November 30, 2010

Legal Interning Tip #2

Legal interning is generally not very different from any other kind of interning. Here's the second of many tips I will be posting that are especially helpful when you are working in a legal office (read the first here):

Don't be afraid to ask questions or find your own answers.

Whenever you are given an assignment, ask any questions that come to mind right away to make sure you know exactly what you are being asked to do. As I am working, I like to write down any questions that pop up on my legal pad. Often, as you continue to research, you will find yourself answering your own questions. Although doing a little extra research in order to answer your own questions may cause you to take longer to complete the assignment, I find it is often worth it in the long run. Answering your own questions means that you are not constantly bothering your attorney for easily found information, and you are more likely to remember the answers later when you figure them out for yourself.

Once you have narrowed down your questions to essentials that you cannot answer yourself (either at all or within a reasonable amount of time), quickly stop by your attorney's office, - don't forget your legal pad! - ask if he has a minute, and clear up any confusion or doubts that you may be having. You can now complete the assignment with confidence, and your attorney will be impressed when you hand him exactly what was asked for.

November 29, 2010

November 26, 2010

Recommended Reading

I'd like to start a new weekly post of sharing some sort of recommended reading item with you every Friday. As you probably know the music industry is constantly evolving and is fairly complex without all these new changes. One of the best ways to stay informed and educated is to read a lot: blogs, news articles, books, etc. So, to help you out I'll share one recommendation each week along with a link to each item.

If you were old enough in the late 90s to pay attention to the radio then you probably remember the song "Closing Time" by Semisonic. The drummer of the band wrote a book detailing the struggles and adventures of the band during their career and it is by far one of the best books I've ever read on the music industry.  It is non-fiction but written as a narrative and can help you learn about the different aspects of the music industry, like radio promotion and the A&R process, through an entertaining first hand account. Also, it is one of few books that tells you what the industry is like from the artist's perspective. It is interesting, entertaining, informative, and a great read! You can check it out at the link below.

So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star: How I Machine-Gunned a Roomful Of Record Executives and Other True Tales from a Drummer's Life

November 24, 2010

Thank You!

Sorry to say there's no music industry updates for today. Instead, for Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for supporting this blog. I'm so glad to have a chance to try to help you make your dreams come true by providing you with the information you need to do it, that was my dream. I'm here to help so please reach out and let me know any questions you have or any advice or info you need or if I can help you look for a job, anything really, that's what this is all about! Enjoy the holiday and have a wonderful thanksgiving and thank you, again, for all of your love and support!


November 23, 2010

What to Put on Business Cards, Part 2

If you've been to a networking event then you know how useful business cards can be. Offering your card to a new contact is usually the best way to get their card in return. Yet as a student, recent grad, or intern it can be pretty overwhelming and frustrating to figure out what to put on one for yourself. Check out Part 1 for some more insights.

What You Need To Know

  • You can be a little more creative with your card if you intend to work in a creative field, still be sure to keep the design clean, simple, and professional
  • If you don't actually have a real job in the career you want yet, you shouldn't just put what you want to do as if it were your title. Just include your name, email, phone number, the degree you are pursuing if you are a student and perhaps future graduation date, and any other contact info you wish to include. 
  • If you think this simple information is not enough you can use the back as a sort of mini-resume by including a few points or phrases summarizing your knowledge and experience. Again, keep it simple. 
  • You can also include a picture to help jog their memory and brand yourself. However, be sure it is a professional looking image and not your Facebook profile picture. If you do decide to include a picture of yourself, then it is a good idea to continue this branding effort by using it on professional social networking sites as well. 

November 22, 2010

Music Quiz - Thanksgiving Edition

In honor of Thanksgiving, this music industry quiz is dedicated thank yous in album liner notes and at award shows. So test your knowledge.

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November 19, 2010

Music Experience Outside NY,LA, and Nashville

It's pretty likely that you know that some of the best places to be if you want to work in the music industry are New York, Nashville, and Los Angeles. So does this mean you're doomed to failure if you live somewhere else? Well, it's all about what you make of your situation and here's some tips to help you make the most of it and find great experience (almost) anywhere.

Two Things (Almost) Every Area Has
No matter where you live it is fairly likely that somewhere near you there is a venue and a radio station. So, if all else fails these are great places to look for internships and other opportunities. There may not be much of a music business near you but even the smallest radio stations and venues can help you gain an understanding of the industry. Working at a venue can give you exposure to new music and artists and an understanding of careers in concert promotion. Experience at a radio station can help you understand what goes into running one, how music is selected, and can teach you about radio promotion. Even if these aren't thing you want to pursue as a career it is a great way to get an initial understanding and experience to put on your resume.

