November 30, 2011

How To Prepare for Conferences and Conventions

This is a guest post by Desi Rottman. Desi is a recent graduate of Ferris State University's Music Industry Management program. A former recipient of a NAMM President's Innovation Award and Tuition Scholarship, she's currently a marketing manager of a small music non-profit in Michigan. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

A (Brief) Primer on Conferences and Conventions
Conferences aren’t just for people already working in the industry. Students are welcome to attend many, and some even have programs tailored directly to college programs. NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) is the trade organization for the music product industry, and they have a great program at their winter show called “Generation NEXT.” NARM (National Association of Recording Merchandisers) offers a “Crash Course” beginning their full convention.

They are great networking opportunities, and most seminars like this will have built-in meeting opportunities. Expect to pack a lot of information in to a very short time and meet a lot of people who can help you in your job search – so make sure you present your best self and always dress (and act) appropriately.

Aside from all the career advice and contacts you’ll make, you’re also pretty likely to come away with a few bags of swag!

Get Prepared
The number one thing you need to bring to a conference of any kind is business cards. I can’t stress it enough.

November 29, 2011

A Quick Note About Our Question Submission Form

If you've submitted a question to us via the form on the "Ask" page and haven't received a response yet first, I'm really sorry about that and will get to it personally ASAP! We had been having some issues with the form where we actually couldn't view anything that was submitted through it. Instead, it all came out like this ******  *** ******...
The form was clearly trying to censor you! Just kidding. The problem has been fixed though and we can finally read what you've asked!  So, your questions should be addressed soon if they haven't already. I'm sorry that I didn't mention this sooner and I'm even sorrier (is that a word?) for any difficulty or frustration on your part. If you feel more comfortable, please feel free to resubmit your question or even just email me directly and I'd be happy to help. Otherwise, you should have an answer soon! As always, thanks for reading!


November 28, 2011

Music Placement: How Do Songs Get on TV?

Grey's Anatomy, Apple, Glee, and So You Think You Can Dance. What do these seemingly unrelated things have in common? Their reputations for breaking great songs and artists. Grey's Anatomy helped make The Fray's "How to Save a Life" a hit after featuring it briefly in Season 2 and again extensively in trailers for a later season. Apple's famous iPod commercials are responsible for the popularity of such songs as The Ting Ting's "Shut Up and Let Me Go" Feist's "1,2,3,4" and "Fathead" by The Fratellis. Glee's covers have shown an unprecedented ability to help songs both new and old gain popularity with a new audience. Finally, So You Think You Can Dance turned "Jar of Hearts" by Christina Perri, who was unsigned at the time, into a beloved hit seemingly overnight.

It's clear that the inclusion of a song in a TV show, commercial, film trailer, video game, movie, etc. can help propel a song to success fairly quickly. But how exactly does that song get there in the first place? It's all about music publishing.

November 25, 2011

The Interview - From the other side of the table

About a week ago, I saw for the first time what it was like to be on the interviewer's side of the table so I thought I would share a little bit about what I observed.

There are so many types of interviews. As the interviewee, I have experienced the one-on-one interview, group interview, phone interview, interview where one person was physically present and another was calling in, and combinations of any of those. With the exception of phone interviews, I never knew which type to expect so I had to mentally prepare for them all (yipes). Personally, my favorite is the group interview because it gives me a great feel for the company atmosphere as I watch how the employees interact with each other. Additionally, it takes some pressure off of me because I can feed off of the group dynamic.

Moving back to the topic of the interview where I got to pose the questions.. this was a group interview. The interviewee had already impressed the employer with stellar (albeit a bit long and not 100% relevant) resume, phone interview, and review of previous project work. Essentially, all he had left was a personality test to see how well he fit in with the rest of the group. The interview was really laid-back with questions like "What do you do for fun?" "Which sports teams do you support?" and the like. Obviously the answers to these questions would not determine whether or not he was hired (After all, I'm a Patriots fan in Philadelphia and they let me in. ;) ).

Having employees give interviews as a group allows them to be more relaxed so they're more likely to banter with each other as well as banter with you. This is the type of thing that, as the interviewee, I can feed off of, but I can see where it could make some people uncomfortable. You just have to let yourself relax a little bit and forget about being the perfect interviewee selling his skills and accomplishments. Treat it a little more like a friendly conversation (just avoid getting too friendly with topics that could be viewed as inappropriate). Find the balance between selling yourself as a valuable worker and selling yourself as a likeable human being.

"So, I see from your resume that you like to work with PCs..." our graphic designer (a big Apple fan) asked with an air of mock disapproval.

