December 31, 2010

Top 10 Posts of 2010

For New Year's Eve we're revisiting the most popular posts of the past year. Or really few months because we haven't been around for a full year yet. So thank you so much for reading, it means a lot and we're so glad to be able to help and provide you with some insights and opportunities. It has been an amazing several months and we're looking forward to continuing to grow with you, adding more advice, hearing about your experiences, and posting more. Have a wonderful 2011 and always feel free to get in touch with us if there's something you need.

Intern Opening: Communications/Marketing
NARM, in Marlton NJ is looking for an intern. They still are, so check it out and apply.

How GRAMMY U Can Help You Start a Music Career
GRAMMY U is a great organization that provides opportunities and education for college students who want careers in music. Find out all about it here.

Music Industry 101 Quiz
The first of our recent weekly quiz series. Test out your knowledge of the music industry and see how it compares to the average score. Hopefully learn something along the way.

What to Wear for an Interview (Part 1)
I think the title is self explanatory, part 1 of a two part series on what to wear at an interview

The Elusive Major Label Job
Tips and advise on how to get a job at a major label.

8 Music Tech Careers
Career descriptions and opportunities for those interested in working with tech, sound, recording, etc.

Post-Interview Etiquette
What you should do after your interview and what to do during the interview to set yourself up well

So You’re Thinking About Law School
Everything you need to know if you're thinking about becoming a lawyer

What To Put on A Business Card
Business cards are extremely useful, but what do you do when you're an intern, student, or recent grad?

What Is Entertainment Law Anyway?
What exactly to entertainment lawyers do and is it for you?

December 28, 2010

Legal Interning Tip #3

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

Avoid saying no.

Depending on what your interning situation is, you may find yourself helping out more than one attorney in more than one department. If someone in the tax law department asks you to research something, accept the assignment enthusiastically. The point of your internship is to learn as much as possible, and who knows, maybe you'll find that you enjoy the topic just as much as any music-related topic. You want as many people on your side as possible when it comes to future recommendations and landing a job. Having a reputation as a hard worker goes a long way.

That said, DON'T say yes if getting all of your work done on time is a physical impossibility. There is no need for you to be pulling all-nighters in order to accept everything that comes your way. Be realistic and tell the attorney that you have a lot of work that is due soon, but if she doesn't need it right away, you think that you could get to it next week. You haven't said no, and this effectively puts the ball back in the attorney's court to either say that it's not that important or to find someone else to do it. The point is that you didn't waste her time by saying that you can complete something in time when you can't, you didn't have to pull all-nighters at the office to get everything done on time, and you have come off as professional and responsible to the attorney.

December 27, 2010

What to Wear on the Job

Most of you, that are college students, are probably ending your winter break and are about to head back to school. Hopefully this also means starting an internship. We've talked about what to wear at the interview, but in some ways it can be even more stressful to figure out what to wear on the first day: you want to both fit it, be yourself, and make a good impression. That's a lot for one outfit to accomplish, so what exactly should you wear for the first day at a new internship or job?

Think About the Interview
You likely interacted with at least a few people during your interview and hopefully had a chance to walk through the office and observe the work environment. You should start by thinking about what you saw people wearing around the office. This includes thinking about the style, level of formality, trendiness, colors, etc. Did you a lot of clothes that look like they've come off the runway? Did you see jeans sneakers and laid back t-shirts? Did you see business casual? Or maybe a combination, such as suit paired with a t-shirt and sneakers? Understanding what employees wear will help you figure out what is expected.

Step It Up

Now that you've figured out what is likely expected, you should step it up a notch for your first day in order to make a good impression. Basically, whatever you determine is the trend for clothing at that company, you should start by wearing something slightly more formal and slightly more conservative. If you see sneakers try a formal flat or simple heels. If you see t-shirts try a nice dress shirt or blouse. If everyone is wearing suits then you should wear a conservative suit and tie or dress suit for women. If everyone is dressed like they belong in a fashion magazine then you should wear a professional version of the recent trends. For instance, for women it's easy to wear a ruffled blouse (since that is a big trend right now) and cute knee length pencil skirt, with trendy shoes and accessories while keeping it both professional and trendy.

