August 29, 2011

Be Grateful in the Face of Adversity: Lessons From Katrina Survivors

Six years ago today one of the most culturally and musically rich cities in our nation, I daresay the world, was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. This weekend, Hurricane Irene, as if paying homage to the original great, caused mass flooding, destruction, loss of power, and even deaths all along the east coast and especially in Vermont and coastal cities. Most I know were fortunate enough to escape Irene with some wind, rain, and minor damage at worst and many took to Facebook to joke about the apocalyptic-like proclamations that were followed by little threat. Instead of realizing that they are very lucky, they proclaim their boredom with the storm. On the other hand, I also know someone whose family, and their surrounding community, lost everything.

Sign in front of a house damaged by Katrina

August 26, 2011

Music Industry Case Study: Octone Records

As a graduate of an MBA program, I've spent a lot of time reading case studies and I think they're a great way to learn about business in a more realistic way than a text book can provide. So, I'm going to share some recommendations for music industry specific case studies that can help you learn more about the specific problems facing our industry. I'm starting with one of my favorite companies, A&M/Octone Records, formerly- and in this case study- just Octone Records.

Octone was, and still is, the home of multi-platinum acts Maroon 5 and Flyleaf and was facing a decision of how to move forward with both their business and a third musician on their roster, Michael Tolcher. The case gives some interesting details on the promotional and marketing plans behind their record releases along with the financial to back it. Overall, it provides a good, real world understanding of what it takes to build the career of a successful artist. Octone does things a little differently though and aims to find the best of both worlds between a major and an independent record label. So, the case also spends some time on the development of this innovative business model and features insights from Octone's talented executives and founders like James Diener, David Boxenbaum, and Ben Berkman.

The case is available from Harvard Business Review for $6.95 and is a wonderful read for anyone intersted in learning more about the inner workings of a record label.
Get more info and purchase the case here: Octone Case Study

- Katie
Email: Twitter: @RockstarIntern

August 25, 2011

Web Resources and Job Search Sites for the Music Industry

When most people look for a job they turn to familiar sites like, do a search, and send in some resumes. Sadly, that isn't usually the case in the music industry but that doesn't mean there aren't ways to find opportunities from job search or other websites. If you're looking for a job and don't know where to begin give these sites a try, but keep in mind that networking and talking to existing contacts can be more helpful than plugging information into a form. Either way, good luck!

Entertainment Careers
This site is my first and favorite recommendation because a lot of companies use it. In fact, I found out about it because a management company I interned at often used it to post their listings. You can find jobs and internships for music, film, television and other entertainment companies on here for both large and major companies. Some jobs listed on the site right now include those with The Agency Group, New York Public Radio, The Recording Academy, EMI, TMZ, and NBC Universal.

August 24, 2011

Success Stories: Bethany Hamilton and Never Giving Up

Soul surfer is a surf term referring to someone who surfs for the sheer joy of doing so. It's also the title of a recent movie about Bethany Hamilton, who seems to summarize the word perfectly. Bethany, though, is not just an example of the importance of passion, she also demonstrates the powers of strength, courage, perseverance, determination, and faith. For those of you who don't already know the story, in 2003, then 13-year-old Bethany didn't spend Halloween enjoying the holiday with friends, instead she was recovering in the hospital. That morning she had been attacked by a shark and lost her arm and a lot of blood. Miraculously, she survived, but it seemed that she had lost a lot more than her arm since she loved surfing and planned to pursue it as a career.

She didn't give up though. Instead, she was back in the water only a few weeks later in November teaching herself how to surf again, overcoming her personal obstacles and likely fear and self-doubt. In January she began competing again and took 5th place at her first competition. A year after that, she was the champion in the NSSA National Competition. Since then, she continues to surf professionally in competitions all over the world and has achieved impressive rankings in these competitions.

Sometimes it may seem like your dreams and goals are impossible and everything in life is working to stop you from realizing it. You may feel frustrated, scared, worthless, or confused or simply just like you are wasting your time working towards the impossible and impractical. I'm sure sometimes Bethany felt the same way. Yet she overcame a shark attack and the loss of her arm, got back in the water, learned how to surf again, and is living her dreams. While she lost her arm, she gained the ability to reach more people and share her inspiring story of hope with countless people and that is a blessing in it's own way. In the recent movie based on her story, her character says "I don't need easy, I just need possible." The real life Bethany Hamilton is proof that you really can overcome just about any obstacle. 

“When you get in the Impact Zone, get back up because you never know what’s over the next wave.” -Soul Surfer

For more of Bethany's story and to read or see the inspiring book and movie, check out these links

Bethany's Official Website 

*Update 9/4/11: Thanks so much to Bethany for featuring this post as a news item in her most recent Coconut Wire newlsetter! I'm honored! 

