Advice For Anyone Who Wants to Work in the Music Industry

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If you love music the way I love music, you’ve probably said at one point in your life, “I don’t know exactly what I want to do, but I know I want to work in the music industry.” If you’re old enough, you’ve also probably realized how ugly this can turn unless you happen to be in the very small percentage of people who still believe the world revolves around them like some magical carousel of free will, opportunity, luck, and advantage. For the rest of us, it gets complicated.

As with any industry that involves the clash of art and business, the world of music as a money-making operation involves a lot of competition, sacrifice, and a constantly shaken sense of balance. There are people who care more about business than the art and sadly, much of the time those are going to be the successful ones. You can talk about passion all day, but unless you can put it into a fucking Powerpoint and show someone how to make money off it, you’re about as appealing as a post-Y2K hippie with an offensive odor and peace sign.

But there is hope.

It’s true that many of the successful people in the music industry are the cutthroat ones with a sharp business sense and a disregard for the artistry, but many of the most successful people are the ones who understand both sides. The women and men who combine an honest passion for music with an understanding of the constantly changing industry in which they operate are the ones who can inspire, rally, and lead the way into the future.

Since you’re reading this, the assumption is that you’ve got the passion. Arm yourself with as much information, as much perspective, and as much advice as you possibly can. You’ve got a world of insider info at your fingertips like never before, and even if you’re just some kid with a good ear and a dream, you can become surprisingly well-versed in the industry if you do a little digging. Here’s a starting point. Here are 8 videos you should watch if you want to work in the music industry.

Hit “next” or click the pictures to read on and watch…

  • Denise

    Here is another great source…

  • J

    Best post on this site to date…. really really good resources here.
    I might add my own two cents… (or Roy hargrove’s rather)

  • Street Science

    Great article!

  • Giovanne Afonso

    Nice article, great site.
    Loved it =D

  • Miles

    Just read all that and watched the videos. i have one thing to say to it. That is i hope music becomes real again

  • Joel

    Could you lend some advice to someone who wants to have a gig like yours? Or more the writing/reporting/reviewing aspect of the industry?

  • Viv

    Good article, Confusion. Interesting information even for those who don’t want to work in the music business.

  • SBG

    Great article. Also, small typo in the 2nd to last sentence in slide 5.

  • Kip

    Billy Corgan is a douche who is just mad his profits have dropped. You all published an article not too long ago, declaring how the internet was rapidly becoming a viable source of income for musicians and labels.

  • jon jones

    I agree with this guy totally

  • Jude Rivera

    On my way to getting a MBB at Full Sail. This is a pretty valid opinion.

  • Olly

    I don’t know. Look this guy had to do plenty of shit to get famous. Artists now have to do plenty of shit to get famous. It’s the same, just different shit. The wind direction has changed and the old record industry is gone. People have to realize that.

    Yes there are plenty of ways for artists to make money – plenty. For instance, people *will* pay money for music nowadays, they just want to test drive it thoroughly first. Then they will support it. I don’t think there is much wrong with that actually. In the old days you bought an album because of who it was by, or how hard it was marketed. Now you buy it because you know you fucking love it already.

    The only truth I heard in this is that artists are valued less today than before. I disagree that they do not already know this. But the old industry was a bubble. No pop or rock artist deserves to be a fucking millionaire – they are good, but they are not in Beethoven’s league. I’m telling you that. This guy isn’t worth more than Beethoven, Mozart and Bach, so why should he be richer? Artists don’t deserve to be millionaires. Comfortable maybe, but not filthy rich. The right outlook for an artist is to be thankful they are not working in a pit somewhere. They get to do what they love and they don’t have to work some shitty job.

    I don’t believe the problem is that people won’t pay for music. I believe that A) they realise that a line of code has no manufacturing cost, so it ought to be cheaper. B) That the old industry model got paid way too much and music was overpriced. C) The old record companies did not cross over to the online market, so the industry just withered away, and new upstarts like iTunes took over – upstarts who don’t know or care how to nurture talent.

    So maybe what’s harder now is to get heard. No industry behind you, you are
    on your own. That’s why all the old acts are still around, because they
    had industry oomph behind them that got them in the public eye. Today’s artists don’t have that.

    It ain’t the fault of the fans, for fuck sake. What an ingrate.

    But I don’t see it as bleak as they are making out. In the old industry luck played a major part. Some acts never got through, they just didn’t get the break. But the (talented but) lucky winners, got the whole gravy train. Hopefully what will eventually come out of this revolution is more talent being discovered and the rewards being shared around a greater talent pool.

  • Zakc Love

    i wouldn’t know what i was Dong either.

    ” Part of the reason that they have bad experiences is because they don’t know what they’re dong.”


  • themarief

    I agree 100%

  • Carver Low

    Checking in, slide 5 definitely still says ‘dong’.

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