top tips on getting a job in the music industry Industry Guides

Top Tips on Getting a Job in the Music Industry

Create Your Own Experience

Create your own experience… starting now! Write a blog about the music you love, curate your own playlists on Spotify, run a YouTube channel, put on an event with your mates. All of these things can be included on your CV when it’s time to apply for a paid role in the industry.

Personal Brand

Think about how you present yourself. The music industry is packed with people who love music, that’s why we’re all here after all. One of the cool perks of working in music is the informal culture, but don’t mistake that for an unprofessional one. Learn how to present yourself in a professional way. That doesn’t mean wearing a suit or starting an email “Dear Sir or Madam”, it means being polite, and friendly but not over familiar, being respectful and making sure you’re listening.

Update your Admin and Digital Skills

A lot of entry level roles and internships in music are about supporting a team, you won’t get to be President of a label or manage a superstar straight away. So make sure you’re organised, have great attention to detail, have a good telephone manner and put “being helpful” to the top of your list of things to do! Digital skills will also help you massively!!

Build your Network

The music industry is a relationship business so build a network around you of like-minded individuals. At a very basic level that’s friends who have the same passion for music as you do, as well as people who can help you learn. Go to networking events and panel discussions like YGN, The Great Escape, BBC Introducing, Urban Development, to name a few (and there are loads more out there!) Don’t think of it as a scary networking experience, it’s just socialising but with a focus on your career.

Be Aware of your Social Media Footprint

When you’re applying for a job employers will sometimes look at your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter etc) so be mindful that, unless your security settings are locked down to friends only, potential employers might be able to see that embarrassing video of you or the misjudged comments you’ve made previously. A bit of social media housekeeping probably isn’t a bad idea….

Be Knowledgeable and Engaged

Read as many blogs as you can, read books about artists you’re into, watch documentaries on Netflix or YouTube about the music you love (and even some that you don’t), learn about the music industry through reading Music Business Worldwide (it’s free and you’ll get emails straight to your inbox with the latest news) listen to the CMU Setlist podcast (it’s also free and full of the latest industry news), Music Week etc, to develop your industry knowledge.

Do You!

We’re all unique, don’t try to be someone else because you think that’s what the industry’s about. Be yourself, be open to learning, and opportunities, meet new people, be engaged, proactive, resilient, maintain your integrity, and you’ll go far! Remember, you probably won’t get every single job you go for, and that’s ok because not every job is going to be right for you. Team fit is key for both the employer and your development; you need to complement the team and vice versa. Attitude & Approach + Skills & Experience + Team Fit = Your Job!

For more info about kickstarting your career in the music industry, visit here.

Follow BIY People & Talent on Instagram for hints, tips and opportunities @biy.people.and.talent And why not check out their website

Read the full top tips here.

Voices from the industry

Jack Williamson has been in the music industry on PR and with record labels and artists for nearly 20 years. In 2017 he moved into working on mental health. Here he talks to UK Music about his recent tour with Lewis Capaldi and gives some advice on working in music.

Meet Jack Williamson
Music Business Management

You’ve just been on tour with Lewis Capaldi – could you tell us a bit about that? What were you doing and how was the tour?

Lewis’s manager approached me over a year ago to discuss ways to support fans’ mental health during concerts. We partnered to launch the LIVELIVE initiative which supports concert goers in a variety of ways, from helping answer general enquiries on anxiety and mental health, mental health professionals to help work through panic and anxiety attacks, a safe space to deal with social anxiety and overwhelm, a buddy system to help people who are attending on their own and more.

What got you interested in this particular area of work?

I had been working in the industry for 14 years, and was working in international marketing when a family tragedy made me reassess what I wanted to do with my life and career.

How did you get into the industry?

I started my career as a student studying Music Business Management but from the age of 11 knew that I wanted to work in the music industry. I set out to forge as many relationships as I could whilst studying and alongside my studies I did internships and placements at MTV, Sony and my first internship was with Connie Filipello who did the PR for Mariah Carey, George Michael and Versace.

