreneurs with her company With the Band, which she started in her dorm room at Belmont.
“I grew up in Nashville and always knew that I wanted to be in the music industry,” Perry said. “I was a huge music fan and my sister and I were the typical fangirls of the popular boy bands. Then I went to Belmont and during my freshman year I learned about all these jobs I never knew existed within the music industry. That is when I realized that fan engagement was a job. I began researching fan engagement companies and found none. I started toying around with the idea of With the Band the end of my freshman year.”
“I joke that I didn’t go to school, I just went to work, because 90 percent of my waking hours were devoted to working music industry events around town through Service Corps or booking a show for one of my artists from Bear House Writers Management. This is when I realized there was a big gap in the market, and I really wanted to create a solution to help artists better engage with their fanbases,” Perry explained.
Perry’s vision for With the Band is to be the premiere fan engagement company that enables every artist to fully engage with their fan base in such a way that brings more positivity to the world through music. She shared the fan activation With the Band created at the Jonas Brothers concert at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville last fall has been her favorite moment so far with her company. “It was the first large campaign we created, and it went way better than we ever imagined. In that moment I knew I was put on this earth to create this company,” Perry said.
Perry credits the entrepreneurship program and extracurriculars of the Entrepreneurship Center at Belmont for encouraging and challenging her as she created With the Band. “My foundations of entrepreneurship class was the first time I told anyone about my idea for With the Band and my teacher at the time, Rachel Wilson, helped walk me through financial models and the business model canvas,” Perry said. The entrepreneurship classes continued to help her mold With the Band throughout her junior and senior years and even now she continues to stay connected through Professor Dr. Jeffrey Cornwall’s Belmont Alum Entrepreneur group.
To current students, Perry encouraged, “I think one thing a lot of people in music get wrong is this idea that being a fan is bad. Yes, you need to be professional in every business setting, but I do believe that your experience as a fan is a strength and not a weakness. Use your experience of being a fan as leverage. You know how a fan thinks because you are one, so use that to your advantage!”
Perry recently shared with WSMV News 4 about her partnership with Renew Nashville which is supporting small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about With the Band and its upcoming launch Fan Crews, a modern day version of a fan club, at withtheband.co.