What the interviewee didn't know was that he was surrounded by both die-hard Mac fans, die-hard PC fans, and those who have their preferences but honestly aren't that picky. For all he knew, though, he could have been in a room full of Apple loyalists (Uh oh...!)

Some people might tense up when challenged like this (especially if the joking tone of the interviewer is missed). Just try to respond with confidence and be true to what you believe. "Yes, I like PCs because..." or "I've worked with PCs but I actually prefer Macs because..." or whatever the case may be. Just try not to let the joking knock you off your game. Interviews in general are often more about personality than skill reviews unless there are things on your resume that require further explanation. Just put on your best smile and let your personality show through!

Katie Hazard | Digital Artist, User Experience Designer | @katie_hazard

November 18, 2011

Cover Letters: Send as attachment or email body?

During lunch the other day at work, we started talking about job application cover letters and whether or not it was more acceptable to send them as attachments or to have the body of your email serve as your cover letter. The results of the discussion were inconclusive. Some people prefer attachments because it's easier to print out and pass on to other members of the company, while others like the simplicity of not having to open that extra document. So... which should you do?

Sometimes potential employers will make the decision easy for you by specifying that they would like to receive your cover letter attached to the email. If this is directly stated in the description for the job application, definitely do it! Not doing so may mean a failing mark in a test of paying attention to details. Additionally, if a preferred document type is mentioned, be sure to follow that as well. If no document type is specified, I send your cover letter as a PDF, which can easily be opened without the employer needing to have special software (even if it's commonly owned software. Be careful of making assumptions!)

If the employer does not specify whether or not they would like the cover letter to be attached then your safest bet is probably just to attach it anyway. Keep the body of your email brief and use it to give yourself a quick introduction and include the purpose for why you're sending the email. Yes, this probably means there will be redundancies between the email and the cover letter but not everyone who sees your cover letter will have read your email.

Katie Hazard | Digital Artist, User Experience Designer | @katie_hazard

November 17, 2011

Spring Internship Opportunities at SiriusXM Radio Inc.

Sirius XM Radio Inc. is America's satellite radio company. SiriusXM broadcasts more than 135 channels of commercial free music, and premier sports, news, talk, entertainment, traffic and weather to more than 20 million subscribers. We are one of the world's largest pure-play audio entertainment company and we are among the largest subscription media companies in the United States. SiriusXM broadcasts to subscribers everywhere they want to listen in cars, on boats, in the home or office, and through a wide range of mobile devices. SiriusXM offers an impressive array of content that spans virtually all genres and interests, including Howard Stern, Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, Rosie O'Donnell, Jamie Foxx, Barbara Walters, Opie & Anthony, Bob Edwards, Chris "Mad Dog" Russo, Jimmy Buffett, The Grateful Dead, Willie Nelson, and Bob Dylan, among others. SiriusXM is the leader in sports programming as the Official Satellite Radio Partner of the NFL, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, NBA, NHL, and PGA Tour and offers major college sports.

SiriusXM Offers Internships In The Following Fields:
• Finance & Accounting • Web Development & e-Business
• Sales & Marketing • Broadcast Operations
• Public Relations • Information Technology
• Broadcasting & Production • Human Resources

Our Internship Provides:
• Executive “Snack & Learn” Seminars • A Hands-On, Learning Lab Environment
• Resume Workshops • One-On-One Placement With A Mentor
• Mid-Term & Final Evaluations • Career Coaching

Internship Requirements:
• Must receive academic credit for participation (internships are UNPAID)
• Must work a minimum of 20 hours per week

Now Recruiting For SPRING Session:  January 30 – May 11, 2012
Apply online at

Find out more and follow SiriusXM internships at 
Tweet: @siriusxminterns
Facebook: /SiriusXMInternship

November 14, 2011

Get A Life: Why You Need Non-Musical Hobbies

Did you grow up pursuing music activities in any and all forms? Band, choir, lessons, musicals, your own band, songwriting, listening to it, et cetera? If you're at all like me music has always been your hobby, your passion, your dream career and essentially, your life. Now, though, that that dream career is beginning to bud into a reality you'll find that what was once your hobby has quickly become your work. I'd say this is great! There is, after all, nothing better than doing what you love. The trouble is that when your work gets you stressed you'll have nowhere else to turn to blow off some steam. I know, right now you're thinking you'll never reach a point where music manages to stress you out, so let me tell you instead about one of my most memorable interview experiences.

