February 27, 2013

Job Interview Lessons from Politicians

Love them or hate them, but either way politicians are pretty good at answering tough questions. I'm not saying they're always honest when they're doing it, but they do seem to always know what to say and how to turn a question intended to hurt them into something positive. How many times have you listened to politicians debating only to realize they're only actually talking about what they want to talk about, not necessarily what the moderator is asking them? It may be frustrating as a voter, but as someone about to go to a job interview, it's hard not to wish you shared some of those savvy public speaking skills. I would never suggest you model their approach exactly, because you should't lie in a job search (or preferably at all), but there are a few important lessons that we can learn from the way politicians handle the tough questions.

Be Prepared
Politicians running for office know that the things they say at a public event can make or break their chances of getting elected. So they spend weeks working with a team who does everything from planning their wardrobe to researching the decision makers (voters in their case interviewer in yours). They work very hard to understand their needs and figure out how they can help them. You should be doing the same. Read everything on the company's website, look up your interviewers on Google and on LinkedIn, do the same for the comapny and their executives and really understand how the company works, what their goals are, and how they fit into the bigger picture of their industry.

Talking Points
Once a politician figures out who they need to impress and what to talk about in order to do it, they determine in advance what they want to say and they stick to it no matter what. read the job description think about the company why you want to work there and what you can contribute and figure out some key points you want to get across. Ask yourself why you want to work there, what you hope to learn, what you can contribute, and what your best skills and accomplishments are and make sure you know them in advance. Understanding this will help you with unexpected quetions because you will already have an idea of what you would like to talk about what you are asked open ended questions like tell me about yourself or tell me about a time you had to solve a problem.

Speak to What You Know
If a politician is asked a question about the economy and they really want to talk about gun control they'll talk about all the new jobs their new gun control plan would create and how important it is to create a safe work environment in order to create a productive work environment. It may be frustrating as a voter when they avade issues but it's not a bad idea for handling a question you're unsure of (maybe not is such a slick manner though). So, let's say your skills are in sales but you've maanged to score an interview for an advertising job and they ask about your related experience. Don't tell you have none. Tell them about your successful sales campaigns and how that perspective will help you understand customers and what makes them buy something and how you have a unique understanding of the psychology of marketing that you can contribute.

Be Grateful
What's the most common thing you will hear any politician say when they are running for office? Thank you. They will thank the moderator for being there and the audience for participating and they will thank every person who asks them something for giving them such a great question and they will thank the news man that interviews them and any and every one in between. Do the same. Thank the person who tells you which elevator to take or signs you in to the building. Thank the receptionist. Thank your interviewers. And be sure to send a thank you note after.

February 25, 2013

Resources for Students and Interns in New York City

If you're studying and planning to work in the music industry it's pretty likely you'll find yourself living in New York City at some point in your life. Moving to a new place on a budget can always be intimidating but New York represents a special challenge as one the most expensive cities in the world. So, as part of our series on resources for students and interns moving to new cities for school, internships, or post-graduation jobs, what better city to explore than NYC? (By the way, this is an ongoing thing so if there's a city you know and would like to cover- or even a second edition of an existing one because you could write tons of these on NYC alone, let us know and find out more here
Times Square - Photo by K Reilly
Places to Eat
New Yorkers are known for eating out so much so that Sex and the City even did an episode related to this fact where Carrie says she uses her oven for storage. That, however, is a tough way to live on a budget. The good news is there are some affordable ways to enjoy the lifestyle without the big bill. That being said groceries are still your best bet and there are many local bodegas with affordable options- some even have delis. If you need some more options check out Time Out New York's cheap dining guide. Another helpful resource is Menupages which lets you look up menus for restaurants all over the city and check out prices in advance.

February 23, 2013

#MusicIntern Chat Sunday March 3rd: Discussing Interview Questions

We tried this last week with only a few participants because of the Oscar Awards- and even got side tracked and started discussing them too. I think this is an important topic worth exploring with a bigger group. So, I'm just editing and re-posting this. Join us this Sunday at 9pm ET on Twitter we're going to go through some common interview questions and talk about how we would answer them so we can share ideas and get some help where we need it. 

Who: Anyone who works in, interns, studies, or is just interested in the music industry 

What: We'll be discussing interview questions and answers 

Where: Twitter

When: 9pm ET on Sunday March 3, 2013 

Why: Network and get ideas for how to deal with tough interview questions

How: Follow and use the hashtag #musicintern to join the discussion. http://tweetchat.com/room/musicintern This link will make things easy. Just login in with your twitter and start tweeting. It takes care of finding and using the hashtag for you. 

