L. Polliaki asks:
For people wanting to start out in the music industry, what is the best entry? I know individuals who have made it by starting out working the xerox or mail room in the movie or television business offices. Music seems different, especially if you want to be a performer. I know one person made it by putting a video on YouTube of his work and someone in the music industry saw and launched him.
The best way to start a career in the entertainment industry is to begin at rock bottom. This usually means with an internship at an established company while you are still in school. Most major companies have internship programs, first because its a way to contribute to the future of the business; and secondly because its free labor. Whatever the motivation of the company, the advantage to beginners is enormous.
The most common source of future executive talent is the mail room at the major talent agencies. More highly placed business careers begin here than emanate from any other single source. Access to the agent trainee programs is very difficult. College graduation, and often advanced degrees are mandatory. The major broadcast networks and movie studios have similar programs.
For artists starting out the road is actually easier. All you have to do is pick up an instrument and start playing music. Your chances of succeeding are doubled if you write your own songs. Create some copyrights and start performing them in front of a mirror in your room. As soon as you are ready to demonstrate your talents move into the parlor and see how your family reacts. If they laugh and walk away, go back to your room for more reharsal.
Native talent and technical skills are not the same for all aspirants. However, any craft can be learned and practice is the key to improving your abilities. There are no guarantees that your best efforts will produce the results you hope for. Too many young artists are motivated by fame and fortune and that is usually not enough to create a viable presence in the professional arena.The most successful artists are motivated by a passionate need to make music and a vision that honors the art form.
The Internet makes it easy to participate, and low cost digital recording gives everyone a chance. If a new act makes a record and posts it on his MySpace.com page and logs a video on YouTube.com, he can get a foot in the door. A commitment to live performing and viral marketing can improve the odds. If you have "it" the public will discover you and spread the word. Only ten percent of the contenders will survive. One percent will make ninety percent ofthe money.