Music industry career advices! Who's here not working, underemployed or having a hard time looking/switching career in general?

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    Jun 19, 2012 6:42 AM GMT
    Hey guys, I bet this topic had been asked to death but it doesn't really hurt to ask again and maybe we all can learn something from each other and/or encourage to network with other people? My background is in the Arts/Humanities, I grad college about 8 years ago and been working in the Marketing/Finance/Management areas for about 7 years. Basically, at this point, I am drained out and want to switch into a more creative job/career. I was laid off from a full time Manager/Marketing position in San Francisco close to a year ago and been doing some volunteering/tempting/taking vocational classes here and there. I am certified as a bartender now, been to some interviews, most bar managers think I'm way too corporate to work in a gay bar. Ok, fine, maybe I can just do this part time and I don't get too much grief from this.

    Ultimately, I want to work as either a Music Label or a film/TV studio because I'm in the LA area now. I used to love to sing as a kid (but I'm a bad singer) and I think I want to manage artists/bands in the future. Does anyone know how to exactly break into the Music industry/Label? I sent so many resumes/cover letters to Sony Epic, Capitol Records/EMI, Warner Brothers, Paramount but had no luck. Fuck, I am a little pissed because I live about 27 minutes away from Capitol records and it seems impossible to break into their company. Some of my *creative friends end up working for the LA times, doing indie music/film here and there. No one is exactly the *go-to networking guy that I know of.

    When you're not working and under-employed, it's a good time to reflect. Do any of you guys have any problems with your current situations? Do share your stories and tips. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jun 19, 2012 10:51 AM GMT
    Not in that field so take it for what it's worth. I don't subscribe to the LA Times and havent read their Entertainment section in some time, but they used to publish letters to the editor. I was thinking that via letters and/or blogs, you start contributing so your name starts to get known. Then you could contact someone in that area to see if you could submit material, either on a volunteer or possibly freelance basis. The idea is to get exposure by people in the field so could eventually contact someone and refer to your involvement with the paper.

    My idea may be off the mark and lead you to being typecast as a music journalist or critic instead of what you really want, but it's just a way of getting known. I also remember books on ideas to get into the entertainment industry. You could probably get ideas From googling How to get into the music industry.... Or entertainment industry.

    It's all about getting known and making contacts.
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    Jun 19, 2012 11:51 AM GMT
    Eh, I graduated from uni this year in february. Immediately got a job for the government, but it's only a temporary replacement contract. So by the end of july i'm without a job again. Although my current employer has suggested to hire me as part-time consultant, because i'm so smart icon_cool.gif

    I work in the heritage/culture/tourism industry and would love to stay there. So I hope to find something...

    The situation in Europe in general is not that beneficial when it comes to work opportunities, etc., but I expect this to be a global problem.

    Some bank offered me a position as well to start after my current contract ends, but I'm not really very commercially strong, so i'm not going to accept it. Plus it would be very hypocritical since I see bankers and politicians as the root of all evilicon_biggrin.gif
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    Jun 19, 2012 12:35 PM GMT
    Don't let the magical thinking of "re-training" get to you. It may work for some, but for every one person that manages it, there are five who just can't pull it off. I tried a stenography school, but it was just brutal, tedious, and nearly ground me down to nothing, so do ask yourself if it's even worth investing in more education. You'll hear on the news that it is, but I personally would say no way. There just isn't enough to go around now, and it's gotten to be that getting a job is getting a loan.