February 22, 2013

Radio Promotion: How Do Songs Get on the Radio?

Radio is one of the most powerful methods of music discovery and promotion. A song on the radio can reach millions of people instantly and, according to Arbitron, 93% of Americans still listen to traditional radio at least once a week. So, how does a song get an opportunity like that? The process can be a bit complicated and not every song follows the same path, but for the sake of understanding how it usually works, let's simplify things and take a look at the route songs usually take to radio stardom

Understanding Radio Stations
As technology has changed, so had radio. Now there are, of course, countless online stations, streaming services, and even satellite while terrestrial stations have been consolidated. This has, to a degree, affected what is played and how it gets there but, as they say you have to know the rules before you can break them, so we'll stick with the traditional side of things here and focus on FM music broadcasting. Most of these radio stations are commercial businesses with offices, marketing departments, and a full staff. These commercial stations have the same business model as a television station: the music they play attracts listeners and advertisers pay for the ability to reach those listeners. Generally, people working in radio are huge music fans, but that doesn't necessarily mean they can just play whatever they want. Radio stations need to keep people listening in order to make money and keep broadcasting, so if a song they play causes many of their listeners to change the station, then that song probably doesn't work for that station. Of course, there are plenty of great radio stations who play cutting-edge music, support local artists, and are willing to take a chance on an up-and-coming band, but most stations still have some type of guidelines of what they will and won't play based on their audience. Understanding this fact will help you understand what happens when a new song is pitched to a radio station.

February 21, 2013

Internship with The Recording Academy in Texas

If you're a regular reader, it's probably safe to say you're familiar with The Recording Academy. Otherwise, you probably still know them as the organization behind the GRAMMY Awards, but they do so much more than that. The Recording Academy, along with its sister organizations, MusiCares and The GRAMMY Foundation, provide networking and educational opportunities as well as financial and medical assistance to musicians in need. They're doing some amazing and  important work and here's your chance to be a part of it by interning with the Texas Chapter of The Recording Academy in Austin.

Celebrating music through the GRAMMY Awards for over 50 years, The Recording Academy continues its legacy as the premier outlet for honoring achievements in the recording arts and supporting the music community. As a membership organization we represent some of the most talented professionals in the world. Our members include recording artists, engineers, producers, composers/arrangers, managers, agents, social media executives and many others. The Recording Academy’s Internship Program offers a unique opportunity for current college students ( junior or senior) to gain on-site training in office administration, event management and artist relations in exchange for college credit. Candidates should be energetic, hard working and have aspirations of a career in the music industry or music education.

February 15, 2013

Your Network Can't Do It For You

What's the single most important piece of advice you will get if you are interested in working in the music industry? That's a big questions but the answer is quite simple: network until you are so sick of networking, and then network some more. You've probably been told this more times than you can count and you've probably heard that "you are who you know." You may even know that most opportunities in the music industry come from contacts, not from job listings. But there's one other equally important fact that often gets overlooked.

Your network can tell you about an opportunity that you wouldn't hear about otherwise and your network can give you a recommendation or a connection that will set you up for a good first impression. They can even give you advice, help you learn about the industry, and help you make career decisions. But it ends there.

You network can't apply for a job for you. They can't go to your interview and answer the tough questions. They can't write your hit song or make you have a good audition. They can't make you wear something that will make you look professional. They can't make you act like someone who is mature and capable. They can't make you practice or force you to study. They can't make you send a thank you note or follow up. They can't get the internship or job for you and they can't make you work hard and do a good job once you do. That is all up to you.

Networking is extremely important, but if it isn't accompanied by a professional and courteous demeanor, hard work, a positive attitude, and skill it is actually pretty useless. You need to be worth that recommendation in the first place, or no one will be willing to put their hard-earned reputation on the line to help you anyway. A network is an important tool that will increase your chances of succeeding, but they can't make it happen for you. Only you can.

February 14, 2013

Northeast Musicians: Apply for a Recording Residency at Guilford Sound

Guilford Sound is an energy efficient recording destination located on over 300 acres of private woodlands in the foothills of the Green Mountains. Guilford Sound sports a spacious live room with a “live/dead” side approach, four isolation booths featuring spring floated concrete slabs for optimal isolation between rooms, a comfortable control room with a 64-input API Legacy console with Flying Faders and a 12 channel Neve Melbourne sidecar, as well as a long list of equipment including drawers full of vintage microphones. Housing is on-site in a recently restored three-season historic 1790’s farmhouse that comfortably sleeps 6. A modern, five-bedroom, passive solar housing facility is currently under construction and will be ready for occupancy in late 2013. Applications are now being accepted from northeast-based bands and solo artists for a two-week recording residency at Guilford Sound, a newly-constructed recording facility located in the foothills of southern Vermont.

