Foundations of a Successful Career in the Music Industry | Orondé Jenkins | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Foundations of a Successful Career in the Music Industry

teacher avatar Orondé Jenkins, Artist, Consultant, Autodidact

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Figure Out Why You Want It


    • 3.

      Build Your Knowledge Pool


    • 4.

      Learn Your Niche


    • 5.



    • 6.

      Be Open To Unexpected Possibilities


    • 7.

      Stay True To Yourself


    • 8.



  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

This course will give you the foundation to build a successful career in the music industry.

Whether you're a recording artist looking to get your music out there, a manager looking for the next Beyoncé, or a future label executive looking for their first industry job, the tips and tricks discussed in this class will help you navigate the highs and the lows of the post-Napster music industry.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Orondé Jenkins

Artist, Consultant, Autodidact


Oronde Jenkins is a licensing administrator for Warner Music Group, multidisciplinary artist and media consultant, and founder of the websites and Equally proficient in both the business and creative worlds, he specializes in a mixture of areas that can help take your project to the next level.

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: people pursue the music industry for one of the following reasons for the fame fortune for the love of the craft, Regardless of what your reasoning is, it's important that you prepare yourself for the journey. Once people see what it takes to survive in this industry, they then have to decide if it's worth it or not. My name is a Randy Jenkins, and I've been in the music industry for about 10 years. I spent the last 7.5 is a licensing administrator for a major record label. In addition to my work as a creative consultant and content creator, there may needed from ways to make money in this industry. You just have to know who you are, why you want it on what your goals are. You should also be open to discovering what other talents you may have. Final project. I want you guys to imagine that I'm the hiring manager for your perfect position. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to pitch yourself to me in 150 words or less. I should know by the end of your pitch who you are, what your perfect position is why you want it on what you bring to the table. That's different from every other person that wants that gig. This industry is unapologetically cutthroat and will cheer you up and spit you out if you let it. Having a strong foundation will allow you to understand the industry and navigated successfully. That's what this class is about. 2. Figure Out Why You Want It: welcome to the first session of foundations of a successful career in the music industry. I know that's a bit of a mouthful, but it's exactly what this class is about. It takes a lot of patience and persistence to survive in this industry. You don't take a lot of blood, sweat and tears. If there's anything else that you could do on this Earth, do that seriously. The music industry is kind of like a chess game on a fault line there. So much money in the music industry in the eighties and nineties and then boom, Napster and other peer to peer networks obliterated the industry. While we've bounced back. For the most part, record sales are not even a fraction of what they once were. So it all comes back down to the question. Why do you want it? Why a career in the music industry, if you're looking for fame, there much easier ways to achieve it. Most people seeking fame through music will never find it. And if you do ultimately attain fame, are you prepared to handle everything that comes with that famous a drug with a high, more powerful than the strongest form of ecstasy, you have flashing lights via P treatment. Red Carpets magazine covers people knowing your name on the street with that life. Also comes loss of privacy, tabloids and paparazzi, fabricating stories about your life and the increased likelihood that those close to you will betray you. In addition, famed is not equal money. What you see in magazines as a result of lighting, makeup and Photoshopped, the fancy clothes, the jewelry, the cars the houses mostly usually rented or borrowed their managers, publicists, journalists and the media cultivating the story that you see your favorite singer could very likely be sleeping on somebody's couch. Are you in search of riches? Hate to break it to you, but again, record sales in the toilet. The market is completely over saturated, and most labels are consolidating and signing fewer artists. We won't even mention how messed up some label contracts can be, mostly because I'd like to keep my job. There's money to be had, but again, it takes hard work in strategy. You have licensing people like myself attorneys, managers, booking agents, people in marketing, branding, styling so on and so forth. We're not living extravagant lives, but we're comfortable. There are also thousands of touring musicians and background singers that you may never see in the media, probably making more money than the artists themselves. There are also the exceptions to the rule. Like Max Martin, he's been making top 40 hits since the nineties is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But I couldn't pick him out of a lineup. Are you in it because you have a love for the craft? You have a fighting chance, but just know that success is not guaranteed, depending on what career path you choose. It may not necessarily always be about the music managers or task more with building relationships and getting their artists out there. Publishers deal more with contracts and licenses and e mails, and and our executives are looking mawr for pop hits than good music. Remember, it's called the music business. None of this is to dissuade you from your passion, but rather give you a dose of reality. This industry is consistently changing and evolving, and even veterans in the game have no idea what's next. And I personally know people who have abandoned it altogether. You have to be absolutely certain that this is the life you want in order to have any chance and thriving in the chaos. Still with me. Good. Let's move on to step two. Building your knowledge pool. 3. Build Your Knowledge Pool: all right, This is step to building your knowledge pool there many different aspects of the music industry outside of being an artist, you know, you have every position and a record