August 18, 2011

How to Succeed in the Music Business without (Really) Even Trying

It's my guess that most of you, if you're interning in the music business, aren't doing it because you like working for free in what many consider to be a charmingly lost-cause field.

As for the rest of us, well . . . we've become accustomed to luxuries like electricity and food, and we're looking to turn our interest in the music industry into a pastime which can support our wants and occasional needs. It's not surprising, then, that one of the questions most MI professionals get asked – ad nauseum – is “how did you get your job?” I'll give you my story, thusfar, in hopes that it may take a little bit of the worry out of your looming employment search.

Legal News: Grooveshark

What's Happening:

Grooveshark is an online music streaming service where users can upload songs for anyone to play on demand, but it is also what Bob Lefsetz once referred to as "our favorite questionably legal music service" (it's mine anyway).  This is because Grooveshark doesn't pay a licensing fee for most of the music users stream through it, but rather relies on what is known as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA for short) safe harbor provision.  This section of copyright law basically says that an online service provider (OSP) cannot be held liable for copyright infringement committed by its users as long as it follows certain guidelines.  The most important of these guidelines is that the OSP must remove the infringing content in a timely manner if it has actual knowledge that the infringing content is stored on its servers or if the copyright owner asks the OSP to take it down.

Grooveshark says that it follows these guidelines and therefore should qualify for the safe harbor.  It claims that not only has it removed millions of tracks at the request of copyright holders, banned thousands of users, and paid performing rights organizations for streaming rights, but it has also been working to make licensing deals with labels.

Despite Grooveshark's insistence that it is completely legal, it has been named as a defendant in two pending copyright infringement lawsuits.  The first was filed by Universal Music Group in New York in early 2010, and the second was filed in Tennessee last month by a group of songwriters and music publishers.  A previous suit brought by EMI was dropped in 2009 when they agreed to a licensing deal.

August 17, 2011

Internship Opportunities at Ariel Publicity

If you've been following on Twitter, you've probably read at least a few articles by Ariel Hyatt, because I share them often. Ariel and her superb team at Ariel Publicity make up one of my favorite companies in the industry and provide educational and career opportunities for indie artists. Any student interested in working in the music industry could benefit greatly by having the chance to work and learn there. Ariel is the author of multiple music industry marketing/communications books, frequent industry speaker and panelist, and contributor to Music Think Tank. So, if you are going to be in New York this fall, I highly recommend applying for the chance to be one of two new interns at this innovative company. Full info is below, including a link to apply.

Ariel Publicity is a digital music PR firm providing publicity & Internet promotion campaigns for artists, authors, and filmmakers. We understand what it takes for independent artist/entertainers (in any genre) to get the recognition, attention, and sales needed to succeed in today’s rapidly changing entertainment industry.
To succeed in any of these areas today, you have to show up where the action is: online — in the brave new world of social media. We place all of our clients on Internet radio stations, social networking sites, podcasts, blogs, vlogs, audio blogs, online music magazines, video sites, regional sites, and any other appropriate outlets. We also target relevant niche markets, exposing our clients to entirely different groups of fans.

We are seeking aggressive go-getters who are willing and eager to learn about this industry and all of the power that online PR and social media possesses. If you want to cut corners and jump through hoops for credit this is not the internship for you. We want dedicated individuals who want to be here.

We truly value our interns at Ariel Publicity. We want them to have a rich, fulfilling experience during their time here. Many companies in the music industry have their interns passing out mail and going on constant coffee-runs. Most interns at these sorts of companies never have the chance to be heard; their ideas are considered beneath the employees. That is not our philosophy and it never will be. Our interns are given a lot of responsibility and are viewed as major contributors to our firm during their time here; they are a vital part of our efforts.
This is a part-time (2 -3 days per week) unpaid internship for college-credit only.

August 16, 2011

Personality Clash: Finding the perfect fit

About a week ago, a friend of mine shared this post she had found on the Top Ten Myths About Introverts. For those of you who don't know, introverts are those who typically keep to themselves and don't often openly express their thoughts and feelings to others. As someone who considers herself to be an introvert (a point I'm sure those who know me would not argue against), I was thrilled to see someone so accurately describe the truth behind these common misconceptions about my personality type.

Great. So how exactly is this relevant to being a rockstar intern? I have two reasons for making this my topic of discussion today. 1) If you work with introverts, the alternative perspective provided by the Top Ten Myths could help you to better understand them and therefore avoid passing a negative judgement that might not even be true! If you think someone is aloof and rude, you may behave differently towards them. They're likely pick up on your dislike of them and respond in kind and then everyone will feel uncomfortable for really no reason at all. 2) More importantly, if you also classify yourself as an introvert, then this post is especially for you. Read on!