The Power of Google

Learning from Rent

I just returned from seeing a local production of Rent, a show I'm sure most of you are at least somewhat familiar with. You are also probably familiar with one of the central themes of the show: learning to focus on the present and live each day as if it were your last. However, you may not know that the show was written by Jonathan Larson, who never even lived to see the show performed. At least, his dream lives on and has clearly become a cultural phenomenon. After all, who hasn't at least heard the song "Seasons of Love?"How does this relate to you and your career, though?

In some way, we can all learn to apply Rent's "No Day But Today" to our lives.  Learn to focus on the present and give your all to make the most of each opportunity you have. Don't let mistakes you have made in the past drag you down by focusing on your failures. Instead, learn from them and turn them into success. Pursue your passion, not just what you think will earn you the highest income, because when you love your job it will rarely feel like work. Try to find a way to take at least one step towards your goals each day. Don't just "network," build real relationships. Avoid getting caught up in the stress and serious nature of work life, in most instances, you're not trying to cure cancer and most mistakes you make can be fixed with work and time. Take chances, fight for what you believe in, and try something that terrifies you every once in a while, if it doesn't turn out as well as you'd hoped, at least you will learn something. Don't compromise yourself, your voice, or your morals in favor of fortune, people can see through the inauthentic anyway. And, of course, remember to have fun.

November 17, 2010

How to Get a Major Label Job: College Reps

We've already discussed that one of the best ways to do this is to get your foot in the door through some other job or connection and that one of the best times to do this is while you are in college. There is, however, another advantage to working towards a major label job while you are in college that we haven't mentioned yet: college rep programs

I, Nananère [GFDL], CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
What It Is 
A college rep is a college student who works for a major label and promotes upcoming record releases, shows, and artists on and around a college campus. It is a great way to make connections and learn about the music industry, plus these jobs usually pay. Have you ever seen posters for Kelly Clarkson or Lady Gaga around your campus? That was most likely the work of a college rep.

What You'll Need
If you want be a college rep you'll need

November 16, 2010

When To Do An Internship?

So you know you want a career in music and you keep hearing how important internships are, but you're still not exactly sure what you should do with that information?

The real answer to the question of when you should do an internship is as soon as possible. Preferably, you should start getting some music industry experience as soon as you realize you want to work in the music industry. Practically speaking though, this is not always possible. This brings us to the second point.


Legal Interning Tip #1

Legal interning is generally not very different from any other kind of interning. Here's the first of many tips I will be posting that are especially helpful when you are working in a legal office:

Always have your legal pad.

When you first arrive at your desk, you should have some basic office supplies waiting for you (unless your new boss failed to alert the right people that you were coming!). These will likely include pens, post-its, and a legal pad. This legal pad is your new best friend. Whenever you walk into an attorney's office, you should ALWAYS have your legal pad and a pen. Assignments are often very detailed, and you may get more than one at a time. Taking good notes from the start ensures that you won't forget important details or be back later asking about something you were just told. If you miss a crucial detail or forget one of several assignments that you were given at once, you will have just wasted both your and your attorney's time. Attorneys don't like to have their time wasted, and the next time she needs someone for an assignment (or maybe even a full-time position), she will ask someone else.

- Lauren

Twitter: @musicn3rd

November 15, 2010

Music Industry 101 Quiz

Take this simple quiz to test your music industry knowledge, and hopefully learn a little too.

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There are plenty of reasons to avoid working in the music industry. I imagine, though, that if you're here reading this, you're just crazy enough to accept the challenge of overcoming them, because you know that for every reason someone could give you to stop trying, you have plenty of good reasons to keep fighting.

Perhaps you are too determined to let anyone stand in your way, or maybe you just can't see yourself doing anything else. Still, there may be something else keeping you from reaching your full potential, and that may be you and your own fear.

Fear is a powerful, often subconscious, emotion that may not always be logical. What's stopping you from finally taking that risk? Of applying to your dream internship? Of talking to that person at the networking event? Of moving to the city you've always wanted to work in? Of giving everything you do your full effort?

November 12, 2010

The Elusive Major Label Job

If your dream job involves working with famous artists, record releases, award shows, and countless top 40 singles, you're probably meant to work at a major label.
I, Nananère [GFDL], CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
With the continued consolidation of the major labels and near constant layoffs, getting one of these jobs can be particularly difficult. So here's a few pointers that may help you land that coveted major label position.

Get the Internship First
The best way to get a job at a major label is to get an internship at one, preferably the one you want to work at. You will meet people, get experience, and prove that you can do the job. It is also far easier to get your foot in the door as an intern than as an employee. More importantly, it makes the next two tips possible.

