Music Business

Music Internship Guide: How To Get Music Industry Internships

Photograph of the blog post author, Carla Johnson

Carla Johnson

4.8.2021

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So, you have decided you want to work in the music industry, but you don’t know how to get your foot in the door? The best place to start is by looking for a music internship. Interns for music industry internships are required in every aspect of the industry, and most music industry professionals started out as unpaid music interns before leveraging them into paying jobs.

There are a variety of music internships available such as music business internships, music production internships and music supervisor internships. 

Small music companies are growing in every city but many larger companies will only employ students who are enrolled in college and looking to get credit. 

If your music internship is not for credit, double check before you get your heart set on that position as you may not be qualified to fulfill it.

Here is everything you need to know about how to get a music internship. Be sure to stick around until the very end so you don’t miss out on any key information!

What Is A Music Internship?

music internships

A music internship is a role (frequently undertaken by a young person or graduates) to gain experience in their defined field of work.

Ideally, the music intern will hone their talent, skill and work ethic during their music internship and will be assessed by the company to increase their chances of future employment. Not all positions are paid internships. 

Regardless of whether a music intern feels undervalued by a work experience placement, it can simply be a case of having it on a CV which can lead on to further opportunities.

As with many industries, building up relationships with employers will always be of benefit.

How Can Music Internships Benefit You?

Getting a music internship can provide lots of opportunities. The tasks given to you may vary but you will meet new connections through networking.

The more you build your reputation as a hard worker, the more likely it will be for you to secure a full-time position or paid internship and work your way up.

Here are some additional benefits of a music internship:

Music Business Experience

music internships

When gaining a job in the music industry employers will look for previous experience and for applicants which know a bit about how the industry works. 

With a music internship, you will gain hands-on experience, this experience will help you to shape which direction you wish to take in your music career.

You will learn that working in the music industry is a real job and not just about going to shows for a living.

Connections

interns working in office

As with many industries, it’s not just about what you know but also who you know. So many people wish to work in the industry. Therefore, it is beneficial to have some people who know your name when you start applying for roles. 

People you work with during a music internship are obviously industry connections.

Also, the people you come into contact with during your music internship are invaluable. Every phone call, email exchange you have could lead to someone who might help you with a job later on.

Learn Standard Practices

music internships

Many music interns have little work experience. But all employers really want to see is that you can hold down a job. So any work experience is going to enhance your CV. 

However, many music interns aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of working in a business setting. Your music industry internship may well take place in an office, but it may also take place backstage at events or in a studio

Bear in mind no matter which area your music internship is in, you will be helping to run a business. You will get used to aspects of the role such as meeting deadlines, staying late until a job is complete.

Also working independently, playing a role in a hierarchy and being proficient in business exchanges. 

Ultimately, it is an opportunity to transition from student to professional. The experience is beneficial regardless of which industry you work in.  

Build Confidence

MUSIC INTERNSHIP

Doing a music internship helps to make you feel confident about your knowledge and abilities as you reach out to potential employers later.

Keep a record of all the tasks you do during your music internship. This is so you can include them in your CV. You will be surprised by just how much you have learned.

How To Get A Music Internship

Here are some additional benefits of how to get an internship in the music industry.

Not all companies will provide paid music internships. There are a lot of internship opportunities in the music industry.

It may not seem fair but the majority of music business internships are unpaid. If making money is on your goal list, you may be required to get a second job to feed your passion for music while working as a music intern.

Identify Your Areas of Interest

music internships

Firstly, identify which area of the music industry you want to work in. Areas of interest might be music business internships which will cover marketing, streaming, publicity, touring or A&R

When you have had some experience as a music intern, you will gain a better understanding of where you fit within the industry. 

If you don’t specify which areas you are interested in then the people who are in charge of hiring will have no idea where you fit into their business. 

Before applying for music industry internships, gain knowledge of the different parts of the music industry. You can do this by reading blogs and doing online research so you don’t look unprepared.

Make A List of Companies You Love

music companies

If you like a specific band/artist check out which companies they work with and make a list. There is nothing better than working with your favourite artists.

Create Your CV

resume stock image

When applying for a music internship, create a standout CV. There are many careers websites that can guide you on this.

Some key points are to be:

  • Precise – one page only.
  • Thorough – List what you did at previous jobs and express your talents.
  • Interesting – Include personal details such as hobbies and interests.

The music industry can be a bit more informal, so you have the ability to show off your personality when it comes to your CV for a music industry internship. 

Add your LinkedIn and social media links but make sure they are professional.

If you don’t have a huge amount of experience then make sure you lead with enthusiasm and passion.

Get Recommendations

In an industry which is dependent on connections, it comes at no surprise that a couple of great references can help you to get where you want. 

Speak to an old employer, a professor who can provide an outstanding recommendation letter. 

Your recommendation letter should detail your strengths which are cohesive with the position you are after. It will set you apart when applying for music industry internships.

Start Applying

Get in touch with companies you want to work for as a music intern. They may not be advertising for a music intern but you can cold call or email to see if they would be willing to accept your CV.  

Be enthusiastic and honest that you found out about their company and would love to be considered. Also, ask who to address your resume to.

Understand The Music Internship Rules

Always send your CV with a cover letter that is customised and mentions why you would make the perfect music intern.

Make sure it is professional and includes name, address, company name and individual’s name on each cover letter. Customise it for each specific music industry internship.

It will take longer but it gets results. Include aspects that directly relate to the company you are applying for such as names of the artists you are passionate about and what made you interested in music.

Send A Physical Copy Of Your CV

Many music business websites will give you an option to submit a CV straight to them.

It is recommended that you do this in addition to mailing a version, just remember to address it to the person you want it to reach.

Music Internship Interview

If you are lucky enough to get three or four interviews as a music intern then it is wise to go to the one you are least interested in first. This will help you hone your interview skills. 

Call the day of the interview to confirm, it is professional and a way to make you stand out. Get there 5 minutes early and aim to dress business casual.

Make sure you don’t use your mobile phone while you wait and bring two copies of your resume, cover letter and recommendation letter as well as your portfolio (if applicable). This will help set you apart.

Don’t Be Worried About Asking Questions

Most music internship interviewers will ask if you have any questions. Here are some examples:

  • What does a typical music internship encompass here?
  • Do you have some specific projects I might be working on?

Follow Up

Even if the interview didn’t go to plan it is always a good idea to send a thank you follow-up email to say thanks for taking the time to conduct the interview for the music internship.

If you liked the interview then include why. Don’t be afraid to say ‘after meeting you I am even more convinced I would like to work with you.’

Now You Know How To Get A Music Internship

Plenty of music labels take on music interns however make sure that you learn from the business and don’t just run your boss’s errands. 

Be cooperative but if you think that errands outweigh what you want to learn about the business then make sure you have a polite private discussion with your manager to get things back on track. 

A music internship is a fantastic way to learn a role and see where you want to progress in your career.

Have you had any experience in a music internship? We’d love to hear about your time as an intern in the comments below! If you enjoyed this article, why not share it on your social media? Be sure to tag us @musicgateway!

If you enjoyed this article, why not check out another on our blog? Here are articles on Music Industry Networking, Music Blogs and Music Networking Events to get you started!

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