10 Ways a Working in Music is not what you may expect
So it’s been 9 hours now that I’ve been sitting at my desk. Just like you I had to get up, make my breakfast, get dressed and down a few cups of caffeine to be pleasant for anyone around me. Yeah there were some “Monster” speakers blasting in my office, but that’s all good day’s work.
Be your job as a promoter, journalist, tour manager, or musician here’s some myths I can quickly dispell:
1. Rock and Roll all night and party everyday. If you’re hung over every day you won’t be able to get anything done. Your health will suffer. You won’t be organized and quite frankly for any career longevity, you have to look after your body and mind first… by a healthy dose of music in your earbuds at your desk.
2. You go out to shows all the time. Yeah, it comes with part of the territory but you also skip out on them often because you have music deadlines or you’d rather relax at home with Netflix even though you’re on the guestlist.
3. Musicians are super sexy. Yes, they can be but going 3 days without showering and sweating up a storm on stage does not one hygienic-artist make. They can be just as awkward as the rest of us; they just have a stage and guitar to hide behind.
4. Interviewing rock stars for major publications is super cool. What’s not cool is getting up for a 6:30 a.m. interview with them while they’re on tour in Australia before they board a flight leaving you only 2 hours to file your story with your editor. It’s stressful and at that point feels can be a bit of a drag.
5. You get to hang out with super cool artists. Yes, but they are your co-workers. You treat them with respect and encouragement the same way that you would if the divey bar you’re meeting in was a board room. They can annoy you just as much as Bill in accounting. (Also, if you’re behind the scenes, you spend most of your time solo on your laptop emailing them.)
6. You need to go to school for this. While I never attended any artist management training program, so much of what I’ve learned has been from real-world experiences over the last 11 years. Aside from the audio engineers, the people I know that are the most successful have unrelated degrees. Their training instead came through internships, volunteering, artist conferences and just generally making themselves available to any music industry avenue. Resilience and DIY spirit are probably the best qualities someone pursuing a career in music can possess.
7. You get paid. There are dodgy people out there that will always try to take advantage of those in the arts. People don’t read the fine print. The best way to make sure everything runs smoothly is to make sure you’re involved when it comes to finances and legal stuff. Unless you’re a CEO, you’re working in music because you love it, not because you think you’re going to get rich off it.
8. You can plan for anything. There really are few guarantees you can bank on as an emerging artist, promoter or even journalist. Shows get cancelled last minute, a flash freeze causes pipes to explode at the venue you’ve booked meaning you need to refund all the ticket sales, or a scheduled interview with a band gets dropped because the band breaks up the night before. Shit happens.
9. People in music get laid all the time. Puh-leeze. Why do you think Morrissey and Rivers Cuomo have careers?
10. It’s always glamorous. Being at award shows and amazing concerts is awesome but truthfully everything that leads to those experiences you and your friends road trip for can be super stressful. Festivals, tours, and album launches take endless months of planning to pull off successfully. The reality is that you don’t see the people close to tears in their cubicles because a tour contract hasn’t come in on time or a cheque for a music video got lost in the mail.
… but why do we do it all then? Because above all we love music and couldn’t imagine a life any different!