In May, I graduated from The Hartt School at the University of Hartford with a bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts Management. Here is a collection of what I frequently hear when I tell people what my major is. Music business is a relatively new major and very few universities offer it. Throughout my 4 years of college (and 1 month post-grad) I have found that many people do not take my major seriously. Here are 8 things music business majors are sick of hearing.
- What can you do with that? Actually, a lot of things. Artist management, tour management, booking, concert promotion, music production, stage management, venue management, theatre management, non-profit management, festival management, marketing, public relations, communications, entertainment law. Shall I go on? Just because you do not understand my major, doesn’t mean there are no jobs in my field.
- I didn’t know you could major in that. This didn’t just fall in my lap. I did my research. I have always had a thirst to work in the music industry so I searched for schools that offered it as a major. Not many universities offer music business, so it took me longer to find schools to apply to. My high school guidance counselor and website like CollegeBoard did virtually nothing to help me. It was a challenge, but it was worth it. I made my decision based on my program, because I didn’t want to waste 4 years of college in a major that I would never want to work in.
- Can you manage my band?
Okay, this is usually said by guys who are making an attempt at being flirtatious. There is a time and place for this. If you send me an email, Facebook message, or even a professionally written Twitter DM, I might consider. If you ask me at a bar, club, or on a dating app, the answer is no. I am a professional. Asking me to manage your band is not a pick-up line. Women in this industry have a hard enough time being taken seriously. The last thing we need is people thinking we’re using our career to gain leverage in the dating scene.
- Do you play any instruments? Does it matter? I’m not a performance major. I have dabbled in many instruments, but I have found that it’s not for me. You don’t need to be a musician to work in music. You just need to have a passion for it.
- Oh you must have really bad stage fright. Umm, no. It has nothing to do with that. I didn’t choose my major because I’m too scared to be a performer. I chose my major because I have a passion for music and a skill set for business. People who work in the music industry have to be excellent communicators. The ability to network and negotiate is crucial. Our way of performing is just a different type of performing. This wasn’t my back-up choice because I’m too shy to be a performer.
- So you want to be a professional roadie? Not quite. You do not need to have a college degree in order to be a roadie. I want to manage, innovate, and lead. I fully respect roadies. It’s a lot of hard work and tireless hours on the road. However, it’s not my long-term plan.
- I would have majored in that, but I want to make money. Have you ever heard of Simon Cowell? Brian Epstein? Scooter Braun? Sharon Osbourne? My odds of being successful in my field are the same as your odds in your field. It’s just a different field. The average starting salary for a talent agent is $50,000 to $65,000 and the average salary for a senior-level agent is $200,000 and up. I’m not guaranteed to make those kind of figures, but nobody is. The truth is, there is no such thing as a stable career in this current state of the economy. No matter how good you are at your job, there is always a chance you’ll be laid off due to budget cuts or your job will become obsolete.
- You must have a lot of fun.
Short answer, yes. Long answer, just because I love my major, doesn’t mean it’s easy. I could never imagine doing something for the rest of my life that makes me miserable. I want a career that I am obsessed with. I want to wake up every morning excited about what project I will work on next. I want to be able to make a positive change in the lives of artists and their fans. I love my major and I’m excited to see where my degree takes me.