I was interviewing for what was essentially my dream internship at a company I loved that was home to several great artists. This wasn't my first internship so I was fortunate enough to feel confident in my resume and experience. Everything went well until the interviewer asked me what else I do that isn't related to music. I didn't really have an answer because there wasn't much else. I studied music in school,  worked with artists in between, and wrote songs and listened to music for fun. Too bad when I said something like that my interviewer told me that was the wrong answer. Uh-oh. Thankfully, I did finally think of something to say, but what if I hadn't? I did spend most of my time pursuing musical activities and realized for the first time that day that what used to be a hobby wasn't any longer.

If this sounds like you then please try to expand your tastes now and pick up something new. Study a new language, create website, take up a sport, collect something, learn how to surf, write, volunteer, join a non-music club, just do something! Because at the end of the day companies want to hire someone who is well-rounded and has another way to fill their time besides music.

November 09, 2011

Understanding Accounting - An Introduction to the Language of Business

This is a guest post by Josh Kurtz. Josh recently started working in the tax department of an accounting firm after graduating from Drexel University in June 2011 with a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Business Administration with an Accounting concentration. In his free time, he enjoys reading, writing, listening to music and learning in general.

Whether it’s a relatively low-scale activity like a lemonade stand, with its lemons, sugar, cups and cash from customers, or a complex business featuring scores of cash, customer accounts, loans, stock and more, an organization needs a way to keep track of its many resources and obligations. If an organization cannot do this, after all, outsiders like customers and investors may not trust it, and members of the entity itself, like employees and owners, may not fully understand its situation or goals. In order to avoid these potential problems, organizations use accounting – sometimes referred to as the language of business – to understand and keep track of a variety of financial information and transactions.

There are many different branches of accounting, each with its own specific goals. Each branch, however, shares a focus on organizing information. Some of the specific branches and responsibilities of accounting are outlined below.

External Uses
Financial accountants in an organization often compile financial information to tell a story about how their business performed during a set period of time. Stakeholders, such as customers, investors and other interested parties, then use this information to learn about the company’s performance and prospects. For instance, if an investor is interested in purchasing a business’s stock, he or she can read the business’s financial information to help gage if the company has been successful in the past and if its current position is a strong one.

November 08, 2011

Post-Graduation: Grad-School or Work?

First of all, let me preface this post by saying that my goal is not necessarily to talk anyone out of earning a masters degree or anything like that. My goal is simply to provide an alternative perspective at a time when more people are heading to grad school than ever before. If going back to school after achieving your first degree is what you want to do then go for it! But if you're thinking of going back just because of outside pressures around you, then this article is especially for you.

It's about a year and a half since I earned my bachelor's degree and by now it seems like just about all of my friends who earned their degrees with me are either working towards their next degree or have already earned it. On occasion, it definitely makes me feel a bit like an underachiever. I guess since I once was looked upon as the overachiever, it feels weird to be the one who isn't furthering her education. These days it seems that people with bachelor's degrees are a dime a dozen, so what do I have that makes me stand out from the crowd? Well, for one thing, the big trade-off I have for not going to grad school is over one year of experience in my field. Is this an even trade? Well, it depends on the company you're applying to, to be honest. I applied to quite a few companies after I graduated and most of them turned me away because they were looking for someone with more experience. There was only one company that told me they wanted a masters degree for the entry level position (and I'm willing to bet those are few and far between). If it were a company that I really had my heart set on, I would probably have gone to grad school for them, but since that wasn't the case, I moved on.

November 07, 2011

How To Annoy Music Industry Executives

So you want a record deal, internship, publishing deal, job, press feature, manager, or generally just the attention of anyone in the music industry? Perhaps you've been putting your energy into reaching out to people online in hopes of getting lucky? After all, statistics say that if you send out enough emails you're bound to get a positive response eventually, right? Well, probably not. That's because most people who do just that make a handful of mistakes that really only serve to annoy your target and that won't get you anywhere.

So, if you're trying to get the attention of someone in the music industry who can help you find a job, gig, deal, or whatever else is it that you want, there are certain things you need to keep in mind to avoid annoying them. To help you out, here's a basic checklist of some of the top things people do that are nearly guaranteed to annoy the music industry person you're trying to reach. Check it out and make sure you aren't guilty of any of the following:

Unsolicited Mail/Email
You'll find this listed on most music businesses websites as something that is unwelcome. Though, I admit there can be a time and a place and if you do it right there is a small chance it will accomplish something.  However, when someone specifically states that unsolicited mail should not be sent then you're just wasting everyone's time. If it doesn't say that that doesn't mean the recipient will rejoice at the sight of an email from someone they don't know telling them to check out their new track or hire them. It will likely still annoy them. The only way this can work is if you are also avoiding any of the following errors.

