I talk to A LOT of people who want a job in the music business. But, most of them never act on it because, in their own words:
“don’t know how to get a job in the music business”
I get it. Music industry jobs are coveted and in-demand, but you have as good a chance as anyone to land that dream job. As simple as that sounds, it’s true. Music related companies are no different than other companies. They need graphic designers, accountants, janitors, customer service reps, managers, etc. If you’re looking for a job that allows you to sit around and play drums all day, you may have to create your own company. But if that’s not in the cards, keep reading.
The following is an excerpt from Tim Ferris’ “4-hour workweek” to explain the concept in more detail:
I was offering a round-trip ticket anywhere in the world to anyone who could complete an undefined “challenge” in the most impressive fashion possible. Results plus style. I told them to meet me after class if interested, and here they were, nearly 20 out of 60 students.
Doing the Unrealistic is Easier Than Doing the Realistic
— [end of excerpt] —
Maybe you don’t have a strong resume or maybe you’re a hustler and don’t like to sit around and wait. Here are a few ways you can accelerate the process.
1. Start something
There are plenty of opportunities to start a website, blog, podcast, etc about the industry you’re interested in. I’ve had a ton of employment opportunities in the music business since I launched Drummer’s Resource. DR has opened many doors to consulting with big drum brands, working with smaller music companies, passes to networking events and much more. By creating your own “thing” it gives you a reason to email, call, and network with people while avoiding the “can we meet for coffee so I can pick your brain” email.
Start building relationships as soon as possible. The music business, like any other industry, is all about who you know. If you’re a graphic designer who has been friendly with someone for a few years and they’re looking for a graphic designer, guess who they’re going to call. Example: Four years ago I was sitting at Starbucks and I read an article about a local drummer, Dylan Wissing, who had just won a Grammy Award. I emailed him, asked if I could check out his studio and chat drums. Over the past few years we’ve become friends, have worked together on many different projects, and Dylan even recommend me for two consulting gigs. Yes, it took four years, but I invested in the business relationship and gained a good friend out of it too.
3. Don’t generalize
If you’re sending form letters to every company and spamming their social accounts by tagging them, along with every other drum company you can think of, please stop! This is a small industry and everyone knows what you’re doing (or trying to do). Do yourself a favor and be original. Make your message specific to the company your contacting. You’re looking for a JOB…not a shout-out on Twitter. Before anyone takes you seriously you have to take yourself seriously. Be professional and be personal. Think about how well you respond to spammy, form-letter content directed at you. That’s how you look to companies if you’re doing the same thing.
5. Work for free
Yes…work for free. I understand this isn’t the sexiest tactic, but it works all the time. You start as a volunteer and your services become so valuable that they hire you part-time or full-time. As long as you continue to produce good work you’ll continue on a path to transitioning to a full-time position. A prime example is Justin Thomas. Justin reached out to me and offered to produce the podcast for free because he believes in the mission of Drummer’s Resource. I was extremely appreciative (I still am) and last month I was able to offer Justin a monthly salary to continue to work with me. The goal is to bring Justin on as a full-time employee at some point. (Click here to thank Justin for his amazing work on the podcast)
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