A & E
A little help getting into the music business
Working in the music business is one of the most entertaining jobs to have. I always say 'it sure beats working!'
I have had various jobs in the in the music industry since high school and I love it. Some of the different fields where I have worked include college and corporate radio stations, as well as both independant and major record labels.
You might be thinking that it is impossible to work in all these different aspects of the industry when, actually, it can be quite easy to get involved in the music business. All it takes is a little work and some patience before you start to make some money.
College radio is a great place to start your journey and to learn the ropes of the music business. You will also be able to expand your knowledge of various bands and record labels. All you need to do is sign up at your college radio station for a DJ spot, or try to get a job helping out the station's music director.
Once involved with college radio, you will be able to talk to many people who work in the industry. This is really important because a key factor for success in the music business is who you know.
CMJ Magazine deals with college radio, and will combine your radio station's top 30 list with all the other college radio stations' charts to form the top 200 charts. The music industry relies heavily on this for ideas about who they are going to promote next, and it is a good way for people to see who the up-and-coming bands are.
If your college doesn't have a radio station, start one! I started a radio station at my high school with a friend, and all we had to do was propose it to the school board. They decided to fund the station, and the rest is history.
There are so many advantages to having a radio station that your school will likely be unable to resist. A station can open up many doors for students who want to get involved in the music industry. It can also be a good outlet for students who aren't involved with other activities, such as sports, and it is a lot of fun.
If you have college radio experience under your belt, mainstream radio can follow. Luckily, there are some great opprotunities for work in this area in Seattle.
One of the most common entry-level positions at the big staions is in promotion. Work in the promotional department involves distribution of concert passes, advertising giveaways such as bumper stickers and Frisbees and, generally, just getting the station's name 'out there'.
Some radio stations hire every six months during spring and winter. You can find out more information if you go to the stations' Web sites.
Putting both corporate and independant radio station work on your resume will put you ahead of just about everybody else in the pack.
This brings me to the next field of the music industry: independent labels. Seattle is famous nationwide for having many independent record labels. The list includes; Subpop, Loveless, Up, and Barsuk. Working at an indie label will thrust you into the local music scene more than any other job in the music business. Indie labels may not pay well, some don't even pay at all, but it is well worth your time. You will basically learn how an indie label runs, and this is very important.
After your stint at an indie label it's time to get drafted into the majors. Going from an independant to a corporate job is a huge step. Here it can be possible to actually earn a living! The first job you take at a major label is probably not going to make you rich, but just think of all the benefits you could receive later.
A good job to take at a corporate label is a college representative position. Here you promote the label's bands in stores, attempting to get college radio stations to play your records.
You will also be able to learn how major labels run, which is necessary if you want a career in the music field.
Getting started in the music industry doesn't sound as tough as you thought it was, does it? Now you need to go out there and get your name around Seattle.
Remember; you are never going to go anywhere in the business if you don't work your way up.
Many of the richest people in the business had to start with nothing. The woman who owns Epic Records started off as a secretary at the label.
All you need is a little time and some drive, and maybe you will earn that position someday, too.
© 2002 Shoreline Community College