1 answer

How hard is it for a woman to succeed in music business? How can I succeed in this industry?

Asked San Dimas, California

I want to get into the music industry and know how to go about it the right way. #women-in-business #music #music-industry #anything-related-to-music-business #music-business

1 answer

Judeanne’s Answer

Updated Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Hi Jacklyn!


I know it's not proper to answer a question with a question but I think you need to understand this first... What's your definition of success? Do you want to be a performer or someone in the business side of things?


This is what I can tell you about being a female in the music business, the business side of things.


Just as in any other industry, you will meet and work with all types of people. There will be just as many people who are positive as there are those who are negative. There will be those who are helpful and encouraging just as there will be those who feel threatened by you. There will be people you find are people you'll have as friends for life and people you will never see again once you no longer work with them. The important thing about all these people is You. You must make every effort to work just as hard and as well for or with any of these people in every job you have. That will be the measure of your reputation and your integrity. In this industry, and many others, those qualities are the measure of your success, because those qualities will be why others look to help you progress through your career and keep you working with or for them.


Any career in the music industry will require mobility. Professionals in all areas of the business tend to move from city to city as opportunities present themselves. Also, be aware that, again depending on what you end up doing in the business, you may find that the biggest occupational hazard may be your family life. Notice I used the word MAY... it's up to you and what you decide is the best career for you. You may find you miss out on a few parties, family reunions, weddings, birthdays, etc. It's something you'll need to navigate in your own definition of success.


As for getting into the business, again, it depends on what you want to do. I honestly suggest you go to college and jump into any music programs they have - music history, performance, business, marketing, media studies - its really endless what you can learn in school and apply to the industry. Whatever you do, do internships. They are valuable to all sorts of professions but literally no way near as important to a career in the music business.


Before any of that, get some knowledge of the industry. Start visiting Pollstar.com, Variety.com, and Billboard.com. Also, check out this guy, Bob Lefsetz. He has one of the most popular blogs in the industry. (Please note, I said popular, not the best. But he's a good source for learning how many executives think in the business.)


I also highly recommend the autobiographies of Bill Graham ( https://www.amazon.com/Bill-Graham-Presents-Life-Inside/dp/0306813491/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1523581662&sr=1-1&keywords=bill+graham+presents) and Clive Davis (https://www.amazon.com/Soundtrack-My-Life-Clive-Davis/dp/1476714797/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=1476714797&pd_rd_r=8G0A521EY9VMJXK498ZX&pd_rd_w=vu68D&pd_rd_wg=2LQal&psc=1&refRID=8G0A521EY9VMJXK498ZX) and the biography of Ahmet Ertegun (https://www.amazon.com/Last-Sultan-Times-Ahmet-Ertegun/dp/1416558403/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1523581722&sr=1-1&keywords=ahmet+ertegun). They were pioneers in the concert promotion and recording industry and, frankly, are my industry heroes. Also, read All You Need to Know About the Music Business, by Donald S. Passman (https://www.amazon.com/Need-Know-About-Music-Business/dp/1501104896). He's a brilliant entertainment lawyer and you will learn SO MUCH about the business end of music. It will be mind blowing.


So, to sum things up, don't worry about how hard it may be to get into the business or to succeed in the business. If that is where your heart lies - Go for it! Get your formal education, educate yourself on the history of the industry, work internships, build your reputation, your network, and your skill sets, and you will enjoy the career you build, regardless of the industry and, most importantly, regardless of anyone else's measure of success.


If you are happy then you have succeeded!

Judeanne recommends the following next steps:

  • Define your own measure of success and if the music business is truly your passion to follow.
  • Research colleges with music/music business programs and make sure they have a strong internship program, with significant contacts in the music industry.
  • Read books listed above - Bill Graham Presents, Soundtrack of My Life, Last Sultan, and All You Need to Know About the Music Business.
  • Check out Bob Lefletz' blog/newsletter, Pollstar.com, Billboard.com, and Variety.com
  • Do as many internships as you can to find what career you want to follow in the business. Build your reputation, network, and skill sets. (And have a blast doing it!!!)