September 30, 2011

Understanding Radio Formats:Triple A (AAA)

Despite new technologies making radio seemingly less relevant these days, it is still one of the most influential outlets for "breaking a new artist." So, no matter what part of the music business you want to work in, you should have a good understanding of all of the major radio station formats and what kind of artists are likely to get played on each. I've posted before about CHR , one of the most popular formats. Today's post is about a lesser known one called Triple A. Triple A stations are a bit freer in their music choices but if you spend a few days listening to one you will certainly pick up on the vibe of that station. AAA stands for adult album alternative, meaning that it is targeted to adults, is less focused on singles and more willing to play any song from an album, and tends to play more alternative music. Some still have special programs targeted specifically to younger audiences, like the Y-Rock program on Philadelphia's WXPN, and a lot of them still break new artists because they may be more willing to take risks than other stations. Some artists you might hear on a Triple A station include The Beatles, John Mayer, Hoots & Hellmouth, Adele, R.E.M., Dave Matthews Band, Neil Young, Wilco, Death Cab, Ingrid Michaelson, Vampire Weekend, Billy Joel, Radiohead, Bonnie Raitt, Hall and Oates, Queen, and Ray Lamontagne. The listeners of these stations tend to be older and affluent. Many of these stations are actually public and supported by donations from their listeners. This means they are non-commercial. A lot of these stations are also associated with National Public Radio (NPR) and you might hear popular programs like World Cafe and All Things Considered on them.

September 29, 2011

How To Make a Press Kit

You've probably heard the term press kit before and if you want to work in publicity it is something you should get comfortable with putting together. If you don't you should still know what it is and understand its contents and role so that's what today's post is about.

A press kit is basically a compilation of a lot of information about a musician or band that is sent out to press contacts to try to get a story, interview, feature, or any other press item. Versions of a press kit are also used to book shows, attract labels, get sponsorships etc. However, the contents of these press kits may vary slightly so today I just want to focus on the most basic version.

The list of items you should generally include in a press kit:

September 27, 2011

Online Reputation: Present, Future, and PAST

As the world around us gets increasingly digital, more and more people are creating a presence for themselves online whether it's through a personal blog, Facebook profile, or a LinkedIn resume. I'm willing to bet that you have at least one social networking account. And as an active member of this digital community, as well as an eager, young, job seeker, I'm sure you're making an effort to keep your online identity professional in the eyes of potential employers, right? So your profile picture depicts a sweet, innocent smile, and you're watching what you post and tweet? Good. Well, Facebook may have just thrown a wrench in that.

September 22, 2011

Internship Opportunity at TuneCore!

If you've clicked a link I've shared on Twitter, odds are you've read at least one post from TuneCore's blog and maybe event attended one of their events. Their educational blog has become a go-to source for industry news and insights, but that only skims the surface of what this influential, innovative company is known for. TuneCore has been leading industry change since their creation in 2005 by making it possible for musicians and other rights holders to distribute music through online music retailers all over the world- including iTunes,  Amazon mp3, Napster, and Spotify- as well as offering mobile, licensing, endorsement, and other career opportunities. The company effectively gives music fans access to thousands more songs and musicians and makes it possible for more performers to earn money while maintaining the rights to their work. TuneCore also has a superb team running the show and any aspiring music industry employee would stand to gain a lot by learning from them. So, if you're in or around New York, definitely consider applying for this incomparable opportunity. Full information and how to apply is below!

September 21, 2011

Recommended Reading: A Guide to Business Law

A book on law for entrepreneurs may seem out of place on a blog for music interns, but I promise you it isn't. Aside from those of you interested in starting your own business or becoming a lawyer, this book can help you understand the laws that make the music industry possible. The music industry is essentially a business based around the use and sale of intellectual property, so everything involved in it tends to relate to some aspect of the law. Technically, this book is a textbook, but it's written more as an easy to understand guide to countless complex legal subjects.   I admit, since it's a textbook, it is kind of costly, but Amazon lets you trade it in when you're done, so you can always save by selling it back. 

When an entrepreneur starts a business, they need to consider employment law, intellectual property, covenants not to compete, confidentiality, business entities, equity and stock options, contract law, and many other legal specialties. That list may seem daunting, but each of these topics represents a subject area you will likely come in contact with during your career in the entertainment business. As I said, intellectual property is basically what the music industry (and film, fashion, publishing, etc.) runs on. Non-competes and confidentiality agreements are common things you might be asked to sign as an employee of any company. Contracts are a good thing to understand in any business and especially for creative people like graphic designers, producers, performers, and songwriters. So, reading this book will provide you with a good basic understanding of the legal aspects at work behind your career and help keep you from "getting screwed over."

