Directories for my music industry
Throughout my college years, I fantasized about joining an industry of some sort; Perhaps music. I did not see myself working anywhere else. I just wanted myself to be in those directories.
I’m not a stage person and I neither had the voice nor the talent to sing. But I know my way around people. Perhaps my talent is getting closer to know, knowing people at a personal level. I was banking on this to get me where I wanted in the music industry.
So in my final year, I made the firm decision that I didn’t want anything else except to work in music.
When I was done with school, I moved to California to get closer to the action.
Not long after I arrived, I hooked a job in a renowned record label, working in their repertoire department. “Wow, you get to globe trot and meet famous people, what a cool job you have”, people would often tell me.
Then, I left the record label and got a new job and directories in a video game developing company, working in the music department and a creative artist. Basically I was making music for new video games. I was still in the directories; even outside the label territory. There were even more people telling me how lucky I was and how cool my job was. While most of this is true, it is not a bed of roses in the media.
If you plan on joining the music industry, here’s a little doze of reality for you from my own experiences in the game.
It’s not all fun and games
The truth is that working in the music industry and being involved in many directories is fun in many ways; but the glitz, the glamour, the jet-setting and globe trotting make up a very tiny portion of the reality in the music directories business. It’s been many years of hard work. There are may unknown truths about working in the industry. There’s the good and then there’s the bad too. But you have to be positive in mind and always be ready for the challenge that comes ahead of you.
With a simple phone call, I could get backstage access to pretty much any concert. Okay, not any concert but a good number of them. Nowadays, I mostly opt out and prefer to stay home.
I spend most of my work day listening to music and once I’m done with work, I just want to get home where it is quiet.
The business side is complex
The business side of the industry is the hardest, aside from being in all the directories. What you see in the news is a stark contrast of what really happens behind closed doors. Typically it entails things such as sorting out song ownership, publishing splits, dealing with censorship stuff, unlicensed samples, royalty rates, and more. Supervising these things can be complex. It was a rude awakening for me. It’s a lengthy process that has little (or nothing) to do with art. It took me a while to understand the whole spectrum.
Your music taste matters to you only, not to those in directories
Sad but unfortunately very true. Back when I had just started, a very successful colleague of mine told me to “keep my personal taste in music to myself”. The industry is a business. Directories, publishers and label companies want acts that sell; not ones that necessary sound good to you. That’s the state of affairs in the industry that I was lucky to learn early on.
Everyday is work day
In the media industry, there are no days off. I was always on email and texts all day through, plus night time, weekends, birthdays and holidays.
Meetings with executives, managers, music conferences, shows, concerts, directories, and everything in-between. It was mostly spread across the U.S but I did travel internationally pretty frequently.
Just last June I was asked to travel to Paris, then to London within just 36 hours. I spent more time on a jet between LA, Paris, and Heathrow than I did actually spend on ground. The best part is that I amassed more than 2 million air miles, and obviously traveled well more than that.
The last word
If you have passion for music and you think you can give it a shot in the industry, do it. If you’re going in for the glitz and the fame and the money, you might be quickly disappointed.