Find the Hidden Job Market

Writing a Cover Letter

It can be far too easy to look up some example cover letters online and follow them when it comes time to write a cover letter. Most of these letters follow a common format and essentially require you to fill in the blanks. Sure, it can be a good place to start if you're having a bit of writer's block and have no idea where to begin. However, you should never really rely on them as a blueprint for your own cover letter.

Why not? Well, imagine for a moment that you are an employee of a record label, or any other music business, and are in charge of hiring interns. This means in addition to your usual work you now need to take time to look through applications, read resumes, and set up and conduct interviews. Music related internships are extremely competitive and each opening is usually met with far more applications than necessary to fill the position. So, there are a lot of applications to go through with very little time to do it.

November 10, 2010

So You’re Thinking About Law School

Think you look pretty snazzy in a suit?

Enjoy arguing over semantics?

Thinking about entertainment law?

Hold on – not so fast.  There are a few things that you should know about law school and entertainment law before you crack open that LSAT prep book….

1.     Don’t do it for the money.  This is the first thing that everyone will tell you about law school in general.  If you are thinking about law school solely because you don’t want to live in a box for the rest of your life, you are doing it for the wrong reasons and will be miserable in and after law school.  Just because you have a law degree, you are not guaranteed to make six figures.  Most lawyers don’t.  Not only that, but there is currently a lot of controversy about the number of new law schools opening up that are churning out more lawyers than the market needs.  That combined with the recession makes the competition for top jobs fierce.  Unless you go to a top law school or graduate number one in your class, don’t expect to be rolling in dough any time soon.

Thanks and New Bloggers

I want to take a moment to thank you all for reading, following, interacting, and providing feedback. The goal of this blog is to provide information to help you all realize your goals of working in music and it is great to actually be able to do that. The blog has had more views this month so far than it did total for any month in the past, and that's really exciting! You will, however, be seeing some changes around here in the near future, some have already happened, and they're all good changes.
Here's an overview of what to look for now or expect in the future

  • Alden is our awesome new blogger writing about issues related to careers in tech, sound, recording, etc. All those things I don't understand quite so well. Check out his two blogs so far, look out for more, and feel free to reach out to him at
  • Lauren is our other awesome new blogger. Her first post will be up momentarily. She's a law student studying to be an intellectual property lawyer and will be contributing blogs related to careers in the legal side of the music business. You can get in touch with her at 
  • I will soon be adding a page with bios and contact info for each of us for you to reference 
  • There may be some other bloggers joining in the near future, I'm working on that
As always, thanks for your support and be sure to get in touch or comment if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas! 

November 08, 2010

Pro Tips for the Budding Audio Engineer

Everybody who works in audio hears the following tips at least once in his or her life, so what you are about to read may very well be redundant to you. Having said that, every time I get this advice, I am reminded of how absolutely true and important it is. Some of these points are common sense, others perhaps are not, but simply remembering them is enough to trigger an “aha!” moment and put you on the right track. Without further ado, here are some tips for up and coming audio engineers.
By Jason Meredith (Flickr: Enrolling Stones in the Studio) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
1. Practice
Possibly the most rewarding thing you can do with your time is to practiceyour craft. If you are a composer, write something; an engineer? Edit and mix something. It’s incredibly important to make sure your skills are in tip-top shape, and the best way to do that is to practice every day. This might sound like a lot, but it’s easily manageable. For instance, you could try what I call the “Hour Scramble”. Try and block out an hour every day where you can sit down at your favorite DAW and work uninterrupted. Your goal for that hour is to come up with a short piece. It could be a 1-minute diddy, or even just a short 8-bar theme. Whatever the case may be, put your all into it. Consider the sonic space of the work, mix accordingly, and try to make it sound as good as possible. The point of the exercise isn’t to make the best music in the world, it’s to give you a chance to try new things in an environment tailored to your work process. This allows you to develop your skills at your own pace, and could even result in you finding a cool new trick to use when you’re working a job!

2. Network

What to Wear on the Job

Hate the idea of wearing a suit? The good news is you've picked the right career path then. Unless you're headed for a small handful of labels you likely will rarely touch one in the music industry. This good news can present a few problems though. For any other student it is pretty easy to know what to wear to an interview or on the job, usually a conservative suit. But what should you wear if your dream job is in music?

On most jobs, you will dress very casually. Most companies' dress codes have very few rules, and any that do exist are usually something along the lines of look put together and don't wear anything offensive or too showy. A typical work outfit will likely include sneakers, sandals or slightly dressier shoes paired with jeans and a reasonably nice shirt or band t-shirt. You should, of course, dress up a bit more on the first day to make a good impression. 

