Got a passion for music? Why not explore the industry to see if you’d like working in it? An internship in the music industry might be right for you.

How to Find an Internship in the Music Industry

Got a passion for music? Why not explore the industry to see if you’d like working in it? Sure, you can go the traditional route of living in a van with your guitar, write songs and do coffee shop gigs for gas money, scrape by for a decade or two, then get discovered while you’re panhandling in Nashville… but then again, landing an internship in the music industry may be a bit more to your liking. At the very least, you’ll get into less bar fights.

So how do you find an internship in the music business? Let’s stage-dive in.

Get in Tune: Hone in on What You Want

As diverse as music itself, the music industry has a ton of different departments to intern for:

  • A&R
  • Touring
  • Licensing
  • Marketing & Promotions
  • Sales
  • Studio Services
  • Videography

And that’s just the tip of the double platinum iceberg. While you might say to yourself “I'll be happy with anything,” it makes your search much easier if you can focus on what truly interests you about music. Is it production? Is it the live events? Is it finding new artists? Figure out where you want to be first, which will inform your search as you go.

Rock City: Keep Location in Mind

If you want to work in finance, Wall Street is your best bet. If you want to be in movies, that’s Hollywood. While there are internships for finance and film in many cities across America, we all know where the majority of opportunities are.

Music is no different. The major hubs are Burbank, Los Angeles, New York City, Nashville, and a select few others. Keep in mind, for corporate internships in the music industry, you have to be where the industries are. While New Orleans has a ton of great music, that may not necessarily have the music internship opportunities that are right for you.

So if you can get to a major music industry hub, that will improve your odds. But of course if you can’t, there are remote and local opportunities that exist. They just might be tougher to find.

Write from the Heart: Perfect your Resume

Think of resumes like custom songs: they should be a little unique to each internship you apply for. A big mistake is to just write one resume and use it for everything. You’ll get a much better response rate if you tailor your CV to what the hiring manager is explicitly asking for in their job posting.

For example, a recent post from SoundCloud for a Publishing Intern listed in the qualification section: “basic knowledge about music publishing.” If you were keen on applying, does your resume show that you have experience specifically in music publishing?

If you do have that experience, put it front and center. If not, well, the best thing you can do is go out and get some. Volunteer at college events, local venues, and community groups. If you can’t find avenues for experience, create your own by writing and publishing your own reviews online, starting a social media account about music publishing, or host your own event.

Groupie Love: Network, Network, Network

The music industry, much like Hollywood, is all about who you know. So search both your IRL and online networks to find connections to specific companies that you want to intern with, or at least with someone with music experience.

Expand your network by heading to music events and talking to organizers. You’d be surprised how much music industry people like talking about what they do. If you can show a real passion for it, you’ll have a great chance to connect with someone who can hook you up with opportunities for music internships.

Of course, if you’re starting from absolute scratch, you can check out various internship job boards. You know the common big ones, but there are several niche sites to also scour:

Rock on!

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