If you’re trying to break into the music industry, it can seem like an impossible task.
Whether you’re interviewing for getting signed as an artist, or you want to work inside the label as part of the industry, the basic principles are the same.
While it may be hard, it’s not impossible–as long as you follow some simple tips and best practices.
How do you ace your record label interview? Keep reading to find out!
Dress the Part
Just because the music industry is known for the wild styles of its artists, doesn’t mean you can show up in ripped jeans and an old t-shirt.
You may not need a full suit and tie or dress and tights, but you need to meet business casual standards or higher.
It’s always safer to overdress than underdress: you’ll look eager if you’re overdressed but clueless and sloppy if you underdress.
Business casual standards may include a polo shirt or a button-up shirt with no tie, clean slacks, and shoes that are neither sneakers nor work boots. It could also mean a solid-colored dress, or shirt/skirt combo, with either heels or dressy flats.
Don’t wear large swaths of wild patterns like paisley or Hawaiian prints, as that can appear unprofessional.
You don’t need to dress for a wedding, but please don’t look like you showed up to paint the house or go clubbing.
Once you see how everyone else dresses for their jobs, you can adjust your style accordingly.
And remember: this is not the time or place to show off your stage costume.
And while we’re on the subject of showing up, late is never fashionable.
Being late is the same as disrespecting someone else’s time.
In any business, people have plenty of things to do, and wasting their time doesn’t make them happy.
Be more than punctual--be early.
You never know if the appointment before yours will end early.
Wouldn’t you like to be the person that helped them get ahead of their schedule instead of behind?
If they feel less pressed for time during the interview, they may be more at ease and give you more consideration.
Little things like dressing nice, being polite, and arriving early can set the tone for the entire interview.
Such positivity could make the difference between acceptance and rejection.
Remember, the world owes you nothing, and neither does the record label.
You’re there to trade your talents for their money.
Just like you, they want a good deal.
What are you offering? How will you help their company or add to their repertoire?
With this in mind, be confident, but not arrogant.
You have something of value to offer, and it’s fine to be proud of your achievements as long as you keep your bragging in check.
All of your communications, whether by phone, email, or in person, should reflect this professionalism.
If you are interviewing as a musician, have your press kit handy in printed form.
A hard copy demo CD is a great thing to have.
State your qualifications or music history plainly.
Don’t put yourself down to sound falsely humble, but don’t boast about your greatness, either.
Just be yourself, plain and simple. Be realistic.
Know what you have to offer and what you’re willing to accept in the way of compensation.
If you find that the position or the label is not for you, walk away.
But do so politely. Don’t burn any bridges, because you never know what the future holds.
Know Your Business
Do your research before walking into an interview.
Do an internet search for these questions, and make sure you know the answers:
- What genre does the label typically represent?
- What are some of their latest successes?
- What artists do they work with?
Don’t rattle off a list of memorized facts, but do become knowledgeable about the label you want to join.
Knowing about the industry you want to be a part of is a big plus.
Be enthusiastic. This is your passion, remember?
If it’s not, someone who wants the job more than you do, and shows it, will probably get it.
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