The music industry is an interesting landscape to navigate. In the last 8 months I have met with a great many companies in the industry from EMI to Warner, from Amazon to some well-reputed independent shops large and small. I’ve met with ad agency contacts who need music, have done music marketing consulting, and interviewed for jobs. To top it off I have started my own independent music publisher and began producing my first artists this month. There are flaws everywhere in the music industry – some companies are aware of them and some are not. Some actively work to try to right their course, while others live it up in the old ways. The flaws are usually how they approach business development.
Many companies are greatly focused on themselves. How much value they have, what they’re worth, how cool they are. Others are starting to realize that their ways are the old ways. I have been writing for years about how the industry needs to change and needs a different approach. Most of the adjustments have to do with a loss of focus on their clients. Sooner or later, the client gets what they want. Someone supplies that demand. Simple.
Right now, the majors are STILL in a state of flux. Some are hiring more MBAs (which I think is a good first step because MBAs better understand the value of the client relationship) and ousting their old leadership. But knowing how the majors function, there’s a long way to go and it will take a long time to get there. And even when they arrive, will their relationships be salvageable?
Independents are all over the place. While they may definitely have a client focus, some may still be operating in the old music industry. Some are lead by stereo-typical creative personalities who may not understand how effective great business development and client relationship skills can be. Their hiring processes may be less defined and therefore makes it hard to attract top talent or find the right fit for their company.
For all these reasons if you find yourself applying for a job in the music industry it is important to be highly diligent in ANY meeting preparations. Whether it’s an interview, a freelance opportunity, or a gig. Have an idea of what problems the company is looking to solve BEFORE you show up. Prepare material that’s relevant to their needs and request to meet with heads of departments at companies BEFORE there are job openings (digging up a CEO or VP’s email is very easy).
If you really are a cut above the rest, show up with the ammunition to blow them away. There are a TON of problems to solve in the industry and the well-prepared can capitalize on the all of the great opportunities.