    Meaning you have to already have something good to get something even better.
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    Jun 19, 2012 12:41 PM GMT
    To get into the music industry, you have to be an illuminati agent who is down with the NWO.
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    Jun 19, 2012 1:12 PM GMT
    I've never had problems finding work. Having been raised speaking Arabic, English and Hebrew I found work first through the military. After that, I was able to parlay contacts and experience into contracts with NGOs educating kids and providing medical services and foreign governments invading countries where brown people lived. Additionally, training is key. Currently I am learning Mandarin Chinese as what they say is true: French is the language of love, English is the language of business and Chinese is the language of the future.
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    Jun 19, 2012 1:17 PM GMT
    I work in the music bidness.Getting in to a label is harder now since there are fewer of them. You might want to look at other avenues that are also music related. When you say "creative" what do you mean?
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Jun 19, 2012 1:26 PM GMT
    I started in the mailroom of The William Morris Agency, which is sort a part of the entertainment industry folklore as many of the biggest names in the business started there. It's actually a great learning ground (Google: David Geffen William Morris mailroom). Other ways to break in is as a "personal assistant", of one of the A&R guys or one of the music executives. However, those jobs are hard to get without knowing someone, though not impossible. One way to get in that way is through a "Temp" agency. Find out who the "Temp" agency is that mainly services the record labels, TV networks, talent agencies, and studios and see if you can get signed up with them. A "temp" can get assigned for short stints at some pretty major jobs, during which time you can parlay that into a permanent position if you're quick on your feet and make yourself useful to the person you're assigned to. Also, read the want ads in the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER and DAILY VARIETY, as occasionally jobs will get listed in those trades, though not often are they real good jobs. Back to the mailroom, this may be starting at the bottom, but it really is a great training ground and you learn a ton about the business. When I was in the mailroom, I worked with guys some of whom had law degrees --- one of them now runs CAA.

    Good luck!
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Jun 19, 2012 1:37 PM GMT
    CrankyMcBadass said
    CuriousJockAZ saidI started in the mailroom of The William Morris Agency, which is sort a part of the entertainment industry folklore as many of the biggest names in the business started there. It's actually a great learning ground (Google: David Geffen William Morris mailroom). Other ways to break in is as a "personal assistant", of one of the A&R guys or one of the music executives. However, those jobs are hard to get without knowing someone, though not impossible. One way to get in that way is through a "Temp" agency. Find out who the "Temp" agency is that mainly services the record labels, TV networks, talent agencies, and studios and see if you can get signed up with them. A "temp" can get assigned for short stints at some pretty major jobs, during which time you can parlay that into a permanent position if you're quick on your feet and make yourself useful to the person you're assigned to. Also, read the want ads in the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER and DAILY VARIETY, as occasionally jobs will get listed in those trades, though not often are they real good jobs. Back to the mailroom, this may be starting at the bottom, but it really is a great training ground and you learn a ton about the business.

    Good luck!

    Or find a musical act that secretly lip-synchs to someone else's voices and ride that gravy train until the eventual public meltdown and humiliation!



    LOL! Whatever works!!!! icon_wink.gif
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    Jun 19, 2012 1:41 PM GMT
    To bad you aren't Jewish...I could get you a job at CAA.
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    Jun 19, 2012 1:41 PM GMT
    CrankyMcBadass said
    CuriousJockAZ saidI started in the mailroom of The William Morris Agency, which is sort a part of the entertainment industry folklore as many of the biggest names in the business started there. It's actually a great learning ground (Google: David Geffen William Morris mailroom). Other ways to break in is as a "personal assistant", of one of the A&R guys or one of the music executives. However, those jobs are hard to get without knowing someone, though not impossible. One way to get in that way is through a "Temp" agency. Find out who the "Temp" agency is that mainly services the record labels, TV networks, talent agencies, and studios and see if you can get signed up with them. A "temp" can get assigned for short stints at some pretty major jobs, during which time you can parlay that into a permanent position if you're quick on your feet and make yourself useful to the person you're assigned to. Also, read the want ads in the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER and DAILY VARIETY, as occasionally jobs will get listed in those trades, though not often are they real good jobs. Back to the mailroom, this may be starting at the bottom, but it really is a great training ground and you learn a ton about the business.

    Good luck!

    Or find a musical act that secretly lip-synchs to someone else's voices and ride that gravy train until the eventual public meltdown and humiliation!


    Like a power bottom looking for a sugar daddy....ride that shit all the way to the bank!
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    Jun 19, 2012 2:19 PM GMT
    I only know from the perephery that the music biz can be brutal. I've an old friend who's incredibly talented (musician/song writer/lyricist), who's already sunk at least $50k into her own work, who's won numerous awards but can't get to the level she desires (well, she kinda wants a Grammy though I'm sure she'd settle for some lesser success). She works full time as a nurse and keeps her studio downstairs at the house. Her perserverance is remarkable.