label you have Brandon, you have marketing, you have production, you have music publishers. You have sink licensing firms. You have attorneys, business managers, public relations, marketing, advertising So on and so forth. There many different ways to survive in this industry. Yes, it all starts with song, but it'll in there without the other elements to get it to the public. Do your research, study the lives of people you look up to for me. When I was growing up, it was Ronnie Jerkins and Timberline. Then it became David Foster Quincy Jones, people who have survived the highs and lows of this industry and have succeeded. If you're songwriter analyzed music, see what formats work best with what genres study the credits and see who's writing these pop hits. If you're recording artists, study voices, make sure you have a vocal coach. Make sure that you are doing everything that you can to preserve your instrument. This could include going to school for entertainment business. This could include going to law school. This could mean reading books about the music industry. This could be you watching YouTube videos about your craft. All of it is entirely up to you in your desire to succeed internships. Yeah, it's free labor, but you also learn the ins and outs of what that job entails. The knowledge and experience that you will pick up at an internship far outweigh the lack of income. Most will require you to be in school, but some don't. The internship I got when I first moved out to L. A was with a composer. I had already graduated, but yet he still took me on and I was there For almost two years. I had a full time job and was still interning there. It's all about your passion, but then again, I've also had terrible internships. But you live and you learn some will suck. Some will be awesome. You just have to get out there, make mistakes and grow and learn. Even if you end up just getting coffee from day to day, pay attention to every piece of information that your purview to While you're in that atmosphere, take every test seriously because you never know what it could lead to. I've witnessed several of our interns get higher. Before the internship was over. Read the trades. It's important that you know what's going on in your industry. What companies are hiring, whose downsizing when new technology is on the horizon, who went out of business, who took their place. These are all pertinent things to know, and being on top of these will give you a leg up moral of the story. Never stop learning. Always continue to grow. Always seek new information. It's gonna take hard work and dedication. But I know you're up for it. So get up, get out and get into it. Yes, that wasn't Tevin Campbell reference. 4. Learn Your Niche: Step three. Learning your niche. What do you bring to the table that separates you from the pack? Is it your hard work ethic, your ability to recognize or create trends? Your ability to bring people together, your ability to motivate people? It's OK if you don't know what that is yet. Keep working at it until you do. One of my biggest traits is finding a solution to the problem and breaking it down to its simplest form. I've had conversations with young artists who didn't know what they wanted to do. But just in talking with them and pulling out the key words, I was able to figure out what ultimately they were going for and then set them down that path. I'm also good at connecting people. So if I know somebody who needs a photographer I know photographer. If I know somebody who is looking for a music supervisor or a video director, if I know somebody who does that, well, I'm gonna connect them. What is it that you're good at? What is it that you bring to the table that no one else can? Once you know what that skill is become the best at it. Take classes, read tutorials, study YouTube videos, go to school. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. You only fail if you give up. It's okay if you have multiple things that you're really good at, However, it may be best for you to master one at a time. Being a jack of all trades and a master of none is a fast Pasto working at Starbucks. Not that there's anything wrong working at Starbucks, but you don't want to be a 45 year old rapper making my coffee. Once you've mastered something, continue involving in it. If you're a great Army songwriter, branch in the country, electronica or folk, If you are a master hip hop producer, try a little rock n roll. If you're pro on the creative side, try learning the business side. Don't completely abandon your roots, but don't box yourself into them. Knowledge is power Me personally. When I came to L. A. I was gung ho on being a songwriter producer. Two years later, I found out I could sink so cultivated that throughout high school I dabbled in graphic design and photography, and now I'm at a place where I've cultivated each of them individually so that when someone needs me to put that hat on, I can go forth. But it took me mastering those skills day in and day out. The key to surviving in the music industry is learning what separates you from the pack and cultivating that trait. 5. Networking: networking. It's a myth that it's not about what you know, but who you know. In reality. It's not about who you know but who knows you and who knows what you do. And if you do it well, there are a lot of gigs that I've gotten just from people referring me. I did graphic design in college. I still do it on occasion now, but I still get referrals from Chicago. I haven't lived there in eight years. Make sure you have business cards, so when you go to these different networking events, you can give them your information. Don't just say, find me on Facebook. I'm your linked in. They're not going to, but they have your physical card there, remember? Oh yeah, I should go check this guy out. You know, I should look at this girl's website, which is another point. You should really have a website your first last name dot com if it's still available, even if it's just a splash, pay saying this is who I am. This is how you get in contact with me that can put you leagues above everybody else. Social media is also important to have a Facebook and Twitter page. Or, you know, Instagram attend workshops and conferences in your field, meet people that are also rising in the industry. Build relationships, genuine relationships. Don't just contact people when you need something from them. Check up one People. Make sure that they're doing okay when you go to these different events, even if it's just a show and you meet somebody or even if it's lunch