With over ten years of experience in the music business, head of publicity at Cooking Vinyl Australia, Janine Morcos, knows a thing or two about making your way up the ranks of one of most passionate and frenetic industries around.
In this entry in our series of content with AustralianSuper, helping you kick start your creative career, Janine gives us her major tips on breaking into the music industry. Whether you want to be a band manager, a PR /Marketing guru or a label scout finding the next big act to sign, these are the things you need to know as you take those first few hesitant steps!
I often get asked by those looking to get their start in the music industry, what the best shortcuts are to landing their dream job at a record company, music label or PR agency. To them I always have to disappoint, as the truth is there really is no means of catapulting your way directly to say, head of A&R or Vice-President of sales.
The Australian music industry is as tough as any other to make your way up, and I say this not to discourage you, but to make sure your commitment to achieving whatever position you dream of, matches your passion. Here are my main tips on navigating your first few years in one of the most rewarding careers you can have!
Work out what it is what you want to do
There are so many interesting and diverse areas of the music industry. There’s roles such as tour management, band booker, promoter, artist management or any of the various positions at labels (marketing, production, sales, publicity, label manager, A&R and on and on…). Before committing yourself to chasing that ‘dream role’, learn about various areas of the business you find interesting. You will learn a lot about what you enjoy and the role you can see yourself excelling in.
I explored various areas of the business before I found my love of publicity. From playing in a band, booking shows and tours, band management to label management, I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t taken the time to explore fully the many types of opportunities available.
Pick up an internship program
Internship programs are a great way of working out what it is you want to do and beginning the process of becoming great at it! Be pro-active and reach out to companies and people who inspire you and where you will learn different areas that you find interesting.
You can find internship programs advertised on music and arts based websites but also don’t be afraid to directly contact companies you admire and inquire about any internship programs.
Whilst at an internship you simply have to become a go-getter and ask questions, it’s the only way you learn! Internships are also a great way to network and meet others who can give you advice on the areas of the business that you are interested in. It’s generally at an internship or the like that you’ll discover your mentor figures that may very well help you and your career for years to come.
Internships sometimes lead into future work, whether it is short or long term but even if not immediately evident to you, your hard work is ALWAYS noticed and you never know when your phone might buzz with that next big opportunity.
Be willing to work for free
Ok, don’t freak out about that headline, I promise I’m going somewhere with this! Don’t think of internships or the odd bit of pro bono freelancing as working for free, but trading payment in learning the skills and contacts in helping you secure that dream role.
The music business isn’t a 9 – 5 job and even established, full-time employees like myself, find ourselves technically working for free when the requirement is needed.
Hard work pays off, and not always in the sense of dollars and cents!
Get yourself out there and network
From day one in your career up until the day you retire, networking will be one of the most important aspects of any job in the industry.
The music business is a community, a community where everyone shares the same interest and passion: music! We love it, we live it, and we breathe it!
Go to music seminars and panels, a live show or a networking night and don’t just fill your hands with free drinks and peruse Twitter in the corner, but ENGAGE with the people around you. Building relationships and communicating are the keys to a long and successful career in the music business and I know for a fact, I wouldn’t be here writing this article for you, if it weren’t for the amazing friendships, professional relationships and families of colleagues, I worked hard to build around me.
This article has been sponsored by AustralianSuper Pty Ltd ABN 94 006 457 987, AFSL 233788. The views and opinions expressed in any article accessed through Music Feeds are those of the author or Music Feeds and not the responsibility of AustralianSuper. For more information, please visit australiansuper.com