This allowed me to build up my CV to the point that I had a level of experience to compliment my degree and within 4 days of finishing university, I had got a position in marketing at Sony.

What’s your career path been?

My career path has been wide and varied, I started in PR, worked in promotions (TV) then moved into domestic marketing (at Sony and Universal) then into international marketing at EMI, I then went into artist management for 7 years both working in the US and UK, before returning to do international marketing at Sony and then with the former chairman of Warners and now set up my own company Music & You to support the mental health and well-being of artists and the music industry.

What’s been a highlight or memorable moment in your career?

There have been many highlights for me throughout my career but doing the marketing for the biggest independent single of 2018 – Freya Ridings ‘Lost Without You’ was pretty special. I encourage any student out there to not be afraid to fail, take risks, as long as you can reflect and learn and grow from any mistakes you make, it will allow you to continue on a pathway through this industry we call music.

What advice would you give someone looking to move into the industry?

My main piece of advice would be to keep an open mind. So many opportunities open up to you if you keep an open mind. A job opportunity in PR led me to MTV which led me to Sony. Entry points come from different angles and this industry is built on relationships, so the more people you know, the better placed you are for opportunities to come your way.

AIM Board Member Nadia Khan who manages Lethal Bizzle amongst other artists and is founder of Women in CTRL an initiative for women in the music industry tells us about her day…

Meet Nadia Khan
AIM Board Member

As a music manager to 3 artists, owning and running independent record labels and my own platform for women in the industry Women in CTRL- my days are really varied and busy.

I start every day off the same by making a list of tasks I need to do that day, and prioritise what needs to be done. Most days that goes straight out of the window as soon as I get started as I’ll get phone calls or an email with something urgent that needs to be done instead!

As a manager, day-day I will be looking to close business deals, schedule releases and pull the team together so it involves a lot of personal contact with labels, promotions teams via email, phone or face-face meetings. I will also have calls with my artists to discuss campaigns and deals with them, updating them on everything and making sure they know what’s in their diary and planning for new projects. My artists may have things they need me to do for them, a beat that they want to use or ideas for merch designs or social media that I need to go and action.

I’ve also got my own platform Women in CTRL- so for that I do a lot of planning for live webinars, booking guests, creating content for social media, writing blog posts with advice and information and building the Women in CTRL community. I also host my own live webinar every week which is exciting, and I love bringing different women together to discuss and share knowledge. It’s empowering for me as I work in such a male dominated job role, and love to speak to other boss women!

As an independent label owner I’m planning artist releases, and scheduling release dates, pitching promo and building projects from scratch. I also sit on the Association of Independent Music (AIM) Board so we have regular board meetings I need to attend to discuss various issues in the industry.

Every day is completely different- I could get an email with an amazing offer for a TV show for my artist, or a last minute booking in Dubai that I need to drop everything to arrange, or one of my artists goes viral on social media with a post and we have to take action straight away.

It’s very intense, but so rewarding as your thrown different challenges every day. I’m always learning new things and it’s never boring. I’m really passionate about my love for music and that’s what drives me every day.

Helen has organised tours for some of the biggest artists in the world such as Dolly Parton, David Bowie, Lady Gaga and Drake.

Meet Helen Smith
Touring Production Coordinator

Helen plans things like hotels, catering and crews at home before the tour and then works on the road along with the rest of the technical crew and artist(s). She is responsible for:

Logistics – dealing with crew, artists, hotels, flights, buses & bus drivers (all types of transportation) Day-to-Day – facilitating everyone’s needs. From crew laundry to organising backline hire / purchases Liaising with the venues, local promoters, local crew. Allocating backstage rooms, making sure that the team have all the facilities within these for the artists, crew and management. Which will include wifi and food for crew and artists. Organising and informing crew calls, day schedules, show times, transport information, and any notes about the show.

Helen says “I went straight in as the tea ☕️ girl and the champion of the fax machine 📠 – Try to be a people person, and common sense really does go a long way. Most of all enjoy it and be happy.

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