and you just spark up a conversation with somebody. Firm handshakes look them in the eye and genuine interest in what they're talking about so that they know that you're a good person. There are a lot of talented people out here who can't get work because they're difficult to work with, and at the same time, there are a lot of people who aren't the best at what they do. But they have a genuine good outlook on life, and people want to be around them. Can you work well with others? Everything else can be figured out. Don't make promises you can't keep. A lot of people have gotten jobs just because they follow through on the word. If you know it's something that you can't do, even If that could mean the difference between you getting a check or not, people will respect you a lot more and they will circle back to you. If they know that they can trust you on your word. They're more likely to come back to you for more and more work more than the story. It's not about what you know. It's not about who you know, but it's about who knows you All in all, networking is a bit of a game, but if you play it right, it's half the battle. 6. Be Open To Unexpected Possibilities: be open toe, unexpected possibilities. What we originally set out to do with our careers is not necessarily what we're meant to do with our lives and high school. I wanted to be the next Rodney Jerkins produce music sign and talent stunning at the Grammys. My reasons for wanting that life were based in good intentions. Music had gotten me through some really dark times, and I wanted to do that. For others, however, my motivation was purely material. In reality, I wanted the money in the cars and the houses and the girls. What I didn't know back then that I realized now is one have no patience for chasing or baby sitting elusive artists. The politics of placing records to me is completely emotionally and mentally draining. And three, If I had stuck to that original dream, I'd be completely disillusioned. Whether it had happened or not. All the money in the world won't matter if you're unhappy. I fell in love with the business side of the music industry while I was in college, and it's there that I discovered one of my purposes, which is to help others avoid the pitfalls of this industry. Also realize that I can make a living on the business side while still cultivating my creative side. I proceeded with this revelation in mind, and I'm happier now than ever because of it. Discovering your purposes more fulfilling than any dream you could have ever had. You may want to be a rapper, but you really skilled at marketing. You may want to be a producer, but you're really skilled it writing. You may want to be the next puffy, but you're better suited as a David Foster. You may be average at audio engineering but brilliant at scheduling. Don't be so stuck on your dream that you miss your purpose. Take a step back and analyze your dreams. If your intentions appear, you do it for free. If you're reasons are materialistic, it will never be enough. 7. Stay True To Yourself: last but not least, stay true to yourself. This industry can entice you with the promise of fame and fortune. But behind the flashing lights is a cutthroat business. The early you recognize the game for what it is, the quicker you can adjust and successfully navigated. Ah, huge major label artist wants to cut your song, but only if you give up 20% of the publishing rights. You'd be surprised how often this happens in this case you have tow, weigh the pros and cons and decide what your next move is. Keep in mind that 80% of a $1,000,000 is worth more than 100% of nothing. As I've said before, this industry is like a game of chess in the same way you would lose a rooker a night to check your opponent. There may be times where you have to give up something in order to get what you want. For $99 a month, we will pitch your music. You're just throwing $100 that somebody for nothing. It become across the service that says Hey, will picture music to X y Z, but we need $500 up front, it's probably a trap. Most think licensing firms take a percentage off top. They don't take ah, flat fee on the flipside. They're things that should never, ever be entertained, for example, and this is purely hypothetical because I've never witnessed this personally. If someone offers you a deal in exchange for sexual favors or for illegal purposes as a trap, do not get involved on a surface level. Consenting to something like that automatically diminishes your credibility, how others see you and most likely won't even end up in a deal. On a deeper level, this would open the door to all sorts of psychological, emotional and possibly physical damage to you and your family, not to mention the career that you want it. Yes, turning down that deal could have some consequences. You still don't have a deal. That executive could blackball you, however, would it have been worth it? If you're thinking about that, the answer's no. The answer is no moral of the story. Despite everything, you should never compromise your integrity. No amount of acclaim or accolades is worth your soul. As long as you stay true to yourself and your craft and gifting everything else will fall into place. 8. Conclusion: you have come to the end of foundations of a successful career in the music industry. I hope you enjoyed what we've talked about. I hope you've taken notes that certain things have hit home for you. And I hope that you continue on flourishing and growing and becoming who you were meant to be in this industry may look like I'm 12 but I've been employed by this industry for over eight years. And the one thing that I've noticed between people who sustained a career in the industry and those who fail is their willingness to give. You know, we are not our occupation. You know, when you have a crabs in a barrel mentality, you will sink to the bottom and you'll never get out of the barrel. But if you understand that their strength in numbers and that you rise together and that sharing your information will enrich you just as much as it enriches the person that you're giving it to, then you will see success. No, forget to submit your projects by the end of each pitch us. You know who you are, what your perfect position is, what your goals are. On what separates you from the pack. These are things that are important to note to survive in this industry. I've seen a thing or two. I've seen people come and go and my goal for this class is for each of you to have that strong foundation that you can build a successful career on. Thanks for watching and good luck.