Reasons You Should Do a Music Business Internship

A Music Business Internship Can Be a Great Way to Break into the Business

If you're eyeing a job in the music industry, you'll find few easier ways of breaking into this notoriously competitive business than doing an internship. When you intern in the music business, those doors that once seemed closed off begin to creak open -- maybe enough to get you a job. If you're thinking of skipping out on a music internship, here are a few reasons to start applying today:

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Music Business Experience

Students working with sound mixer
Hill Street Studios / Getty Images

One thing employers in the music business really love is when their job applicants know a bit about how things work in this industry. When you do an internship, you'll get some hands-on experience doing a myriad of musical tasks, which means you'll show up at your first day of work without needing someone to explain to you what a soundcheck is or what an agent does.

This kind of experience is also helpful for you as you shape the direction of your music career. An internship is a great time to figure out that maybe live music isn't all it is cracked up to be or that a record label isn't where you want to spend your working days.

One last thing employers love about your music internship - you'll have learned that valuable lesson that working in the music industry is a REAL JOB. It's not going to shows and drinking beer for a living. Weeding out the folks who think they won't have to work if they get a music business job is a major headache for companies.

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They say that the music industry is about who you know - and they're pretty much right. Since so many people try to work in this field, it helps to have some people who know your name when you start applying for jobs. The people you work with at your internship are music industry connections, of course, but so are all of the people you come into contact with while you're doing your internship work. Every phone call you make and email you exchange could introduce you to someone who could help you get a job down the line. That's invaluable.

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Learn Standard Practices

Many - definitely not all, but many - interns are college-age or younger. That means many interns have little work experience at all or mostly have work experience in the food and bev or retail settings. Now, all work experience is good - and employers really want to see that you can hold down a job, so earning any kind of paycheck is going to boost your resume. However, many interns aren't well-versed in the ins and outs of working in a business setting. I use the term "business setting" loosely - your music industry internship may well take place in an office, but it could just as easily take place backstage at events, at a studio, and so on. Keep in mind, though, that no matter what the environment looks like, as an intern, you'll be helping to run a business. That means you're going to get used to things like showing up on time, staying until the job is done, working independently, playing a role in a hierarchy, being professional in business exchanges - the list goes on and on. The bottom line is that this your chance to start transitioning from student to professional. Even if you end up not working in music, this experience will help you in any industry.

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Build Confidence

Is the idea of going to the first day of your music internship a little intimidating? That's not so surprising! On top of all of the other stuff that goes along with going to your first day of anything, people tend to feel a little extra pressure when they go to work in the music realm. Most of it is stuff you shouldn't worry about, but you'll feel it nonetheless. Doing an internships lets you work out these feeling before you start job hunting, so you can feel confident about your knowledge and abilities as you reach out to potential employers later. Be sure to keep track of all the tasks you do during your internships, so you can add them all to your resume when it's done. When you look over that list at the end, you may be shocked by just how much you know.

A Cautionary Word

Many labels, even some of the largest and most reputable, have sometimes abused the intern relationship. You're there to learn the business, not to run your boss's errands. On the one hand, be cooperative -- if occasionally your boss has you fetch her dry-cleaning, even though in some states it's illegal to give interns work that's unrelated to learning -- you should probably go along. But if you're beginning to feel you're running errands instead of learning the business, a polite private discussion with your boss may put things back on track. If not, consider moving on.