I have two years’ experience working in the music industry, spread out over 8 years. Isn’t that weird and neat? Really, the first year and a half were consecutive—I did back to back internships at four music companies in Spain and Chicago, and recently returned to work full time at the one in Spain. Sometime in between interning in the music industry and getting a full-time job in the music industry, I decided that, despite my love and appreciation of music, working in the music industry is simply not for me. There are some passions that make great jobs and others that are best left as hobbies. It’s different for everyone. Some people like cooking as a hobby but not as a job. Some people like performing surgery as a job but not as a hobby. It’s all very random and subjective. My passions for writing and travel and writing about travel transfer to work; music, on the other hand, should remain strictly recreational.
But, all experience is good experience, right? “Everything is copy,” as Nora Ephron’s mom would say. So here are my top three moments in the music industry. “Top” may be stretch, but I have a bad memory and these are three moments I remember, so alternative title “Three Moments I Remember in the Music Industry!”
1 – I worked at a record label on the south side of Chicago one summer. It was so tedious and boring that I’d break out in hives on the train to work every morning (actually it turns out I was allergic to a medication I was taking, but I earnestly attributed it to my hatred of the job at first!). One day, my supervisor sent me into the basement, where the stacks were located, to do inventory of physical product. He handed me a clipboard and said, “We think the rat problem has cleared up. You’ll let us know.”
2 – We just signed a huge deal with a record label in Miami, and for weeks I’ve been pitching the music of one their new, virtually unknown artists. On a slow day at work, I Googled the artist’s name and navigated to the “News” section to see if there was any press buzz about her. Exactly one news article appeared in the search results, from 2016. The headline? “[Artist’s Name Here] arrested on charges of attempted murder.” Even more disturbing than the article itself (and the accompanying mug shot confirming the artist’s identity) was my coworkers’ reaction to it: “So what?”
3 – When I worked at a radio promotion company in Chicago, part of my job was to mingle with artists, maintain the company’s relationship with them. This meant going to concerts and then going backstage to talk to the band. Ah, the glamor! The very first concert I was sent to was Dry the River, and I was really excited because I loved the band. My boss gave me the name and phone number of their manager so I could meet up with them later and contact him if I had any problems at the door. Who was their manager, you ask? Simon Cowell! Now not only was I nervous about going to my first concert in a professional capacity, I was also about to meet Simon Cowell! Music industry titan! Producer of American Idol! The most scathingly critical man on TV! After the concert, I went backstage and was introduced to Simon Cowell. Turns out it was just another British bloke named Simon Cowell; no relation.
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