“HOW TO LAND YOUR FIRST INTERNSHIP IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY”

BY ELIZABETH DOMBROWSKI


With spring just around the corner, lining up a summer internship is a must. If you’ve always wanted to work in the music industry, landing your first internship can seem daunting. We’ve broken it down into a step-by-step process to guide you through the process - no industry contacts required!

1) Identify your area of interest. The music industry is more than just live shows and crazy festivals - if you’re interested in music in general, there are so many places your skills and experience can align. Before blindly applying or cold-calling companies, it’s helpful to do as much research as possible to identify which roles and industries you could see yourself growing into, such as:

  • Marketing

  • Streaming

  • Publicity

  • Online Marketing

  • Touring

  • Artist & Repertoire

  • Social Media Management

  • Sales

In addition to the industry, think about environment you ideally see yourself working in. In addition to large record label (like Sony, Warner Music, Universal, etc.) and massive media companies like Rolling Stones, consider other options such as:

  • Publicity Firm

  • Artist Management Companies

  • Booking Agency

  • Radio

  • Streaming Promotions Company

  • Live Music Venue

  • Concert Promoter

  • Production Studio

  • Publishing Company

  • Film & TV Licensing

  • Music Website

  • Social Media

  • Digital Marketing

  • Music Blogs

  • Smaller Record Labels

Local opportunities don’t mean a limited future, and if you’re not based in NYC or LA they can be the foot in the door your career needs. Learn as much as you can, and try to pinpoint 2 or 3 areas of interest.

2) Make a list of your dream companies and artists. Don’t limit yourself - include local companies, PR agents for your favorite artists, headliners for your dream musician - and work outward to compile a target list.

3) Revamp your resume. While the music industry is generally more informal than, say, an accounting firm, the general rules still apply. If you’re a student, capitalize on your college’s career center.

  • Keep your resume to 1 page

  • Be detailed and results focused specific. Instead of saying “managed social media channels” say “Launched a successful social media campaign that resulted in a 200% increase in traffic.”

  • Include your social media and make sure your online presence is professional.

4) Start applying. Focus on LinkedIn, career sites, and career fairs. The #1 rule of job searching is that it never hurts to ask. Even if you don’t see an internship advertised, send your pitch. Describe why you want to work for that particular company and what you can offer.

Leverage your network, and utilize LinkedIn to find contacts within the company you’re applying for. When researching your target company, seek out employees that share a common background, such as the same university or student groups, and begin to build your network.  

5) Follow up! For posted internships, HR can receive hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants. After submitting your resume or pitch, follow up within a few days, and include your social media in your email signature.

6) Rock your interview. Practice as much as possible, and emphasize soft skills over technical ones. As an intern, employers won’t expect you to know everything - they’re looking for interns that can learn, adapt, and grow with their company. Let your enthusiasm and passion shine, and ask prepare questions in advance.