September 20, 2011

Don't Let Your Happiness Rely on An If

Remember all those proofs from geometry class that always seemed to involve the phrase if...then...? If one statement is true then another follows as a result. If I go in the pool, then I will get wet. If I don't like the song on the radio, then I will turn it off. Et cetera.

Sometimes in life we use similar statements to correlate happiness and success. If I become a rockstar, then I will be happy. If I become CEO, then I will be happy. The trouble is, like in these statements, happiness tends to be reserved for the end goal and for situations that might be unrealistic. This isn't to say that you shouldn't work towards goals that may seem crazy and impossible. But, happiness shouldn't be a reward that is only allowed if you reach them.

September 19, 2011

Living Well On A Student/Intern Budget

The economy is tough for everyone right now, but especially for students and un- or low paid interns. With the costs of everything from gas and food to textbooks and tuition as high as they've been in most of our lifetimes, how do you still manage to have some money left over for anything else? Here's a few tips and tools to save some money.

Payless Texts
Everyone needs new shoes at some point and Payless is one of the best places to get trendy shoes at an affordable price. You can get discounts sent straight to your phone that can actually be used on top of existing deals- such as taking an extra 15% of off BOGO. You can join by texting PAYLESS to 747474.

Rent Textbooks

September 16, 2011

Music Industry Executive Quiz

Take this quiz to see how well you know some of the most famous executives in the music industry. Then share your score, what you think, or what you learned in the comments.

Music Test created on

September 14, 2011

How To Ace A Record Label Interview

As both an undergrad and a law student, I have interned at my fair share of record labels.  But to get those internships I had to jump one major hurdle - the interview.  All of the usual interviewing advice still applies when you apply to an internship at a record label, but over the years I have developed a few rules that apply specifically to labels.  These tips are for everyone, although they will especially make you stand out if you are interviewing for a legal position.

Always know your favorite band on the label.
This is KEY.  Internships are won or lost on this question.  Just like you wouldn't go to an interview at any other company without knowing what they do, don't go into an interview with a record label without being familiar with their roster.  Labels don't just want someone knowledgeable and hard-working (although those are certainly very important), they also want someone who is passionate about the label and the bands.  If there's not a familiar name on label's roster, make sure to do some research on your music streaming site of choice beforehand so that you can have an answer ready.

Have a unique story.
A good background story is a must at any interview in order to answer that dreaded question: "So tell me about yourself."  Your interviewer has just heard ten other people answer by talking about how they sang in their high school chorus or spent their teenage years holed up in their room learning the guitar and listening to [insert angsty band here].  You need a story that both explains why you are applying for an internship with the record label and stands out from the broken record of "I've always loved music!" your interviewer has been hearing all day.  That's great that you love music, but why try to work in the music business?  What challenges involved in working in music interest you?  How did you discover (and perhaps overcome) those challenges?  An effective story should intrigue your interviewer and make you memorable.  Even if you don't get the internship, when another position in your area of interest becomes available, you might be the first person the label calls.  So reach a little deeper into why you want to work in the music business and focus your message to reflect those reasons.

Workplace Makeup

An example of work-friendly makeup
When it comes to fashion and clothing the music industry is pretty liberal. Tattoos,  jeans. piercings, and even flip flops are regularly seen around the office, so it could stand to reason that it's also perfectly acceptable to let your makeup serve as a tool for self expression too, right? Well, not exactly. If you're working at a label famous for its work in metal, scene, punk, emo, etc., then it might okay to be a bit more creative, but for the most part you should keep it pretty tame. Essentially, the same rules apply to makeup as do clothing, accessories, tattoos, etc.: you can be yourself but you still need to look presentable and put together. That's because you still may need to run errands, meet clients, go to meetings, or do other activities where you will serve as a face of the company. So, even if you're working for Ke$ha's record label, the office is still not the place to demonstrate your affinity for glitter, blue lipstick, feathers, and heavy eye makeup. 

Here are some makeup and beauty tips to keep in mind for work, both in the music industry and otherwise:

September 13, 2011

Bringing Good Ideas to Life

"To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing." - Elbert Hubbard

I came across this quote the other day, and besides the fact that it focuses on the negative, I found it to be rather inspiring. It really got me thinking and wondering about the number of ideas that never came to fruition simply because the person who thought of it was either afraid of being criticized or because the first person they mentioned it to shot it down.

