This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book. FEATURE BREAKING INTO THE INDUSTRY


30.11.12 Music Week 19

The job market can feel like an impenetrable fortress for many young people in 2012, let alone for those with ambitions to forge a career in the music business. So what’s the best route by which to enter one of Britain’s most exclusive, attractive industries – and how important is having a degree?



here was a time when a young go-getter could leave university, degree in hand, walk into a job and start climbing the ladder of

a career that would last a lifetime. These days, however, new starters in every

profession are having to come up with ways to make themselves stand out from the crowd. And that’s just your 9-5 office job – heaven forbid trying your luck with an exciting, creative industry within the entertainment business. Regardless of the recession, the struggle to make

it big in the music industry is hardly new. Budding musicians have always stuffed envelopes with demos during the day and gigged until their knees buckle at night.But this struggle is not a story that’s exclusive to wannabe rock gods or hip-hop superstars – searching for a way into the business end of the music industry can be just as grueling

and requires similar amounts of dedication and creative thinking. If you’re a fresh-faced jobseeker, the idea of

getting your voice heard by an industry known for making a bit of a din will surely seem daunting. Rule No.1 is the obvious bit: you have to demonstrate a passion for music early on. Yet while whipping out a hefty iTunes bill probably won’t cut the mustard, you don’t necessarily have to have established your own indie label either. “At entry level, we’re looking for people who

have gone out, shown initiative and been very proactive,” senior director of Human Resources at Universal Music UK Morna Cook tells Music Week. “We’re looking for someone who has perhaps gained work experience at other labels, promoted their own night, DJ’d or even written their own blog. There are lots of areas that show you’ve got an active interest in our industry. “Relevant work experience is always brilliant to see on a CV because it makes you stand out.”

ABOVE Foot in the door: Competition in the job market is fierce but work experience can help candidates stand out

So, successful candidates must show a genuine

interest in music and the business around it. But that’s hardly the trickiest dilemma on the plate of those plotting a route into the music industry “There’s always the question of whether it’s essential to go to University or not,” acknowledges Universal’s Cook. “I think, at that entry level, the first thing we look for some relevant work experience.” So at the biggest record label in existence,

holding one of the multitude of music business- related university degrees on offer in the UK is a bonus, but not an essential. However, this field of studying has inarguably helped some successful executives in the industry to gain a useful foundation in the building blocks of the business. Phil Connolly, a product manager at Sony

Music’s Commercial Music Group, discovered that a music degree helped him to demystify what can become a very complicated industry to work within. Connolly was able to gain a broad

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