General Guidelines
In general there are a few overarching rules you should follow when planning your outfit for the first day:
  • Keep it slightly more formal and conservative than what you expect to wear normally
  • Don't wear sandals or flip flops your first day, even though they may be allowed later
  • This also applies to jeans
  • Avoid showing cleavage, too much legs, too much arms, or really too much skin in general.
  • At most companies it is ok to have trendy items and more creative, expressive clothes and casual clothes
  • Don't wear anything obscene or offensive, this applies generally speaking, not just your first day
  • Generally, don't wear anything too sloppy or look like you just rolled out of bed. You still need to look put together and nice
  • Generally, don't wear anything ripped stained or anything else that doesn't look nice
  • Don't wear anything you would wear to a club. Unless maybe you can tone it down by pairing it with a jacket, leggings, flats, nice pants, etc.

Holidays in the Music Industry

It's been a little lax regarding updates recently on here and especially on our Twitter so I wanted to take a moment to explain both that and something about one of the benefits of working in the music industry.

For the most part this time of year, the music business shuts down. Artists stop touring, records are rarely released, radio is playing year end countdowns and Christmas music, and most offices close. In general, this doesn't just mean for Christmas and New Year's either, it actually means for a few weeks. (Again, this is a generality and doesn't apply to all offices or positions, some offices remain open and some offices only require certain people to come in- so don't get your hopes up just yet). Still, generally speaking, if you work in music, you are probably on vacation right now until the New Year.

Sadly, this also means there is very little going on and very little news and stories to share with you all on Twitter. So, I hope you're not feeling forgotten, it's just that there really isn't much to post because everyone is probably on a tropical island somewhere (I wish I were, it's too cold!) or just relaxing at home.

We will of course keep blogs coming fairly regularly and will resume our normal schedule (such as quizzes on Monday, news on Wednesday, etc) here in the new year and we have some good stories and ideas lined up for you. I imagine some of you will be starting new internships then too so in the mean time follow our new year's countdown for tips of what not to do on the job to be sure you impress (rather than annoy) your new boss. Also, feel free to get in touch if you need specific advice, all of our emails are on the about page.

Happy Holidays everyone and, as always, thanks for reading!

-Katie R

Interview Checklist

All set for your big interview coming up? Here's a quick checklist of things you'll want to make sure you have/do to help the interview go smoothly.

    At the very least, visit the company's website. Make sure you know what the company does and the type of client they cater to.

    Make sure your interview attire is clean, ironed, and ready to wear. For more on what to wear, view my other posts -- Part 1 & Part 2.

    Sometimes interviewers print out copies in advance, but just in case, bring 3-5 printed copies of the latest version of your resume.

December 23, 2010

What to Wear for an Interview (Part 2)

In What to Wear for an Interview (Part 1), I strongly suggested sticking to a classic, professional look for the interview even if the employees typically wear jeans and a t-shirt. But, ok, what if you want to show a bit more personality with your attire and wear something to stand out from the other employee potentials? I'd advise you to let your personality shine through the interview itself instead of through your clothes, however, here are some tips for things to watch out for lest you become like Belly-Shirt Girl, the young woman who has gone down in office infamy for her slightly exposed midriff.

December 22, 2010

Understanding Radio Formats: CHR

The relevance of radio these days is probably a topic worth debating. I imagine some of you never listen to the radio at all while some of you still find most of your new music on it. Radio may be waning but regardless, you need to learn the old industry model before you can fully understand new ones. So today's post, with more to come on each format, is part of helping you do that.

Whether you want to be an artist, a manager, a label executive, a marketing consultant, a radio promoter, a DJ, or perhaps even a producer, it is important that you understand that genre constraints of major radio stations. This will help you understand why certain stations play the music they do and how to position an artist if you are looking to get airplay.

