May 23, 2011

The Importance of Ethics in the Music Industry

You've heard the phrase countless times before and it may (though hopefully not) even be the reason you want to work in the music industry in the first place. Many movies and TV shows have played on the idea while shows like Entertainment Tonight and TMZ constantly demonstrate it. What am I talking about? "Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll."

Sadly, the music industry isn't exactly known for its strong sense of right and wrong or its great treatment of musicians and other people in general. There are plenty of amazing people in the industry who are there because they are passionate about it, but you will certainly run into more than your fair share of people with different motivations. So, what does that mean for you?

While you're young and starting out, it is important to reflect and evaluate your ethics and personal sense of right and wrong. Figure out what you're ok with and what you're not and learn to draw a very thick line separating the two sides. You will likely face a large number of ethical dilemmas throughout your career so it's important to understand where you stand on key issues. It can be difficult, but figuring it out will make it far easier to deal with an uncomfortable situation when one arises. Spend some time deciding what you think about important issues like honesty, musician's rights, drugs, alcohol, relationships with coworkers or superiors, whistle-blowing, acceptable workplace behaviors, political correctness and socially sensitive issues, etc.

As a young intern or recent hire, it can be very difficult to learn how to stand up for yourself, but by learning more about yourself and deciding what you value, hopefully it will make it a bit easier for you to speak up. Once you figure out what you value, stick with it and avoid bending your own rules to try to gain something. This industry may be competitive, but it is not worth compromising yourself or your morals.
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