So you’ve decided to take that step into a music industry career. Congratulations! The music industry offers some of the most rewarding jobs and opportunities available to us creative types.
As you probably know, and as most people probably never tire of telling you, the industry can be tough to break into but it is not impossible – far from it! Here are a few top tips from industry insiders to help you on your way!
Network, Network, Network!!!
And network some more...
View everyone you come in contact to professionally as someone who can help you in your career. If you are a music industry student or are about to embark on a course, you probably don’t realise it but all your fellow academics are potential future contacts. This is your first opportunity to build your network so ensure that you work together on projects inside and outside of your educational comfort zone.
If you are involved in any gigs as a performer, promoter, tech, part time bar staff, whatever… make sure that you talk to everyone involved. Chat to the sound engineer, the promoters, the performers and continually build that network I keep banging on about, you’ll thank me later.
Attend industry conferences and seminars as much as you can, these are full of likeminded music types like you who want to meet new contacts and listen to ideas. These are full of opportunities to talk to the right people, always introduce yourself and ask questions. Don’t be afraid to announce yourself to the industry, it is full of people who are, or have been, in the same position as you.
Build a profile.
Sell yourself, do it unashamedly and do it proudly. Let everyone know your achievements and shout them as loudly as you can. Social media is an amazing promotional tool, embrace it like a dear old friend and never let it go (until something better comes along). Uniform your profiles on Linkedin, facebook and twitter and use them to further promote your best work on bandcamp, soundcloud and all the rest. Make sure to add all your new industry contacts to your, ahem, network.
Build a portfolio on top of your CV. One of the best aspects of breaking into the creative industries is the opportunity to sell yourself based on the work you love doing, no more boring 2 page CVs competing with 1000 more boring 2 page CVs comparing who has the best experience in food maintenance issues or who achieved the best score in first year woodwork.
Don’t get me wrong, your CV is always important but your portfolio of work is critical.
Document all your best work, your mixes, recordings, promotional materials for events, success stories, achievements, everything that will get you noticed by the right people and organisations.
Stay active in the industry.
Volunteer at a local gig, offer to tech, help promote, don’t be ashamed to perform for free – favours are always appreciated and more often than not returned. This will also give you more goods for your CV/portfolio and, I feel I should mention it one more time, offers a great opportunity to (insert drum roll….) Network!