Entertainment Jobs Q&A – Breaking into the Music Industry

entertainment jobs kendrick lamar

Kendrick Lamar (left) may not have won any Grammys but he was still a big winner on the ledger (Photo Courtesy: Hollywood Reporter)

The Grammys are one of the biggest nights of the year for the music industry, but the big winner isn’t always the one walking away with the most tiny gold reproductions of a gramophone. (Bet you didn’t know that’s what it was called did you?)

If you do a search for “Grammy Snubs” the results all point to one artist – 26-year old rapper Kendrick Lamar – nominated for seven awards but walking away empty-handed.

But the Compton based artist shouldn’t hang his head. According to Time magazine, Lamar, Daft Punk and Taylor Swift have seen the biggest jump in sales since the Grammys. Lamar’s debut LP good kid, m.A.A.d. city jumped 63 percent from the week before the Grammys to the week after, while streams of his Spotify catalog jumped 99 percent the day after the show.

Let’s move onto this weeks Entertainment Jobs Q&A – where Lauren is curious about music careers….and TV careers….and film careers! If you want your question answered in an upcoming Entertainment Jobs Q&A the best way is to add you question to the comments below.

The Q:

I always think about how I can get involved within the music industry, while not actually being an artist. Also, I am very interested in eventually being a Producer for TV/Film. What tips can you provide for that field as well?

-Lauren N.  – Student, Michigan State University

The A:

Lauren – Part of the fun of being in college is figuring out your career plan. It’s also kind of scary. I can totally appreciate why at this stage you are still deciding between a career in music…or TV…or Film. They are all very different though, so lets take this advice one step at a time.

Let’s start by talking music.

As far as entertainment jobs go, who wouldn’t love to have a role in the music industry? I’m glad you are willing to admit that your way in isn’t as an artist. I can’t tell you how many inquiries we get from people saying, “I’m cute and funny and I have a great voice – can you get me a starring role on Disney Channel?”  (If I could do that, don’t you think my daughter would be starring in Jessie right now?)

Personally I think it takes just as much talent, or more, to work in the industry either as part of the creation process, the marketing, the publicity, the writing etc etc. But I digress.

Career paths to consider in music:

Radio Host – the role has changed a great deal, it’s less the face of the on-air product and more of the momentary intersection of time filled by something other than music or advertisements, but it’s still a great career. Plan on being versatile, most DJs and radio hosts also have a big role in programming and brand management.

entertainment jobs radio host dj

Radio’s future depends on what it can deliver that other mediums can’t – namely, personality and connection. (Picutred: Jackie Morales from 101.5 Jamz Radio in Phoenix)

To get started on the path, a logical entry level position is as a promotions assistant…then you work your way up through the creative production side of the industry.

Stage Manager – I like to call them the happy-maker.  Organization, communication and a knowledge of the entire stage process make for a great stage manager, but in reality their main role is to make sure everyone is happy, so the act comes back next tour.

Music Journalist – A radio executive told me recently, “people are reading more today than ever before, it just isn’t newspapers, it’s other mediums”. His point was from a discussion we were having about the necessity of the radio industry to mature and not fall prey to the same mistakes of newspapers, but his analogy fits here too.

People actually have a thirst for knowledge and are still reading and consuming information at a break-neck pace. Music journalism is still a growing field.

For more ideas and detail check out this article from our blog: How to Start a Music Career Even if You Can’t Sing a Note

Now lets talk about TV.

Becoming a TV producer is still my perfect role. I spent seven years at CNN and another five at Fox primarily as a producer- calling the shots and creating programming from scratch is a dream.

To make it as a TV producer, you have to know your subject matter inside and out – whether it’s politics, local news, sports, weather, entertainment – you are the expert and the staff will always look to you for answers. An ability to see abstract things as they would appear visually is an unusual but necessary trait, a great TV producer can see how something will look on screen before it happens and can adjust the vision.

Getting started usually means a production assistant job. Production assistants are the grunts of the operation, doing a little bit of everything and proving they have the ability to get it done. TV jobs have an urgent pace to them, you are always on deadline. Some people thrive in that world, others wilt.

For more on starting out in TV, check out these additional resources:

How to Make Yourself Marketable in the TV Industry

TV Production Assistant Jobs: How to get Them and What to Expect

Five Skills you Need to Master for Television Jobs

If you have additional suggestions for Lauren, help her out by including them in the comments, and if you’d like to submit a question for an upcoming Entertainment Jobs Q&A you can tweet at us, add it to our LinkedIn group or just put it below in the comment section. We’re always listening…

About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for WorkinSports.com & WorkinEntertainment.com.

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.


  1. Kalen Ruffing says:

    Hi My Name Is Kalen Ruffing I am 24 years old I want to make my own radio host