Should I get into the music biz?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Bayou_Brawler, Oct 10, 2004.

  1. Bayou_Brawler

    Bayou_Brawler The most hurtful thing ever realized

    Oct 23, 2003
    Ann Arbor, MI
    I'm at the point in my life where I'm trying to figure out what the hell I want to do. I graduated form a major university (Economics), did a few internships, and worked for another company for a while. I'm kinda having mid twenties crisis of sorts. All the jobs I've had have just been work for money.....nothing I really like. I know Berklee has a "music business" school that I was looking into. Any thoughts. Anyone have any info about the music business like what kind of jobs are out there, how do you get into them, what kind of money you can expect, how stable the work is, etc......
  2. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    You're talking about the biz "outside of musicians"? Like, A&R people, execs, that kind of thing? My guess would be, that with a degree in economics and some knowledge of music, the biz would welcome you in any number of capacities. It's probably just like any other biz, from a business standpoint. The thing to realize is that there are a lot of "personalities" in the biz, it's probably right up there with TV and movies in that regard. My perception (having been in the biz) is that there's more latitude in that regard, in media-type business than there is in, say, software engineering. If you like that kind of thing, then go for it. IMO, if you can successfully navigate the music biz, then you can handle just about any biz there is. Trial by fire, so to speak. :)
  3. Bayou_Brawler

    Bayou_Brawler The most hurtful thing ever realized

    Oct 23, 2003
    Ann Arbor, MI
    yeah i just wonder how hard it is to make a living in that industry. is it like trying to become a baseball player or actor? :smug:
  4. im gonna be a freelance underwater welder :D
  5. dcr

    dcr Supporting Member

    Now that's a heckuva job -- lotsa bucks but lotsa risk.

    Best Fishes!

  6. Bayou_Brawler

    Bayou_Brawler The most hurtful thing ever realized

    Oct 23, 2003
    Ann Arbor, MI
  7. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Even outside of the muso area, it's all a crapshoot. There's alot of interning, arse kissing, and backbiting involved. As for A&R reps, they're the last ones hired and first ones fired, but if you sign that breakout artist, you can almost write your own ticket. Go to: It's an "industry" site. You can also make contacts there. I wish you luck in this endeavor. If you do, do not EVER forget this rule: Trust noone. Since you're seriously considering this, I decided not to BS or sugarcoat it.
  8. I'd like to post one caveat here. It's a pretty rare thing to spend your entire life in a single industry or business. Figure that you're going to have any number of different, sometimes wildly different, jobs in your lifetime. Some are great, some suck and many are just plain wierd. Not trying to shove you into a predetermined hole but you've probably spent your life up to now being mostly just a student.

    As far as your choice of immediate professions, I'd do it. Who cares if you can make a living at it? If you can pay your basic bills then you're golden, anything after that is just gravy. This is the time to explore the world, to lust after anything that moves and to swallow the world whole. And if it doesn't work out? All experiences, aside from month-long drunken binges, are useful and apply to future careers.

    Every successful person was a failure at something in their lives.
  9. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    Would something like artist management fall under the music business umbrella as well? What about studio management or something?

    In any case, when I was doing my MA at NYU, my roommate was in their music business program. From the 'outsider' impressions I gathered through him, it's cutthroat. Even more so than the norm since the Stern business school is one of the best in the US, it's also one of the most cutthroat business schools. My roommate, who'd been in the cutthroat world of underground freestyle hip hop for a good while, was hip to that whole 'internal politics' thing and trusted no one in his program, but still managed to charm the pants off of everyone and used that shameless charming/flirting to his advantage.

    I have nothing but respect for those who wish to go into music, be it music education, music performance, or music business. But one thing you need more than anything is a thick skin. Music educators need a thick skin given how art and music programs are constantly under fire at schools. Music performers need a thick skin for obvious reasons. Music business people need a thick skin also for obvious reasons.

    If you're hungry enough, willing to grind your fingers to the bone for what you want in this dream, willing to both kiss ass and stab backs, perhaps even wh*re yourself out against your principles (i.e. take an internship at MTV even if you can't stand their pandering programming), even leaving a trail of abandoned 'friends' and broken hearts in your wake, you can do it if you have that kind of intense focus.
  10. Bayou_Brawler

    Bayou_Brawler The most hurtful thing ever realized

    Oct 23, 2003
    Ann Arbor, MI
    anyone have any other experiences with music business schools? i've been looking into some. berklee seems to be the most prominant.
  11. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    I worked in IT for years (web design e-learning etc) and the proverbial arse fell out of the industry here in Ireland and I was reduced to doing contract work (a week here a month there etc. nothing permanent) so after a lot of soul searching I decided to try and make a go of being a pro musician, I was lucky enough to have a bit of a "profile" over the years from doing some session work and gigging part time so I landed myself a full time covers gig. Now I'm playing 6 nights a week, making a good living (legally...I'm registered and pay tax on my earnings).

    The problem is, ITS BLOODY HARD WORK! first of all forget having a social life, when your friends are socialising your working, secondly your body clock has to adjust to what is essentially "night shift" hours (I get home from some gigs/sessions at 5 and 6 in the morning). Also (and I can only speak from my experience here in Ireland) the covers scene is what will pay your bills BUT it's the most soul destroying thing you can do (especially if your a "musician").

    At the end of the day the average punter in a pub, club, wedding dosent care if you can out "rush" Rush, they want to hear easy listening or if its a younger crowd the latest chart hit. I play funk/jazz gigs with an 8 piece band of incredible musicians occasionally (to keep my chops and sanity) and yet I earn more per night playing in a three piece with backing tracks (playing Abba, Elvis, Grease etc.....hell I've even mimed gigs).

    The point I'm trying to make (I think ;) ) is that making a career in the music industry isnt always actually about "music".

    (and yes, you have to be a complete bastard).