From August 18- September 1, 2013, Guilford Sound will host an unsigned northeast band or solo artist for a two-week recording residency, providing 12 ten-hour days of studio time, housing, and a $1000 stipend.

February 12, 2013

Overcoming Fear: When in Doubt, Do It

When in doubt, don't.

That is a phrase I was raised with and have heard more times than I can count. It's a quick and catchy way to provide advice and it's likely intended it to mean follow your instincts. Still, I suspect it had some unintended consequences.

It may not be this phrase for you (which is attributable to Ben Franklin), because there are plenty of similar proverbs that teach us to run when we're feeling unsure. That may have been a good instinct for our hunter / gatherer ancestors, but it isn't doing us much good today (unless we're talking about something like peer pressure).

These ideas, though well intentioned, may also be training us to avoid anything that makes us feel uncomfortable. Yet there are plenty of worthwhile things that make you feel pretty uncomfortable. Moving to a new city for college can be uncomfortable. Applying for jobs and going on interviews is definitely uncomfortable. Making a cold call to try to get an internship? Scary. Risking financial security to pursue your dream career? Absolutely terrifying.

If it were up to that visceral reaction that tells us to run, we wouldn't try any of those things and we'd miss out on a lot of amazing opportunities. More importantly, we'd miss out on the chance to succeed. Don't let your fears stop you from living your dreams. So, sorry, Ben Franklin, but it's time for an amendment: when in doubt, do it.

February 08, 2013

How to Win a GRAMMY: A Look at Voting and Nominations

The GRAMMY Awards are one of the most exciting music events of the year full of fashion, celebrities, and some great performances. Everyone loves to root for their favorites and predict who will win but there seems to be some confusion as to how to awards actually work. (There are articles out there with some strange ideas on how it happens). A little mystery can be part of the magic, but for those of us that intend to work in the music industry, knowing what goes on behind the scenes of the illustrious awards show is pretty important (how else are you going to know how to win?). So, since the awards are this weekend, figured it seemed as good a time as any (okay maybe the best time really) to tell you how it all works. But spoiler alert, reading ahead may take away the fairy-dust-element involved so stop now if you'd prefer the fairy tale. If you're okay with that (or realize that sometimes truth is more interesting than fiction), then read on.

February 07, 2013

Resources for Students and Interns in Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. is a great city with a lively music scene, plenty of great colleges, the home of the Future of Music Coalition and, of course, is pretty much the place to be if you're interested in career that focuses on music policy and the laws that affect the entertainment industry.  So, as part of our series to help you adjust to life in a new city, we asked Allison Getty of New To D.C.™to write a guest post of things to do, places to eat, and other helpful information for DC's transplants because that's her specialty. 

Allison Getty founded New To D.C.™ to help new residents and interns in D.C. to adjust to life in their new city and take advantage of all that it has to offer. Aside from offering instructional workshops on networking to interns, New To D.C.™ provides a host of helpful information on its website. Below you will find a snapshot of resources that should be relevant to you during your time as an intern in D.C. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out!

Photo by Katie Reilly

February 06, 2013

Starting Salaries in the Music Industry

There are a lot of stereotypes about people who work in arts and entertainment, but one of the most common is the idea of the "starving artist." This idea has been perpetuated and even romanticized through several centuries in operas, paintings, and even the musical Rent. The idea is that an artist is so passionate about their work, they're willing to sacrifice and try to survive with little means in the name of pursuing that passion. But, what about the business side of the arts? What exactly can you expect to make when you're starting out on the non-performance side of the music industry? Berklee College of Music conducted a study last year which determined salary ranges for many different areas of the industry. Using that, we can start to get an idea of what to expect. First, it may seem exciting to look at a list of salary ranges and dream about the things you can buy with the high end of these ranges, but unfortunately it's unrealistic  It doesn't matter how great you are at what you do, you are going to start off on the low end of that range. There are plenty of people who will argue that that isn't going to be true for them because you're worth so much more and have so much more experience than your competition. But, it really does not matter. Music industry jobs do tend to pay less than their non-industry counterparts (not saying this is fair, but it's the way things are right now and you need to be prepared). So, what exactly should you expect? 
Low-end salaries for common music industry positions, according to Berklee's salary guide. Graph created by K. Reilly

Honestly, living off these salaries in music-centric places like New York and Los Angeles isn't exactly easy. But, now that you know what to expect, you'll be better prepared. So, how do you deal with a salary that might not cover your expenses?