So what does this mean for the interview? Well, I'll save that for another post. 


November 06, 2010

The Future of Music

Someday, our generation will be running the musc business (that is our goal here, after all isn't it?). Right now, though, is the time to think about the legacy you wish to create and start building it. What do you intend to do when you finally get that dream job or the coveted corner office?

Will our generation's legacy be one of great music or mediocrity? Innovation or status quo? How will the generation sued by the RIAA handle running it? Are you here for the "sex, drugs, and rock n roll?" Or are you looking for something more?

You may not have the power to influence things now. But someday you will. You will have your own interns, assistants, and perhaps even your own company. The question is, what will you do when you get there and what can you do today to help make that happen?

November 04, 2010

What to Do With A Bad Internship: Part 2

This is part two of a series on how to handle a bad internship. Part one can be found here and deals with how to try and fix the problem. This post addresses what to do when you feel like you've tried everything.

Look on The Bright Side
Learn to be a little more optimistic. Yes, your situation may be terrible, but is it really unbearable? Have you learned anything? Made a new friend of contact? Does the company have a great reputation? It is fairly likely you've at least gained something good from this experience. However, there are certainly some truly terrible internships out there. Try to figure out whether yours is truly one of them or if you've just spent a little too much time focusing on the negative.

Evaluate Your Options
Should you quit? Before you do anything that drastic you should take the time to think about your options. If you do, can you find an internship somewhere else? Is this internship required for school? Will you destroy relationships and risk losing contacts that can hurt your career later on? How much time is left in your internship, can you tough it out? Don't just quit because you're frustrated, be sure to evaluate the long term effects

If You Must, Then Quit With Tact
If you decide your internship is truly awful, you have the worst boss in the world, you haven't learned a thing, you count down the minutes till you get to leave each day, and you simply cannot stand to spend another second on the job, then perhaps you really should think about quitting. However, don't just quit suddenly or cause a scene. Think of way to do so politely, thank them for the opportunity, and be sure to leave things on a good note. The music business is a small place and as much as you may love to, you're better off not causing a scene.

November 02, 2010

Internships for the Music Tech Major Can be a Pretty Tricky Thing

I want to interject first and introduce you to our new blogger, Alden. He will be focusing on advice specific for music tech people and anyone who's interested in a career in production, composition, live sound, or any other similar music career. I'll add a page soon with bios and more info and you can always reach out to him directly at his email at the bottom of this post. But, as a quick overview, he's done several tech oriented internships, holds a degree in music industry, and currently works designing sounds for video games. I'm glad to have him helping and to finally provide better advice to those of you interested in tech and sound!  Enjoy his first post.
   - Katie

Internships for the Music Tech major can be a pretty tricky thing. There’s a lot to balance and a lot to handle when considering pros and cons of any job opportunity, especially so in the music industry. The following are some helpful tips for finding, and retaining, a great internship in the tech side of the music industry.

1. Find out what you want to do

This might seem kind of strange. You’ve already chosen to be a techie, so you already know you want to sit behind a recording console in a studio, right? Maybe. Then again, maybe not. There are literally hundreds of careers out there to choose from. You could be a front of house engineer at a live venue. Why not be a mixing  engineer for TV or film? Better yet, why not compose the music for TV or film? Ever wonder where the sound effects for video games come from? To use an extremely cliché term, the possibilities are endless. Your first priority in finding an internship is soul searching. Figure out what you want to do, and what you need to do to make it happen.

2. Research

November 01, 2010

Networking: How to Get and Build Contacts

This is going to be a multi-part series, starting with Part 1 here focusing on how to actually start conversations and get some new contacts at a networking event. It can be tough, especially if you're not particularly outgoing and social.

Rely on Easy Conversation Starters
This may sound a bit silly, but if you're feeling a little apprehensive about starting a conversation with someone you don't know, there are two classic ways to do so without needing to actually just walk up and introduce yourself: stay near the food or use compliments. When you're standing in line for drinks or food at a networking event it is pretty easy to turn to the person next to you and ask them if they know what something is, where they found the plate, or if they've tried a certain dish yet without much pressure. Then, it is even easier to turn that into a more formal introduction once you've already broken the ice. Another way to break the ice in a similar way is to complement someone. Who doesn't love being told you like their earrings or t-shirt? Start a conversation about something someone is wearing and then introduce yourself.

Bring or Find a Friend
Usually, the one person you really want to talk to at a networking event is also the person everyone else wants to talk to too.

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