Tough Interview Questions: How To Deal

So, I previously posted a question for you all about piano tuners in Paris, specifically how many are there. It isn't about googling or looking in a phonebook because this was an example of the type of case interview question you might actually get. I promised I'd give you some time to solve it and then share how to handle it. If you haven't seen the original post yet, you can check it out here first. But spoiler alert, I'm telling you how to solve it after the jump (hit read more). 

August 15, 2011

How To Break Into PR:A Question from Twitter

Today, I'm addressing a question from @ElifPoy on Twitter about how to break into PR. If you have a question of your own, always feel free to ask (links are at the bottom of this post).

"Recently, I signed up with the school newspaper. Any advice on how to sell myself to a PR agency as an intern if I'm not studying PR?" -@ElifPoy

Great question. First, congrats on taking a proactive step in the right direction! That kind of attitude will help you a lot on your journey to reaching your goal. PR people generally need to be proactive, social, and outgoing in order to get the best opportunities for their clients so it seems like you are already on the right track. 

As for the educational side of things, keep in mind that you don't have to major in PR to take some related classes. Even electives in things like marketing, communications, sales, media studies, writing, and journalism can help you develop skills relevant to publicity and public relations. PR agents represent their clients and communicate with the public on their behalf, so anything you can do to help you get better at writing, working with people, planning events, and communicating effectively in all mediums will make you a stronger candidate when it is time to apply. So, even some seemingly unrelated departments psychology, web and graphic design, sociology, and political science can offer opportunities to learn more and develop relevant skills. 

August 05, 2011

Marketing Lessons From J.K. Rowling's Pottermore

There are a lot of invite only Internet services rolling out right now and it seems like a new one is launched every week or so. One of the most competitive ones, with beta access even being auctioned off on EBay, is the new Harry Potter centered website, Pottermore, which just began offering early access accounts this week. Pottermore has not made a huge dent on Twitter's trends (as far as I've seen anyway) and I haven't seen it discussed on major news networks. Yet, countless people have spent the past few days watching their computers for a sign of a new trivia question in hopes that they might become one of the lucky few. Pottermore's launch provides invaluable lessons in marketing that can be applied to any new project, in music or otherwise, and even used as general career guidance.

1) Keep People Guessing
Part of the fun when you are a fan of something is trying to figure out what may come next, whether it be the next book, record, movie, or whatever else. So, when you are launching something new be sure to keep some of the mystery intact to build and play on the excitement. Of course, that can seem a lot easier when the project is related to a huge brand like Harry Potter, but remember that even J.K. Rowling was once an unknown writer and she is now one of very few self-made billionaire women.

August 03, 2011

Internship Opportunity: Astralwerks

Astralwerks is looking for interns for the fall semester 2011 for their NYC office. All interns must be able to receive college credit. Hours / days of the week are flexible and part time. If you're interested, email a brief bit about why you'd like to intern at Astralwerks via

Astralwerks is a record label owned by EMI. It is mostly known for electronic music, but they have a lot of awesome artists in other genres as well. Artists they have worked with include: AIR, The B-52s, Babyshambles, Badly Drawn Boy, Basement Jaxx, Bat For Lashes, The Chemical Brothers, Peter Doherty, Empire Of The Sun, Brian Eno, The Faint, Fatboy Slim, Hot Chip, K-OS, Kings of Convenience, Kraftwerk, The Kooks, Late Of The Pier, Sondre Lerche, Laura Marling, Willy Mason, Phoenix, Placebo, Röyksopp, Tracey Thorn, VHS or BETA, We Are Scientists, and Yelle.

This is a great opportunity, and I encourage everyone who will be in NYC and can get college credit to apply. You'll meet a lot of cool people, discover a ton of great music, and learn all about the day-to-day operations of a record label (I should know - my very first internship was at Astralwerks!).

- Lauren
Email: Twitter: @Musicn3rd

August 02, 2011

The Importance of Appropriate Footwear

It's story time.

I recently moved into an apartment much closer to my workplace. Instead of a 20-minute train ride, I can get to work in a 20-minute walk. I love this new commute, which adds exercise and fresh air into my daily routine. Unfortunately, some of the shoes I'd like to wear to work aren't very well suited for nearly a mile of walking. I learned this the hard way today. I selected a pair of shoes that I hadn't worn in awhile but they were pretty comfy and well-cushioned so I figured they wouldn't be too hard on my feet during the walk (tip: good shoes for walking have a good arch support as well as cushioning to absorb the impact so that it doesn't hurt your joints!).
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