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How to Get Starting in the Music Business

Finding your way into the music industry can seem like an impossible task from the outside. It just seems like endless cliques and good-old-boys networks, like it’s extremely difficult to find a way in. You’ve been obsessed with music, ever since you were a kid. You’ve always wanted to be in the recording industry, but you’ve struggled to figure out where to start. 

You’re someone who’s smart, talented, and eager to learn, but you just can’t seem to find your jumping-off point. You’ve never had your big break, and the older you get the more it feels like it’s not going to happen. The more you live life on the outside, the more it feels like that’s where you’re destined to stay.

But, that’s where things can take a turn. If you’re determined to get your big break, you’ll find a way in… you just need to find your starting point. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to do, in order to start finding your path in music.

1) DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT TO DO

This sounds like it should be an easy one, but it’s really not. There is a multitude of options, many ways forward, and many paths that you can choose. The music business is broad, and there is a wide range of careers you could have within it. 

If you’re an artist that’s one way forward, but there are also loads of opportunities on the administrative side, as well. You can work as a front desk clerk, an A&R rep, or a gearhand. Getting started in the music business begins with deciding what area of the music business space you’d like to inhabit. 

Do you want to be a music producer or audio engineer, do you see yourself as a musical artist, or do you like the idea of managing talent? Are you drawn to creating music in the studio, or are you drawn to working for a record label? Or perhaps you’d like to own your own studio or even your own label. The pathway for different careers within music is going to be a bit different for each, so it helps to know which way you’d like to go.

2) SHADOW SOMEONE WHO DOES WHAT YOU WANT TO DO

Admittedly, there are some aspects of the music business that can be taught in a classroom. But really, the best way to learn the business is to find someone who does exactly what you’d like to be doing for a living, and shadow that person to see how they operate. This is the whole idea behind the externships offered at the Recording Connection.

We believe the best person to teach you the music business is someone who is actually working in the music business. By enrolling in the Recording Connection you’ll have the opportunity to not only learn on the job but also make connections. The fact that you’ll be building relationships with people actually in the industry will be invaluable to you, as you move up in your career. 

You’re going to try to make connections with people in the industry if you go to a standard four-year university, but in this context, you’ll be literally working with your future colleagues side by side, already proving just how skilled and dedicated you actually are. 

3) MAKE LOTS OF CONNECTIONS

You’ve no doubt already heard this from us a lot, but connections are the lifeblood of the music business. Whether it’s in the studio or in the office of a record label, one of the most unique aspects of this business is that it is relationship-driven.

Your qualifications alone won’t get you a job, a record deal, a publishing deal, or any other kind of deal—that’s why degrees and diplomas don’t really matter here. You have to know lots of people in this business, and those people have to know you. The best way to make these connections is to spend time in the places where these people hang out.

If you want to produce music, spend time in a recording studio. If you want to work in A&R at a label, try volunteering at a label. Go to industry events, and when you’re there, hob-nob, mingle and network. These are the people that can one day help you get a job, get a gig, or land a contract.

These aren’t just people who know the music business—these people are the music business. This is one of the most important aspects of getting started in the music business. Get in with these people, and you’ll become an insider yourself before you know it.


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