The Alternative Route into…Music


Maybe you want to be the next Quincy Jones, Rick Rubin, A&R superstar John H. Hammond, the tour manager for Haim, or Snoop Dogg’s lawyer; you are probably well aware that music is a highly competitive, and difficult, industry. The demand for quality, paying internships in music are increasing but there aren’t enough opportunities available which will train and introduce young workers into professional life. There is little security for even senior roles, and no security for entry level. But you don’t need to be working in the industry to be working towards a career in it. There can be a much more effective (and well-paying) way to embark on your career. What can be your alternative route into the music industry?

  • Find out what type of professional role you want to pursue
  • Complete work experience and internships in any field concerning that role
  • Maintain an interest and involvement in music
  • Transition to an upper level job in the music industry

The great thing about internships is that you can sample professions if you aren’t completely sure they are right for you! Here are a few of the main roles you may be interested in:

Management – Learning how to manage a team, operations and logistics takes high levels of training and organisation, something that can be learnt from any job sector. Obtaining work experience in the basic foundations of the role while you network in music gives you room to advance professionally whilst you are still collecting contacts in your desired industry. Win-win! Take a look at this Minicabit role for size.

Communications: PR, Marketing (digital) and Social Media – People gifted with the skills of promotion on multiple platforms are highly desired in every industry – so you want to make sure you stand out and can give recording companies or music publishers a reason to want you. Gain transferable skills in any of these roles, making sure you keep your personal blogs, profiles and group of contacts full of music industry insight. A great start would be any of these paid internships: Jamsearch, Inspired LabsCurrency UK

A&R –  Artists & Repertoire professionals combine personalised management with talent scouting, amongst other responsibilities. Obtaining clients, artists, and an organisation to work for requires close relationships with industry professionals and a reputation bolstered by word-of-mouth, something which takes a lot of time. Practice talent acquisition and management techniques with great internships – such as this Switzerland-based position at Roche – and build your contacts in your own time. Stay passionate about quality music, as it is too easy to be sucked into the A&R culture of scouting talent based on current music trends. Liaison skills are highly sought-after, so brush up on your charm, dial down the ‘smarm’.

Business and Finance – You will always be needed in any industry, whether you specialise in accounting or investment, so earn your brownie points wherever you can and stay abreast of music culture. Try your luck with industry events or find a local music scene – there always is one, somewhere! Get your foot in the door and some cash in your pocket with these Business and Finance roles – Mondelez International, Language Empire, Liquid Nexxus, and Liquid Nexxus again, if you can speak French.

Producer – Executive or Music, this role require serious management skills, so take on any experience you can that will build this, and get legally clued up! This useful WikiHow guide shows you some valuable steps to take before becoming a producer.

Law – Privacy infringement, copyright issues and rock-star antics will always keep lawyers in the music business – but you can earn your stripes in multiple industries and carry them with you to music. Have a look at this Procuring paid internship on Intern Avenue!

Artist – The music artist’s route into some form of salary is a rough one, and when you’re starting out it’s best to find a part-time role (like this one) to fund your living expenses as you strive to make music and perform. Collaborate with as many people as possible, and keep on keeping on!

Groupie – The life of a groupie is hard work, following artists on their tours and all. Make sure you’re aware of the legal differences between ‘fan’ and ‘stalker’, and stay hydrated. Create a free profile on Intern Avenue incase you happen to have your heart broken, and need a paid internship into a new profession.

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