As interns, you're probably somewhere between knowing everything about your field that the internet and formal education could tell you and just beginning to explore a promising new passion. At your internship, you're likely surrounded by people with the passion, the formal education, the internet researching skills, and years of professional experience. Maybe you don't have those years of experience (yet!) but don't let it stop you from pursuing an idea that you think is really great. And definitely don't give up the first time someone says "That'll never work!" just because they've "been in the biz".

September 12, 2011

Career Mistakes You Might Be Making: Poorly Organized Resume

When someone looks at your resume it should make sense and tell your story in as little time as possible because the people in charge of hiring aren't exactly going to spend much time on it themselves. They want to spend a few seconds determining whether to keep it or throw it out and move on. So, before you even get to content there are a few key organization issues you need to think about.

Keep It To One Page
I don't care if you've had 30 internships that are all 100% relevant to this job, you resume should still be one page. If you feel you really need to convey more information then you can include a linkedin link or other way to find out more, but there are several reasons you need to learn to limit yourself here. First, it doesn't exactly look good if your resume if longer than that of the person hiring you, that just looks pretentious. Second, most people just aren't going to read more than a page Third, the goal of the resume if to get an interview, so as long as you include your strongest points here, you can save the extra material for interview discussion, which brings me to the next point.

September 10, 2011

Memories of 9/11 and Honoring the Heroes

Hopeful message on the Tiles for America fence in Greenwich Village
I grew up in the perfect location to feel particularly attached to all of the locations involved in the attacks, within a few hours drive from each, this was not just my country being attacked, but my backyard and neighbors.  Almost exactly a month before, I was thrilled to make my first real visit into Manhattan, where my friend and I must have annoyed anyone who came within 10 feet of us. We took a ferry and were so ecstatic that we made up a stupid little song about New York that we sang relentlessly as we crossed the river. Still, it didn't feel real until the second we saw those two towers gleaming in the morning sunlight.

I, like most, will likely recall the details of the morning of the 11th as long as I live. I was in French class when there was a knock at the door. Someone needed to speak to my teacher immediately and a substitute came to watch over us while she went into the hallway. We were confused but figured whatever it was was likely nothing to be too worried about - until my teacher rushed back in the room crying, grabbed her things, and immediately left. The principal came back in and explained what was happening as best he could. We were young though and grew up in the prosperous 90's, so the idea of this kind of attack was unfathomable at best. The only clear thing at the time was that the place where my teacher's son worked had just been struck by a plane.

Unfortunately, we know how the story ends. Though, I am happy to say that her son was alright, thousands of others from all over the world and country were not. That day did show us though just how strong and united we can be, both as a country and a global community. Countless heroes emerged from the dust as rescue workers refused to give up searching for victims and regular people risked their lives to help those they had never even met.  Their inspiring strength reminded us that we are not just republican, gay, Latino, Jewish, progressive, blonde, female, libertarian, southern, middle class, young or any other label. Rather, citizens of the world who, united, could make it through anything. Let us remember that this week as we struggle with revisiting the difficult emotions of that horrendous day and let us celebrate the lives of the heroes who perished by honoring their message of hope, altruism, and perseverance in the face of fear and hate.

September 09, 2011

What to Expect: A Typical Live Sound Day

Here we are in September, and that means that many of you have just wrapped up your summer internships. But in many markets, fall is primo concert season – skipping the extreme heat/cold of summer and winter, while tapping into the absurd amount of disposable income in the hands of newly independent college students. (What are student loans for, after all?)

So for those of you trying to tackle both classes and a live sound internship . . . well, good luck. It can definitely be done, but not without some finagling – and some understanding professors. I was lucky enough to pick up my first steady live sound gig in September of my senior year of college. This was an excellent opportunity for me to get my feet wet in pro-level sound, but it meant missing more than a few classes. What's a guy to do?

Fortunately, my teachers in the music industry program were willing to listen to me, and agreed that an actual job in the field might be just as educational as a class about how to get a job in the same field. They let me use my job at the venue as an internship, and were very accommodating as far as scheduling.

If, on the other hand, you're planning to 'sneak' your internship hours in around your class schedule, here's what you should plan for a typical day at a midsize concert venue:

September 07, 2011

Can Studying Abroad Help Your Career?