    A cousin of mine also tries to make it in music and he's got a ton of talent, two tons of contacts and a generations long history of family in entertainment but he can't make it big either. My feeling though is that he takes it as a hobby but I don't have the facts about that.

    When I changed careers from construction to publishing, I went back to school for a new degree. Then I started off in my 30s making $6/hour cutting up newspaper clips for the paper's library. I'd have worked for free. I beat out 100s of applicants for that crappy job. It got me in the door. That eventually lead to nearly 20 years at a major publishing house, most of which was a lot of fun.

    Now in my 50s I'm changing again. This time I think I'd like to be in a helping field. Something I can do into my old age that will keep life rewarding. My thoughts about breaking into a new field this time is going for a Masters required to do the work. That program would place me as an intern for 500 hours of supervised experience and I understand that the institutions often wind up hiring their interns.

    I started off with just a few classes, did really well, but then took a year off to finish up some houses I'm rehabbing. My next step is to start studying for the GRE. Ugh, I'm freaking 37 years out of high school and I'm still taking tests and looking forward to working for free as an intern. I'm a slow learner, apparently.
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    Jun 19, 2012 2:52 PM GMT
    I'm also looking to get into the music business. I'm a college student, should've graduated this year, but switched schools and my major a few times because I didn't know what I wanted to do for sure. I've realized that I love music, and would love to work in the field in any capacity.

    I'm thinking of transferring to Belmont University in Nashville in January. They have one of the best Music Business programs in the country, and they supposedly have hundreds of internship connections, including major labels. I love country music too, so it might be a great experience to live in Nashville for a while.
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Jun 19, 2012 2:58 PM GMT
    countrycityboy saidI'm also looking to get into the music business. I'm a college student, should've graduated this year, but switched schools and my major a few times because I didn't know what I wanted to do for sure. I've realized that I love music, and would love to work in the field in any capacity.

    I'm thinking of transferring to Belmont University in Nashville in January. They have one of the best Music Business programs in the country, and they supposedly have hundreds of internship connections, including major labels. I love country music too, so it might be a great experience to live in Nashville for a while.



    Since you're young, an internship is an excellent way to get through the door in the music business...or ANY business for that matter.
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    Jun 19, 2012 3:03 PM GMT
    countrycityboy saidI'm also looking to get into the music business. I'm a college student, should've graduated this year, but switched schools and my major a few times because I didn't know what I wanted to do for sure. I've realized that I love music, and would love to work in the field in any capacity.

    I'm thinking of transferring to Belmont University in Nashville in January. They have one of the best Music Business programs in the country, and they supposedly have hundreds of internship connections, including major labels. I love country music too, so it might be a great experience to live in Nashville for a while.


    Excellent choice. When I launched my college music program, I started it at Belmont and USC. If Belmont is out of your price range, MTSU is a good choice.
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    Jun 19, 2012 3:06 PM GMT
    You can take advantage of me, and be my agent, then take 5.5% of my earnings as we make gay-platinum gold.
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    Jun 19, 2012 5:21 PM GMT
    Dallasfan824 said
    countrycityboy saidI'm also looking to get into the music business. I'm a college student, should've graduated this year, but switched schools and my major a few times because I didn't know what I wanted to do for sure. I've realized that I love music, and would love to work in the field in any capacity.

    I'm thinking of transferring to Belmont University in Nashville in January. They have one of the best Music Business programs in the country, and they supposedly have hundreds of internship connections, including major labels. I love country music too, so it might be a great experience to live in Nashville for a while.


    Excellent choice. When I launched my college music program, I started it at Belmont and USC. If Belmont is out of your price range, MTSU is a good choice.


    +1
    Belmont is an amazing school (my alma mater) and there are tons of opportunities there. BUUT the industry is STILL not easy to get in to. Make sure you take every internship, volunteer opportunity, and grunt job you can while you're there. I was a music student (not music business, and they are run as two completely separate programs) and connected with lots of the MuzBuz students there and did some great work. Don't be afraid to network and ask for connections


    Speaking of:
    @dallasfan- can i haz some connections icon_smile.gif
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    Jun 19, 2012 5:39 PM GMT
    Another idea not yet mentioned besides internship or taking a crap job is picking the company you want and working for them as a freelancer in some capacity.