December 21, 2010

New Year's Countdown and New Blogger

You may have noticed so far that the blog has mostly focused on the positive sides of being an intern or new hire in the music world, as in what you should be doing. The trouble is, though, that even the best interns and young professionals can seriously screw up an otherwise great experience by making a few key mistakes. Sadly, the "best" of these mistakes tend to live on in offices for years, while the person involved goes down in infamy. Usually, these poor people become "the girl who..." or "... guy." Actually, I think that was already mentioned once in Katie H's post about interview attire, where she talked about how to avoid becoming "belly shirt girl." Moral of the story: if you want a successful career in the music industry you should also be paying attention to what you shouldn't be doing. We expect more of our readers and don't want you ending up branded as the intern or employee no one actually wants to work with, so we're introducing a new column focused on what to avoid in the workplace. It will be launched on Wednesday by our new blogger, Anna. A new year brings new opportunity to be your best self and make the impression that could set your career on the path to greatness. Be sure to check in through the next few weeks for the New Year's count down so that, in the new year you are the person to hire.

Anna holds a degree in Music Industry and has worked in the music business for several years with a specialty in Marketing. Her experiences as an intern included acting as the direct intern to the CEO of the distribution arm of major label. She has served on panels at music conferences and been interviewed for various music industry news pieces, including one in CMJ. She spent several years as a Product Manager at a nationally distributed indie label, and then was promoted to Label Manager. Currently, Anna works for a national music industry trade organization in the Marketing and Communications Department. You can contact her at

December 20, 2010

Changing the World

An awesome and insightful friend (and actually future new blogger, but more on that later) said this to me today and I think it's begging to be shared because it's so true. So, don't listen to the naysayers and don't be afraid to change the world.

"Mark Zuckerberg is only 7 months older than me and he was in college when he created the insanity that is Facebook. People need to realize that just because you're a kid in a dorm room that nobody knows doesn't mean you don't have it in you to change the world." - Anna Drozdowski

Monday Quiz: Music Publishing

This week's quiz is about music publishing, test your knowledge and hopefully learn a little something

Free game suggested from

December 17, 2010

Recommended Reading: Hypebot

If you follow us on Twitter you've probably heard of Hypebot, because a lot of the news articles we tweet come from there.  You also may have heard of it through here recently because I had a guest post on Hypebot the other day. But, I'd recommend reading the blog on a regular basis. Hypebot is a music industry blog focused on new technology, the cultural changes created by it, new business models, innovation, and independent artists and labels.

The site always has the latest news updates on the music industry in general as well as longer essays and think pieces about the state of the industry in general. It's one of my favorite resources for keeping up with industry news as well as trends and innovative, new ideas.


How GRAMMY U Can Help You Start a Music Career

Every February celebrities line the red carpet and music lovers gather around their televisions to enjoy the performances and see who will win the night's big awards. You probably figured out that I'm talking about the GRAMMY Awards, but did you know that the same organization responsible for those illustrious statuettes can also help your career?

The GRAMMYs are held by The Recording Academy, a trade organization of the music industry. GRAMMY U is the college branch of the academy and allows college students to enjoy the benefits of a regular academy membership with additional benefits from GRAMMY U itself. I interviewed Caitlin Vivian, the GRAMMY U Rep in Philadelphia, to get some more info on the program, its benefits, and how you can join. She described GRAMMY U as "a network of college students pursuing careers in the music industry" and explained that it provides "events and tools geared towards networking and providing information about what students can do to jumpstart their careers."

December 16, 2010

Finding a Real Job

If you're a graduating senior then graduation is approaching rather quickly Unfortunately for you, the industry is still not in great shape and the job market and economy as a whole are still going through some tough times as well. So, this pretty much gives you two options: let the odds get you down and give up now, or get proactive.

Honestly, in the music industry, unlike your friends in engineering or accounting, you really shouldn't expect to find a job this far in advance. So, you shouldn't exactly start a job search just yet. But, I also know most of you are on winter break now and are probably spending that time catching up with old friends or sitting on your couch watching tv and movies or playing video games (I was guilty too). There's nothing wrong with taking this time to relax, but try take just a few hours out in the name of productivity to get things on track for when it comes time to apply for jobs (I'll post some more on that later).

