INTERN (MUSIC BUSINESS)
Alternate Career Titles: N/A
Career Overview: Performs a wide range of tasks within the record company or related business; learns through hands-on experience and gets a “foot in the door.”
Career Salary Range: $0 to $3,000+ (Credits)
Become an Intern
An Intern actually performs many of the same duties as other staff members; they just may not on as big of a scale. As a result they earn tremendous experience, and learn about the company and industry. They take orders and report to the department head, director, or manager of other departments.
Nearly every department hires an Intern, and depending on the size of the label; the Intern can get experience in various departments. Duties depend on which department the Intern is working in, meaning their responsibilities can range from addressing envelopes for a party thrown by the public relations department to helping make arrangements for press functions. As they learn more, they can actually begin writing press releases and attending a variety of meetings.
A Marketing Intern can be found working on consumer surveys, gathering and analyzing data and calling radio stations. As they gain more experience, they might learn about what it takes to develop marketing campaigns, go out on calls with Field Reps, or even assist in creating a sales incentive program with the Director.
The classic Intern role is to handle different administrative tasks, and when they first begin with a record company (if you need to get in touch with some record labels, click here), their tasks are very similar; as he or she gains experience they will get hands-on experience with more difficult tasks, but usually under supervision.
Even though some Interns perform work without receiving a salary in return, they perform many of the duties as a paid employee. They are expected to act like paid employees by showing up on time and abiding by company policies. Even though the Intern may not be getting paid, he or she could use the Intern program as part of a college credit experience.
Many Interns who do a good job during their time have a fairly good chance of becoming a paid employee of the company after the internship is over.
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It is common for an Intern to work without any type of compensation, but instead they gain hands-on experience. Some Interns do get paid, but usually only between $1,500 to $3,000. Some college/internship programs allow the student/Intern to apply their Intern experience towards gaining college credits.
When trying to secure many music industry jobs, you must be prepared to start at the beginning if needed. Even though many Interns do not get paid, competition is always intense for available internships due to the experience gained. A positive note is that most departments offer internships and turnover usually occurs every year.
The main reason for applying for an internship is to give the Intern the opportunity to “get their foot in the door” to gain experience. In the music and recording industry, Interns are sometimes offered a position with the company once their internship ends successfully. They may first be promoted to staffers and then eventually move on to become supervisors, coordinators, or directors in various departments. However, this is not guaranteed.
Education and Training
Because most Interns are in the middle of completing their college degree (music schools are listed here), record companies really only require the Intern have a high school diploma. Useful college majors might include advertising, business, communications, journalism, music, social sciences, and pre-law.
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Experience, Skills, and Personality
The whole point of the internship is to gain experience; thus little to no experience is required to become an Intern. All that is needed is the desire to work for the recording industry. Obtaining an internship can be quite competitive, and those who are chosen to be Interns are usually quite skilled at building personal relationships, while showing an advanced intelligence, and eagerness to learn. Knowledge of music and/or the recording business is a definite plus.
Unions and Associations
Interns do not usually belong to any union while working. However, they may join relevant associations.
Suggestions for Getting Started
- If you are a college or music school student, your school may have more information about possible internships. If you happen to be at a school with a music business or music merchandising degree there may be an internship already established directly with a record company.
- Contact record labels about internship opportunities. If they do not offer internships, ask them to consider creating an internship for you.
- If you live close enough to visit labels, you may consider personally doing so to find out about internships.
- Internships may be advertised in trade publications like Billboard or online.