Photo by Katie Reilly, 2009
Author John Irving once said "My year  [abroad] was the single-most important year of my education, or perhaps more broadly, my growing up…" Choosing to study abroad will give you a chance to see the world and explore new places and cultures. However, it does take a lot of planning, savings, and coordination. So, is it worth it? Well, I say yes without a doubt because I spent a term in London and it was the best few months of my life. But, then again, how can anyone not have the time of their life while spending a term in Europe? Since this blog is all about careers, let's take a look at it that way. Are there any career benefits to studying abroad?

Internship Opportunity at The Orchard in London,UK

Here's an invaluable opportunity for those of you in the London area. You can read the full company description below, but I'd say The Orchard essentially sets the standard for independent music companies. They were founded in New York in 1997, meaning they were working in the digital space well before it caught the world's attention. They are responsible for making countless songs and videos accessible through more than 100 different outlets in over 230 countries. On top of that, they provide numerous beneficial services and tools for marketing, analytics, sales, and more. The company is also particularly involved with music industry education for both students and artists. Anyone interested in learning about the industry could greatly benefit by having the chance to work and learn from the talented team at The Orchard, so if you are in the London area, I absolutely encourage you to apply!

Location: London,UK

Description: The Client Relations team is looking for an intern to assist with a wide range of administrative tasks to help support their roster of high-profile artists and labels. They are looking for someone who can spend at least 3 days a week on the job and they can pay for your travel anywhere within zones 1-6. 

Requirements: The ideal candidate will be sociable, eager to learn, digital savvy and a passionate music lover. Proficiency in Excel and Word is ideal. It does not need to be for college credits.

About the company: The Orchard is an independent music and video distributor specializing in comprehensive digital strategies for content owners.

We partner with companies of all sizes, from major independent record labels to management firms to production companies, to make their music and videos available across more than 100 unique digital outlets across 230 countries, as well as physical retailers across North America and Europe. But, that’s not all. We work with our clients to maximize their revenue through pricing strategies and sales promotions, provide the latest and greatest digital marketing tools, and offer products like sophisticated sales analytics to help them run their businesses efficiently and effectively.The Orchard was founded in the Lower East Side of NYC in 1997 and now our headquarters are in New York and London with operations in 26 markets around the world. We’re owned by Dimensional Associates, the private equity arm of JDS Capital Management, which means we’re completely independent and not associated with any major conglomeration.

To apply: Send your C.V. and a short paragraph on why you'd like to work there to Chris Duncan at 

September 04, 2011

Featured in Pro-Surfer Bethany Hamilton's Newsletter!

This is a screen shot from the most recent email newsletter from professional surfer and shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton (the recent movie Soul Surfer is about her). I'm so happy to share it because I love Bethany's story- that's why I wrote about it in the first place- and I'm honored to be included in her newsletter. Thanks Bethany! To see the original post and learn more about Bethany's inspirational story, click here.

September 02, 2011

Copyright Misconception #3

Copyright infringement is not a crime.

Usually when you hear about someone who is in legal trouble for copyright infringement, he or she is a defendant in a civil suit brought by the copyright owner.  But under some circumstances copyright infringement can also be a crime.  Section 506 of the Copyright Act makes it illegal to willfully infringe a copyright:

- for the purpose of commercial advantage or personal financial gain;
- by the reproduction or distribution of one or more copies or works during any 180–day period with a total retail value of more than $1,000; or
- by making available to a computer network accessible to members of the public a work that is being prepared for commercial distribution when that person knew or should have known that the work was intended for commercial distribution (this includes when someone leaks an album before its release date or videotapes a movie in the theater before it is available on DVD).

Note that only the first requires the defendant to have made any money from the infringing acts, but all require knowledge of the wrongdoing.  Depending on the severity of the crime, the first and third can earn you up to 10 years in prison and the second can get you up to 6 years, plus any fines.  Criminal charges are not brought often, but it does happen.

Question 7
NAB Show is providing the tickets for this prize and their conference and convention will be going on the same week featuring the latest technologies and trends in media, TV, radio, and film. They also have a free career fair for those looking to get a job in one of these areas. What is the name of the student who got an internship through last year’s NAB Show Career Day?

- Lauren | Twitter: @Musicn3rd

September 01, 2011

Networking Tips: Find A Reason To Follow Up

So you've made a few contact in the music industry, gone to networking events, and conducted a few informational interviews to meet new people and learn about different careers. The trouble is after that things seemed to fall flat. You can't build a relationship with someone from one event, meeting, or interview, so how exactly do you turn a brief conversation into something more meaningful? You find a reason to follow up.

What does that mean?

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