Here's some steps you can take now to put yourself in a good position later:

Guidelines for Submitting Demos

This is in a sense part of our series on becoming a music producer, but it actually applies to several career options including bands, songwriters, producers, and anyone else who needs a demo to advance their career. I've reviewed more awful and ill-prepared demos than I could count and there are certain key mistakes that will probably get yours thrown in the trash pile really quickly regardless of talent.

So, here's what you should keep in mind when preparing to send a demo

Do NOT send it unsolicited
When you send an unsolicited demo you are not just trying to be persistent and determined, you are wasting your time and your money. It's a legal thing and no matter how cool your name sounds or how lucky you think you are, it won't be listened to at all. There are a few exceptions to this, but there really aren't enough to make it worth it. It isn't a personal thing, it's a legal thing and it's not going to change any time soon. Fortunately, in most cases, getting the ok to send a demo can be as easy as calling and having a nice and respectful conversation with the person you talk to. Don't be too pushy, don't start singing to them (I've had this happen and I promise you will come across as crazy, not talented or persistent) or trying to play them music (speakers on phones aren't suited for that), and don't act like you're the next big thing. Just tell them about your music and ask if it'd be ok if you send a demo. If they no, that's where you can be persistent and determined, by calling back every few months or so to check back. You can also use your network to try to find a contact at the places you are sending demos and get in that way.

Put Your Contact Info on EVERYTHING

December 15, 2010


The music industry is a tough place to break into and, often times, a tough place to work. I imagine if you're reading this you've probably had at least one person tell you that you're crazy for thinking you'll "make it," I certainly have.

I hope you're too stubborn to listen to them and far too busy plotting your move to New York, London, or Nashville to care.

In this industry, you will probably get fired or laid off fairly often, you will have days on top of the world followed by days where nothing goes right, you will hate your job one minute and love it the next, and you will spend far too many hours each week in your office or studio while your friends are at home relaxing.

Wednesday News Item: Potential Sale of EMI

If you've followed the the news on the music industry recently you've probably heard that EMI may be history in the near future. This would obviously be an interesting and important development, but how exactly did we get here and what will it mean?

The Past
Terra Firma, a private equity firm owned by Guy Hands made a deal with EMI in 2007. The firm invested in EMI and Citigroup issued a loan to cover the rest of the deal. After a few rounds of layoffs and successful quarters with improved profits and sales figures, it sadly still seemed the deal was not the best move for Terra Firma. In 2009, a case was launched by Terra Firma alleging that Citi has misrepresented the value of EMI at the time of the deal. In the mean time, EMI has required several additional investments from the firm to avoid defaulting on the initial loan.

The Present

December 14, 2010

What Is Entertainment Law Anyway?

Whenever I tell someone outside of the music or law world that I'm going into music law, they always smile and say, "That's great!" And then they ask what it means. So here's a quick primer on what music lawyers actually do.

There are two basic areas that entertainment lawyers practice in: litigation and transactional law. A lawyer will generally specialize in one or the other.

A litigation lawyer is a trial lawyer. These are your Atticus Finches and your Cousin Vinnys. He drafts complaints, engages in discovery (which is basically evidence collection), conducts depositions, makes motions, and argues in front of a judge and/or jury. When you watch courtroom dramas this all looks very glamorous. In reality, it's often not. The discovery process can take years, and there's always the chance of the parties settling before you even make it to court. Getting to argue in front of the United States Supreme Court is like winning the lottery. But you will eventually have your day in court, and you will get to write a lot of threatening letters in the meantime.

Katie's Post on Hypebot

If you haven't seen it yet then please be sure to check out my guest post on Hypebot today.
Why Are Some Records Outperforming Singles

Huge thanks to Kyle Bylin for posting it!

December 13, 2010

December 12, 2010

Recommended Reading:Guide to Music Publishing

New Songwriter's Guide to Music Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Make the Best Publishing Deals for Your Songs

With fast paced changes of technology these days, nearly any book dealing with publishing could be out of date the minute it itself is published. So, while this book is a bit out of date, it isn't actually a big weakness. Instead, it makes it the perfect place to start when it comes to understanding the publishing industry, whether you're a songwriter or not. 

