January 20, 2014

Intern FAQ: Do I Have to Live in New York, Los Angeles, or Nashville?

This is a very important and frequently asked question, so it seems about time we address it. You want to work in music but you don't currently live in one of the three biggest music cities: New York, Los Angeles, or Nashville. So, does that mean you need to move?

Well, if you're happy where you are, you definitely don't NEED to move to pursue a music career. Sure, they may be more opportunities in the aforementioned cities, but there is also a lot more competition. It can be easier to be become a big fish in a small pond, as the saying goes. So, there are advantages to staying put if you already live somewhere with access to a music industry. Most cities have plenty of radio stations, concert venues, recording studios, and other places worth working. Plus, places like Philadelphia, Chicago, Miami, Seattle, and Austin - to name a few-  are pretty well-known for their unique music scenes in their own rights. 

On the other hand, if you do make a move to one of the music centers you may find yourself in a cafe seated next to a record label executive, and that's not so likely in a city that isn't as focused on entertainment. You may also find more professional organizations like GRAMMY U, CMAEdu, and the American Federation of Musicians have branches in that city and provide opportunities to learn and network. Those opportunities are important and can help you find a job. Still, there may be thousands of others with a similar background seeking out that same dream of moving to the city and making it big.

Another point you shouldn't overlook: will it make you happy? LA, Nashville, and New York may all be home to major music companies but they also have a very unique culture that may not be a fit with your personality. Love winter? LA is probably not for you. Hate country music? Don't move to Nashville then. Is time to relax and find a balance between work and life important? New York may not may you happy then. Let's not forget the important fact of finances. If you're coming from the south, for example, you might be shocked at how much you'll have to pay for an apartment in New York. Carrie Underwood even has a lyric in her song "I Can't in Checotah Anymore" that says "what I just paid for dinner would be down payment on a house."

So, okay, the answer is really that it's not so easy. You absolutely do not need to move to New York, Los Angeles or Nashville to have a career in music (though proximity to some sort of city does tend to help). There are plenty of lawyers, producers, performers, songwriters, managers, marketers, etc. who are incredibly successful and live somewhere else. You need to decide what is right for you, where you can see yourself living, and what you can afford, and make the right decision for you. Then, get to work, don't give up, and show the world what you can do no matter where you decide to call home. 
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