Looking for a career in country music, but not sure if you have what it takes? If you love the sound and vibe of country, there are plenty of career options available. Like any career that has some prestige and glamour attached, landing a position can be competitive, but with some focused preparation, you should find something in the field.
College is Key
While the world is full of artists that didn’t earn undergraduate degrees, the people who handle the business end of things need to have a deep understanding of both business and the industry. If you are concerned about affording college, consider taking out student loans with a private lender. The rates make doing so affordable, and you can use a calculator to estimate what your expenses will be once you start making payments after you graduate.
When choosing a college, think of the opportunities you can gain from your choice. In an industry that is concentrated in one area of the country, such as country music, attending a school in the area sets you up for internships, career exploration, and networking opportunities that you would miss out on in another area. Regardless of where you attend college, seek out the local music scene. Picking up a part-time job as a concert promoter or helping set up for shows at the local venue, no matter how small, gives you real-world experience to add to your resume.
What to Study
The thing to remember about working in country music is that it is an industry just like any other. The companies need people who work in human resources, sales, marketing, and communications. Of course, if you want to be closely involved in the process, there are a few majors that train you for that purpose. If you are drawn to marketing, you could find work as a publicist. You would work with the media and concert venues to promote shows and releases. A degree in marketing would also qualify you to work as a booking agent. You would handle many of the details involved in making sure live performances go off without a hitch.
If you want to work in management, either for tours or artists, a general business background is good training. You will need to be comfortable reviewing contracts, organizing and scheduling projects with multiple moving parts, and working with a wide range of people. For those with a strong musical background, studying music production allows you to work as a recording engineer, music producer, or another one of the teams responsible for putting albums together.
Landing an internship during your college years is an effective way to make your entrance into the music industry. The on-the-job training and connections you make will make it easier to find a job after graduation. If you aren’t able to land an internship, finding a job after graduation will require serious networking. If you are sure this is the career path for you, it makes sense to relocate to an area such as Nashville, where many country artists, labels, and supporting industries are located.