Author Randy Poe does a great job of explaining complex legal terms and ideas in simple, easy to

December 09, 2010

Becoming a Music Producer Part 2

Last week we discussed here what a producer does and that one of the best ways to get your music out there if you want to produce for a big artist or a major label is to get a producer manager. But, how exactly do you go about doing that?

This week is about what you can do to start building a reputation to impress a manager.

Find Your Sound
You need to figure out who you are as a producer. Obviously, you will grow and evolve over time but the producers bring a certain vision and sound to a recording just as band's have their own sound. Howard Benson, Mutt Lange, and Timbaland all bring a different style to their recordings and artists and labels seek out their work for that signature sound. So, to have an appeal as a producer you need to find your vision and your approach. The best way to do that is probably through experimentations and listening to a lot of different music and producers.

Build A Portfolio

Wednesday News Update: Spotify

There's a been a lot of talk this week about Spotify and it's impending release in the United States. So, what the heck is Spotify and why should you care?

Spotify is a music streaming service available in Europe that lets users stream ad-supported music for free up to twenty hours a week. Unlike Pandora, it is not like a radio station. It actually lets you listen to anything you want- an entire catalogue, an album, a playlist you've created, etc.  It has been available in most of Europe for quite a while. So far the company has been having some trouble with its attempts to launch in the US because of a lack of cooperation from some of the major labels.

December 08, 2010

8 Music Tech Careers

So you’ve decided you want to pursue a career in the tech side of the music industry, but you’re not sure precisely what you want to do. Music today permeates all forms of media, and in many different ways. As such, there is a growing amount of career paths that you can choose from. Here are 8 music tech jobs (in no particular order) that you should look into.
By Jason Meredith (Flickr: Enrolling Stones in the Studio) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
1) Recording Engineer – The figurehead of the tech side of the industry
Artists write songs, artists perform songs. That’s all well and good, but when it comes time to put the song on a CD, or get an mp3, artists generally aren’t the people for the job. This is where the recording engineer comes in. These are the guys and gals who hold the know-how in terms of getting the songs on a tangible medium. “Set up and run the session smoothly, and get recognized for doing so” are words to live by for any recording engineer. The less technical stuff the artist has to worry about, the better. A good engineer will know which mic to put where, and which compressor and EQ to use. A great engineer will have his signal chain down to a science.

2) Mixing Engineer – The magic make-it-sound-better guy
Often, the recording and mixing engineers are one and the same. However, sometimes a fresh set of ears is needed to do the record justice. The mixing engineer’s job is to make everything sound as clean as possible. Leveling and EQing are of the utmost importance to the mixing engineer, but that doesn’t mean his job comes completely without artistry. You can work your creative magic during mixing by adding little tweaks here and there, using reverb to get a sweet and full sound, or adding a whole list of effects to get the feel you are looking for. Play around with the record a bit. Run a drum track through a guitar amp just to see what happens, double the vocal track at -12dB and reverse it just for funsies, do whatever it takes to make your client say “whoa”.

3) Mastering Engineer – The finishing touch

December 06, 2010

Media Quiz Monday

Something a little different for you on this Monday. Instead of the usual music quiz, today's quiz is brought to you by Katie H about basic HTML. If you're interested in learning more about HTML, has some great free tutorials and quizzes!

Powered free by

December 05, 2010

Becoming a Music Producer Part 1

If you're interested in pursuing a career as a producer you're sadly in for one of the toughest careers in music. But if you know where to start it can be a little bit easier.

Obviously, the first step is being sure you understand what a producer does and that you actually wish to be one. Production isn't about just getting the music recorded and sounding good, that's more along the lines of what an engineer does. Production is kind of like what a director of a movie does. A producer's job is to set a vision, a sound, and a goal for the record and a good producer tends to have his or her own distinct sound and style.

Beyond that, there are a few steps you can take to get going in the right direction and we'll be covering them over a series of posts (I'll be tackling the business side and Alden will cover the tech side). Today we'll be talking about one of the best ways to get your music heard: a producer manager.

