music industry internships

Five Music Industry Internships That Will Look Great on Your Resume

There is a lot of talk about whether internships should be paid or remain largely unpaid and no matter where you land when it comes to that debate (both sides do have their points), it’s impossible to ignore how valuable internships can be, especially for students, both in high school and in college.

Internships are a fantastic way for young people to make connections, gain essential real-world experience, and find out what they actually want to do with their lives. Sometimes, students will have no idea and internships are a fairly low-risk way for them to try new things and see if they can’t discover something they love. Other times, a young person might think they want to work in a certain industry or secure a specific job but after an internship, they might realize it’s not for them (or perhaps learn it’s even better than they’d hoped, if we’re being optimistic).

They can be tough to land, as competition is fierce, and not everyone can make them work based on schedules, travel, and a need to bring in cash to pay the bills, but if you can, try to pack in as many internships as possible during your time as a student because after that, it’s nearly impossible to grab any more and applying for and getting a job is much more difficult.

There are tons of music industry internships out there but the majority of them fit into certain categories. There are certainly other options out there but these are the main ones you’ll find when it comes to the music business.

1. Record Label Internships

The music industry has changed considerably over the past decade or so, and while many up-and-coming artists know it’s not all about securing a major label recording contract, the biggest and best-known record companies in the business still attract the best talent in every sense, including when it comes to internships.

A quick search for music industry internships shows many labels do have postings online and positions to be filled, so it’s not as if they aren’t available. Having said this, everybody wants to have a record label internship on their resume and many college students are hoping their hard work in the office will land them a highly-coveted job at Warner Brothers, Universal, Sony, or any of their affiliates or sub-labels. That’s a tough future to secure but an internship at a label is worth fighting for!

Many of the biggest labels have a number of slots open and what you’ll actually be doing at these companies varies widely. (There’s a chance you might not even know until you get there!) Position descriptions I’ve read online posted by Universal Music Group, Atlantic Records, and BedRoc Records — some of the most successful record labels in the business today — didn’t get too specific, so while having the name on your resume is certainly a good thing, I can’t promise what kind of experience you’ll actually garner during these opportunities.

The music industry has changed considerably over the past decade or so, and while many up-and-coming artists know it’s not all about securing a major label recording contract, the biggest and best-known record companies in the business still attract the best talent in every sense, including when it comes to internships.

2. Recording Studio Internships

First thing’s first when it comes to recording studio internships — don’t start thinking if you can land a role at one of them, you’ll automatically be granted free studio time. That’s not how it works and if you’re only looking for these types of jobs and internships in order to record your album for cheap or free, you’re probably in for a rude awakening. It’s not that such perks don’t exist, but they’re not going to find you on the first day so please only apply to these openings if you’re truly interested in learning the ins and outs of working at a recording studio.

On all of the sites I searched for, I was only able to find one internship connected to a recording studio (at least at the time and in the locale I selected), so that suggests these companies probably aren’t as on the ball about posting their internship needs as other companies…or perhaps some of them don’t even need to look for an Intern at all.

If you want to work at a recording studio for the summer (just a suggestion), you should absolutely start your search online on popular job boards, but you will probably need to be more proactive. Reach out to studios in your area via email or on social media and ask if they have such opportunities available (after looking at their websites), or ask if you can help them in some way. Speak to Engineers, Mixers, Recording Studio Managers, and Producers to see if they know of any opportunities or if they can help create one. Even if nothing comes out of your attempts, it doesn’t hurt to try, to take the initiative, and you might make some valuable contacts in the process.

3. Magazine & Blog Internships

Internships at blogs, magazines, and in similar fields are at the intersection of media and the music industry and they can help you one day find a job in either world. Writing about music requires a lot more than just a love of music (though it is, of course, paramount), and you’ll need to be able to prove you can actually string words together in order to even be considered. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to find some places that will allow you to write before you even apply.

As someone just starting out, I’d suggest beginning at the very bottom and working your way up. When you first try writing about new bands and reviewing albums and singles, it should be about gaining experience and knowledge of the industry, which will one day help you secure an internship, or perhaps even a job. Try starting your own blog or perhaps write for smaller outlets online that are in need of content. You shouldn’t expect to make any money at first, but if you can publish on a few different platforms, you may have a very good shot at eventually interning at a company people actually know, which will look great on your resume.

A quick search on a number of highly-trafficked internship posting sites showed brands like Fuse and Bandsintown are looking for Interns to start soon and those two are only a few of the many that require such help. If this is a road you want to travel down, know once you have completed one or two of these internships, you can begin freelancing as a Music Writer…if you’re not offered a job after your time at each company is through.

Depending on the company you end up securing an internship with, you could either be fetching coffee and stuffing envelopes or actually reaching out to media to see if you can get them to write about the musicians that have hired those who brought you on.

4. PR Internships

Public relations firms (or simply PR firms, which you should probably know before you apply for anything) are always looking for Interns, no matter what field they focus on. Music publicity is a notoriously difficult industry, though it can come with some awesome and extremely fun perks, especially if you’re new to the game. You’ll work long hours for little or no pay, the work will probably be menial (at least when you begin), and you might have to spend a lot of time on campaigns you may not actually care about…but that’s the PR world for you.

Depending on the company you end up securing an internship with, you could either be fetching coffee and stuffing envelopes or actually reaching out to media to see if you can get them to write about the musicians that have hired those who brought you on. Hopefully, at least by the end of your time at a music PR internship, you’ll have learned what the industry is all about and you’ll have gained some meaningful experience and you may know whether or not you want to pursue work as a Publicist later on.

As an Intern, you will likely get to enjoy some of the coolest benefits of working in PR, such as connecting with top-tier media in the field, working directly with musicians (some of whom might be brand new and unknown, though depending on the company you’re interning for, they may have clients who are already stars), and plenty of concerts.

When I searched for these types of internships in the NYC area (where I am based), I found several offered by companies I was familiar with (such as Stunt Company and Gramophone Media), who reach out to me with awesome clients all the time so it’s good to see there are plenty of reputable PR firms looking for young talent to help them out.

5. Social Media Internships

Whether you apply directly for a music industry internship or one in another field, chances are social media may play some sort of role. Social media has become an important part of how so many companies operate and run and now everybody needs to not only have a presence on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the like, they need to excel at it, especially those working in the entertainment fields.

Those in charge have learned over the years that the nuances of what works and what doesn’t on social media can be difficult to master and now they often rely on Social Media Managers to help guide them, if not actually do the work themselves. When I went searching for music industry-related internships across various online job boards, I came across a number focused solely on social media and the descriptions of plenty of others (including those with the words “marketing” and “PR,” especially) all made mention of it as well.

While youth can sometimes be a disadvantage when it comes to getting a job or being accepted into an internship, this is one time when it can actually play in your favor. Clean up your profiles, learn a few best practices, and show these companies you can better their social media presences and make their content go viral, which is what everyone under the age of thirty is expected to be able to do these days.

Daily Music Career Info! Follow Us.

Jobs. Career Articles. Quality Blog Posts. School Info, & More.