    A very dear friend of mine, who, even though she had worked with Warhol at Interview, still couldn't get onboard another mag she wanted, did just that. She freelanced for a lot of years at good pay but with no benefits. I don't recall the time span, but eventually she was not only brought onboard as a full timer with benefits but later wound up listed on their masthead.
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    Jun 19, 2012 6:31 PM GMT
    xsocalguy8x saidHey guys, I bet this topic had been asked to death but it doesn't really hurt to ask again and maybe we all can learn something from each other and/or encourage to network with other people? My background is in the Arts/Humanities, I grad college about 8 years ago and been working in the Marketing/Finance/Management areas for about 7 years. Basically, at this point, I am drained out and want to switch into a more creative job/career. I was laid off from a full time Manager/Marketing position in San Francisco close to a year ago and been doing some volunteering/tempting/taking vocational classes here and there. I am certified as a bartender now, been to some interviews, most bar managers think I'm way too corporate to work in a gay bar. Ok, fine, maybe I can just do this part time and I don't get too much grief from this.

    Ultimately, I want to work as either a Music Label or a film/TV studio because I'm in the LA area now. I used to love to sing as a kid (but I'm a bad singer) and I think I want to manage artists/bands in the future. Does anyone know how to exactly break into the Music industry/Label? I sent so many resumes/cover letters to Sony Epic, Capitol Records/EMI, Warner Brothers, Paramount but had no luck. Fuck, I am a little pissed because I live about 27 minutes away from Capitol records and it seems impossible to break into their company. Some of my *creative friends end up working for the LA times, doing indie music/film here and there. No one is exactly the *go-to networking guy that I know of.

    When you're not working and under-employed, it's a good time to reflect. Do any of you guys have any problems with your current situations? Do share your stories and tips. icon_biggrin.gif
    As an underemployed person working in Musical Theatre, I can certainly relate. The idea of working a 9-5, suit wearing, desk job makes me sick, but at the same time it's so difficult to make a living in the creative industry.

    It seems to be all about who you know in entertainment. Getting your foot in the door is the tough part, and I'm still trying to reach that point too.
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    Jun 19, 2012 6:37 PM GMT
    LIEV saidTo bad you aren't Jewish...I could get you a job at CAA.
    I'm Jewish and pursuing entertainment. Can you get me a job in CAA? Or how about agent representation?
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    Jun 19, 2012 8:36 PM GMT
    I actually did applied to both CAA and William Morris Agency a long while back. WMA did a brief phone interview and CAA passed me over. I am not sure about the Jewish part! icon_lol.gif Maybe all those gay Jewish dudes don't like gay Asian dudes?icon_lol.gificon_eek.gifOh well but I mean, I like the movie business just not as much as the Music Industry. By Creative, I mean I like to discover new artists/bands, maybe a scout executive and eventually becoming more like a producer! icon_smile.gif Yeah I'm still browsing and asking around to see what's up. Keep all those tips and advices coming.

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    Jun 21, 2012 2:11 AM GMT
    xsocalguy8x saidI actually did applied to both CAA and William Morris Agency a long while back. WMA did a brief phone interview and CAA passed me over. I am not sure about the Jewish part! icon_lol.gif Maybe all those gay Jewish dudes don't like gay Asian dudes?icon_lol.gificon_eek.gifOh well but I mean, I like the movie business just not as much as the Music Industry. By Creative, I mean I like to discover new artists/bands, maybe a scout executive and eventually becoming more like a producer! icon_smile.gif Yeah I'm still browsing and asking around to see what's up. Keep all those tips and advices coming.



    Becoming a producer sounds fun and all, but after looking into it, you really need to have musical talent, which I do not. I'm not sure if you have a musical background? Can you play any instruments or anything like that?
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    Jul 03, 2012 1:50 AM GMT
    Bump.