Vote: Who Will Win the Big 4 GRAMMY Categories?

February 05, 2013

Concert Promotion Internship with TJ Kong Presents in Philadelphia

TJ Kong Presents is a Philadelphia based boutique live music production and promotional company founded by blues man TJ Kong of Philadelphia blues/garage/bootstomp band TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb.

Intern responsibilities will vary and include the curating and promotion of live events and coordination of promotions and live events with musicians and venues both onsite and from home.
10-20 hours a week. No pay. Lots of connections.


  • Folks with good energy 
  • Savvy with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, local Philadelphia music blogs, local print publications and local music venues. 

Philadelphia, PA

To Apply:
Send a resume, availability, and a short cover letter to Lynne Krohn 

February 04, 2013

Social Media Marketing Lessons from the Big Game

Last night must have been one of the most interesting Superbowl games to date: several new records were set, many heartwarming and hilarious commercials, the rise of a new football megastar, and a surprise reunion of Destiny's Child. Still, the part of the night that may be most likely to live on for generations is to come is the infamous blackout. At that point, several companies had already made an impact with creative advertisements that got people talking. Still, the prize of the night may not belong to one of those $3.8 million commercials, but to a few moments of good timing and ingenuity from brands making use of free social media.

When the power went out, some ads went into repeat, and everyone seemed to turn to social media, brands like Oreo, PBS, Walgreens, and Tide made a powerful impact by moving quickly to tweet creative messages that tied the blackout in with their marketing:

Oreo had already aired an ad earlier in the game that went over well on Twitter and quickly became a trending topic. Still, it was this Tweet that they actually sent out not long after the blackout started that was featured on Good Morning America today and got a remarkable 15,119 retweets. 

Walgreens didn't need an advertisement to get some publicity from the game with this clever comment that got people laughing. 

Tide did a great job tying in their well-received and memorable stain advertisement with a message directly related to the blackout. Finally, PBS used the restlessness of viewers waiting for the lights to come back on as smart opportunity to promote their own TV show, Downtown Abbey, which was on air when the blackout happened.  

So what are the lessons from these well-timed blackout tweets?
  • Take advantage of the fact that social media lets you talk to people and react to events in real time by engaging in what people are saying right now (as long as you can find a way to make it relevant to your brand's message and image).
  • Be willing to think and react quickly, not all great marketing ideas require a full-fledged plan. 
  • Be creative, yet personal. While advertising works well with larger-than-life ideas, personalities, and humor, these tweets succeeded because they were sincere and not all that different from the types of tweets your friends were sending during the blackout. 
  • Be spontaneous. The best social media policies allow for you or your company to move quickly without the hinderance of red tape. 
  • Make it a conversation. Tide did a great job tying their advertisement in with their clever tweet. Similarly, if you use both social media and traditional marketing techniques, try to connect the messages and and start a conversation about it.  
  • Creativity can be more powerful than budget. 

February 01, 2013

Intern / Volunteer with New Music Seminar in New York City

New Music Seminar is an annual music conference and showcase held in multiple venues throughout Manhattan. It traces its roots back to the 80's and a music industry discussion night organized by Tom Silverman and Dave Lory. After a relaunch in recent years it has become a preeminent music industry event. Each year, it brings together record label executives, songwriters, producers, performing rights organizations, musicians, booking agents, managers, and more to discuss the issues facing the music industry today and highlight up-and-coming artists. New Music Seminar is currently looking for volunteers and interns for this year's conference and showcase. 

The New Music Seminar’s mission is to create a music business in which talent can rise to its highest potential based solely on its merit, without regard to its financial resources or connections. To help artists and their representatives achieve success. To create a new economic model that better rewards both artists, their investors and those in artist services.

Positions Looking to Fill:
  • General Office 
    • This includes work on both the Conference and Festival in multiple capacities.
  • Conference (Morning - Evening) 
    • Help out with everything from Registration, Production, Green Room, and everything in between.
  • New York Music Festival (Afternoon- Late) 
    • Volunteers will help staff multiple venues for the festival. Duties include, working the door, helping with merchandise, passing out promotional materials, decorations, and other production assistance. 
  • Street Team
    • Help promote NMS throughout New York City at events and in stores with NMS posters and postcards.
New Music Seminar cannot provide lodging for interns and volunteers, so please keep that in mind if you are from outside the New York area and wish to participate 
June 9 -11, 2013
New York, NY

To Apply: 
Fill out the form on New Music Seminar's website here or email your resume and cover letter to volunteer at newmusicseminar.com 
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