Attaching Unwanted Files
Nothing screams virus so much as a random file attached to an email from someone you don't know. So, I promise you that mp3, press release, or whatever else you send most likely won't get opened (unless perhaps you're sending a press release specifically to someone who is used to receiving them in this format) because that's exactly what that person will be thinking. Some companies even block attachment emails from unknown addresses so there's a decent chance your email won't get through at all if you include an attachment in your unsolicited email.

Acting Entitled

November 05, 2011

Internship Opportunity at Warner Music Group

Warner Music Group is home to a collection of the best-known record labels in the music industry.
An internship with Warner Music Group provides students with the opportunity to obtain real world
experience at one of the top music companies in the industry. Our internships provide on-the-job training by allowing interns to shadow industry professionals in a variety of departments. Every intern is assigned a special project that will both assist them in increasing their understanding of how each department operates, and aid the department in addressing a business need. Warner Music Group values its interns, as such we have developed an Intern Bill of Rights which is presented to both interns and supervisors to ensure a mutually rewarding experience.

Tasks will include:
• Assist label management, artist management, and D2C content management staff in the content
management activities of some of Warner Music Group’s biggest web properties.
• Analyzing user submitted questions and forwarding these on to appropriate parties
• Researching artists
• Providing community updates and site feedback.
• Uploading audio, photos, videos and tour dates.
• Moderating user submitted content and the message boards to watch for inappropriate content
• Partnering with the content management staff to ensure monthly website traffic goals are met by making sure each site being managed has the relevant, up-to-date, and fresh content every day.

Location: NYC, NY (Midtown)

To qualify for an internship with Warner Music Group you must: Be currently enrolled at an accredited college/university, make a commitment of 15-20 hours per week and be able to receive college credit for your internship and A LETTER OF PROOF MUST BE SUBMITTED.

Interest in the music industry and entertainment required; Experience with social media (Facebook,
Twitter, etc.) is a plus.

Some of our Past/Current Clients include:

To Apply
E-mail resume and cover letter to: Selena Shepps

November 03, 2011

Internship Opportunity at tinyORGE Entertainment

tinyOGRE Entertainment, a newly formed music company, seeks for academic credit only intern for the Spring Semester.  Creative thinkers welcome!   

About tinyOGRE:
While the music industry as we once knew it continues to undergo seismic shifts, what do a bunch of music fans who haven't given up on the power and value of music do? They find inspiration to create a new model for the modern day music company -- from this, tinyOGRE Entertainment is born.  Our mission is simple. With a core foundation built on trust, transparency and aligned interests -- new fundamentals to the music industry -- tinyOGRE is committed to building true partnerships with artists. tinyOGRE’s collaborative philosophy, long-term view on career development and upfront commitment of resources to our artists nurtures each act’s creative spirit.  Driven by our experienced and industry-leading team, our innovative marketing and artist development strategies, along with our nimble and flexible approach enables our artists to continue to adapt to a dynamic marketplace. As the music business continues to evolve, the time is now for tinyOGRE Entertainment.

Responsibilities include:
* Press & blog writings and social media management (Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Myspace, etc)  
* Oversee concert guest lists & tour updates
* Assist with general marketing needs including D2C initiatives, webstore management, research
* Assist with general radio needs and station followup
* Assist with general office admin and frequent product mailings
* Research soundscan, itunes, radio charts, etc.
* Strong writing and computer skills are vital. 
* Interest in the NYC music scene a plus. 

We are willing to accommodate schedules, but would like someone who could commit to between 3-5 days a week. 
Please contact for more information.

How to Mix Drums in 60 Seconds

In the studio world, it's not unheard of to spend days getting the perfect drum sound. Drums are meticulously tuned. Microphones are painstakingly placed. Slide rules make guest appearances to calculate proper phase relationships. Suffice to say, it's often a pretty involved process.

In the down-n-dirty world of live sound, however . . . well, we have minutes, not hours. The headlining band usually has the “luxury” of a 60-90 minute sound check, which needs to cover not only drums, but bass, guitars, keys, vocals, monitor levels, a few practice songs . . .
By Stephan Czuratis (Jazz-face) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
As an intern, you won't be dealing with headlining bands. Which means you'll have, if you're lucky, 15 minutes to set up and sound check a band. (Approximately 12 of these minutes will be spent getting the previous band off the stage, and getting the current band's gear on deck and ready to go.) With that in mind, here's my go-to method for getting drum sounds on the fly. Keep in mind that these are generalizations, and every situation calls for something a little different.

If anything below works for you . . . great! If not, leave a comment letting me know what does.
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