So you want to work in the music business?

Posted on 10/12/2015 by Emma Dadswell


Last week, Handle Recruitment’s very own Claire Wadsworth was a panellist on The Guardian’s Live Q&A: Your career in the music industry: ask the experts. The recruitment guru also took part in a Q&A last month at the Apple Store on Regent Street alongside senior HR professionals from Sony Music, Universal and Warner Music in conjunction with City Showcase - which also focused on breaking into the business.

Claire shared her wisdom on the best routes into the business, and offered advice on what employers are looking for in new recruits. Here are her top tips for getting your foot in the door of this notoriously competitive industry:

  • Make those contacts! Get to know the scene and build relationships. That could potentially lead to a role assisting an agent - usually with things like travel, contracts, visas etc. - but even more than this; you're soaking up the business which is invaluable.
  • You don’t need to have a music degree to land your dream role. Many people working at labels have degrees in other disciplines – or may have never attended university at all. It is possible to enhance any degree with practical experience – for example working at festivals or seeking out work placement opportunities. Show people that you're serious about working in the industry by using your time valuably.
  • Internships - please don't discount them! The major labels and larger organisations certainly offer structured, paid placements. OK, there are no 100% guarantees that this will result in a permanent role, but I have met many, many interns over the years who have gone on to become employees. At the very least, you will have gained valuable, transferrable skills which will subsequently open more doors to you in the industry.
  • Fill your CV with anything that demonstrates your interest and involvement in music. For example, going to live gigs, blogging, managing a band or song writing. Put these in either a ‘Hobbies & Interests’ section or perhaps 'Vocational Experience'. Try to marry your professional experience with your passions to demonstrate a real enthusiasm and dedication to the industry.

And finally…

  • We all have to do 'uninspiring' or menial jobs along the way, but do an amazing job of that and you'll get your dream quicker. Be pro-active, roll your sleeves up and get involved...

What’s your top tip for landing a job in the music industry? Let us know by commenting below.