December 03, 2010

Post-Interview Etiquette

You wrote a great cover letter and put together an impressive resume. You've figured out what you're going to wear, thought of some questions to ask your interviewer, and tried to get some sleep the night before. Still, there's a few things to keep in mind as you head into that interview that will make your life a little bit easier after the fact.

When should you expect to hear?
Try to ask this at the end of the interview and use it as an opportunity to express your interest again. For instance, you could say something like "I'm really excited about this opportunity and would love to work with you, when should I expect to hear something?" This demonstrates your interest again, which is good, but it will also help calm your nerves. There's nothing like waiting around hoping for a call after that interview to find out if you got the job. The trouble is some companies may call you in a few days and some may take a few weeks. Finding out what to expect can help you to stop worrying about it later and give you a better idea of when you should follow up again.

A little more personal

Recommended Reading Friday

I'm not sure how it got to be Friday so quickly, but I'm definitely not arguing.

Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing out of Sync?

Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing out of Sync?

The recommendation today has an odd title but the material is extremely intelligent and insightful. Then again, I wouldn't expect anything less from Seth Godin. The book basically talks about how marketing has changed and the trends in technology and culture that have created these changes. I would especially recommend it if you are interested in working with indie music but it really contains great information for anyone interested in marketing, promotion, or business. If you don't know who Seth Godin is then that's another reason you should pick up this book, or any of his other books for that matter, they're all very smart and innovative. Seth himself is essentially a business genius who writes about marketing, leadership and general business. If you've ever heard the term "permission marketing" that is thanks to him- he coined it. All of his books are fairly short but full of thought provoking material and written in a captivating, easy to understand conversational style.

December 02, 2010

Intern Opening: Communications/Marketing Department Intern at NARM

NARM  is looking for interns for the upcoming term. NARM is an industry trade organization, located in New Jersey, best known for its annual industry convention. They hold a lot of other great educational and networking events and act as advocates for the industry. Its member base includes everyone from ISPs to major labels. NARM is looking for an intern for their Communications and Marketing Department for January-May, preferably full time. Click to read more and view the full job description and if you have any questions you can either email Anna (her info is included after the jump at the bottom) or ask me (


What to Wear for an Interview (Part 1)

Quick interjection first from Katie (other Katie, now there are two of us) to introduce our new blogger. She doesn't exactly work in the music industry, but a closely related media field. She has a degree in Digital Media which includes everything from graphic design to digital animation and she currently works at a company that designs mobile friendly websites. She's here to contribute some general career advice for the creative industries and can give some great insights on design, new media, social networks, etc. So enjoy the first post from out new blogger, Katie H. ! - Katie R.

So you've dazzled them with your resume, blown them away with your exceptional oration skills (if you've had a phone interview), ensured that nothing shady cropped up in a Google search of your name, and in so doing have scored an in-person interview for a prospective job. Congratulations! But oh, dear! Whatever will you wear?

For an interview, you really can't go wrong with the classic button-up shirt, black blazer, and dress pants. I know, I know.. there are some companies where the standard attire may be jeans and a t-shirt and you may be afraid of giving them the impression that you're a business snob. The truth is that the real message you would send is that you're a professional and you take this company and its position seriously. I donned the more conservative look in my interviews for my college internship as well as for my first full-time position and both companies were business casual.

To help you select your perfect interview attire, I have compiled the following list of things you should keep in mind:

December 01, 2010

Wednesday News Item

This is another new initiative on my part, to try to share with you one interesting news item each Wednesday and talk about its influence on the industry. Today's is about net neutrality.

You've probably heard this term mentioned at least a few times before. But what is it? Net neutrality is essentially the way the Internet has always operated (in America at least) and it means that service providers, such as Comcast and Verizon, and the government can't control how user's communicate, what they have access to, what equipment they use, etc. It means that you are free to use the Internet as you wish without having sites, content, or anything else blocked or prohibited and that companies can't pay money to make their site load faster or be favored in any other way. The FCC met today and established a day, the 21st, to vote on various issues surrounding net neutrality and most Internet companies are not happy with their most recent proposal.

So, why is this important to the music world?
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