what backup degree is most applicable to a career in the music industry?

pt3407

Senior Member
I want to get a backup degree. I'm not giving up my dream to make music my career, but I don't want to get a degree in music. I will regret it if I don't at least try and see what it's like to work in the music industry as a drummer. What degree would be most applicable or helpful to me achieving the goal of making a living in music? There would also be the added benefit in the case that I need a day job, I could get something that would pay much better than minimum wage.

I was thinking of getting a bachelor of commerce degree with a specialization in finance but I wanted to know what my options are before I actually apply for any programs. Thanks
 

beatdat

Senior Member
Consider a law degree.

It’ll give you a good foundation for a lot of the non-music aspects related to the music industry (eg. contracts, negotiations, dispute resolution, finance, insurance, etc.).

But, one of the best benefits is you’ll probably meet (and learn to work with) one of the most diverse group of people you can imagine.

It’s also a great stepping-stone if you decide to change careers.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
Much depends on your own interests.

You might find that jobs are different from what they appear to be. For example, accounting might appeal to you in school, but when you actually get an accounting job they might treat you badly, the office has no air conditioning, they want you to answer the phones as if you were a receptionist, and blame you for customer complaints.
 

Mighty_Joker

Silver Member
Business Management will help in so many ways in and out of music. :D
this is the answer. Professional musicians are business people whose primary product is their instrumental skill. After ten years in this industry, I am just as much businessman as drummer. I have to to survive.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
If I were to have a side-gig while drumming as a pro (touring, studio work, jingles, etc.) I would learn HTML, Wordpress and php and code web sites and HTML emails for clients. It’s something that can be done anywhere there’s an internet connection.

And if you don’t know basic biz principles, you will by providing coding for the gen pop. Heh.
 

Trigger

Senior Member
If I were to have a side-gig while drumming as a pro (touring, studio work, jingles, etc.) I would learn HTML, Wordpress and php and code web sites and HTML emails for clients. It’s something that can be done anywhere there’s an internet connection.

And if you don’t know basic biz principles, you will by providing coding for the gen pop. Heh.
Yep, or graphic/digital design.
 

SVBJECT

Well-known member
Consider a law degree.

It’ll give you a good foundation for a lot of the non-music aspects related to the music industry (eg. contracts, negotiations, dispute resolution, finance, insurance, etc.).

But, one of the best benefits is you’ll probably meet (and learn to work with) one of the most diverse group of people you can imagine.

It’s also a great stepping-stone if you decide to change careers.
I'd go with this - the law is useful always. Just knowing how to sound like you know what your on about scares most people. It wont help your music, it will help your life, and therefore in turn music.

this is the answer. Professional musicians are business people whose primary product is their instrumental skill. After ten years in this industry, I am just as much businessman as drummer. I have to to survive.
Second option - business. Or some accounting type thing that is useful in the professional working environment outside of music, but will still very much help run your music admin type stuff.

If I were to have a side-gig while drumming as a pro (touring, studio work, jingles, etc.) I would learn HTML, Wordpress and php and code web sites and HTML emails for clients. It’s something that can be done anywhere there’s an internet connection.

And if you don’t know basic biz principles, you will by providing coding for the gen pop. Heh.
This would be my 3rd recommendation, Someway to present what you do, whatever you do music or other, to the world. Tree forest no on hears and all that.

Full disclosure. I did a music degree :rolleyes:
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
Accounting...
(If I had actually followed this advice I may never have invested so much money in drums and cymbals).
 
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DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I have a degree in Business Administration with a focus in Finance. I later got a 2nd focus in Accounting.

I thought it would be useful for when my band sold millions of records to understand record company statements.

I figured worse comes to worse, I could get a job working for a record company or music instrument manufacturer.

But without selling millions 1st, it's kind of useless.

First off, millions of people have a business degree. They are a dime a dozen. Just look at job hiring ads, and you'll see job after job that requires a business degree but only pay $15/hr.

If/when a great job does open up, you're just one of hundreds of applicants. And then you're up against those for whom this isn't a 2nd choice, who have tons of experience because they interned at this and that place, working 12-14 hour days 6-7 days a week.

Most financial and accounting companies that are willing to hire people with little to no experience want an extreme commitment and don't offer much in pay. And they get away with it because there is always a steady stream of people with business degrees.

Law: Now, this is good advice. Every transaction in music usually has an agreement for contract, and all have to reviewed by a lawyer. Music business lawyers can make really good money and keep a foot in the music business.


The downside if getting a law degree takes an incredible commitment. First you need a degree just to qualify for law school. Then you have to have to test to qualify for post graduate school. Then you need to be accepted into law school. Then you finally get around to studying law. So between college (4 years) and law school (3 years) you’re looking at being in school for 7 years. And that’s if you focus. If you’re just doing this part time in between gigs, now you’re talking longer.

If I had to do it all over again I think I would have skipped college and gone to a trade school and learned everything I could about being an electrician.

Every music rehearsal venue, live venue, and recording studio needs electricity, and a knowledge of how to keep circuits and loads balance. You can’t just plug in a bunch of amps, lights, and computer equipment into a wall, or else you’ll blow a circuit.

Designing/building studios/venues is an option.

Every large touring band needs someone on staff who understands the electrical loads, balancing and grounding.

Large band tour riders all specify electrical needs. All those lights, lasers, sound equipment, amps, etc, need not just power, but a proper balance of power.

The whole Van Halen green MM’s story came from the band testing to see if the venue read the rider for the electrical needs of the band.

Watch the Iron Maiden documentary, and when the band is on the road in different countries, particularly outside the US and Western Europe, having enough power and enough balanced power comes up as a concern of the road crew.

The scene in “Almost Famous” where one of the band members gets shocked because the stage wasn’t properly grounded comes from a real concern that road crews have to take into account.

And if none of that sounds appealing, a music city like Los Angeles has millions of old homes with old electrical components that need repair. There is always a need for qualified labor. I know a guy who is a brilliant guitar player and supports himself as a self-employed electrician. I hired him to wire my 1st studio and then again for some other work. There is no shortage of need for an electrician for residential work.

The bigger paying union jobs are hard to get, but that’s not keeping a foot in the music business anyway, so that’s not a concern.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
my dad gave me the best advice ever about what kid of degree to get:

he said, "make sure that whatever you do, that is makes you happy. No amount of money is going to matter if you hate going to your job every day. And you spend more time at your job than anything else. And that can directly affect your home life."

my dad made ok money, but absolutely hated his job, and it showed. HHe lways said he would never wish that part of his life on anyone.

Honestly right now, I would go into a trade...as mentioned above, there are many degrees that are a dime a dozen, but the trades are where bbig money is at...because a lot of those people with degrees don't know anything about home repair/car repair etc...I work with tons of people who will gladly pay $75-100 per hour for someone to unclog their sink, or fix a running toilet, or put a light fixture in

I have considered learning to weld in the past 4 or 5 years. Mostly so I can fix my bikes when I break them,,,but there have also been millions of times where I wished I could have fabricated something to use at home or school...
 

Neal Pert

Well-known member
I'd learn a trade-- specifically one where I could easily be my own boss. You can make good money and hey-- if you need to go out on the road, just don't take any jobs for a few weeks. So, yeah-- carpentry, plumbing, electrical, etc.
 
Chiming in to say I fourth the suggestion of going the trade route. A blog I follow is mainly run by attorneys and they've been writing for years about how there are far more law school grads than there are positions for them. Meanwhile, a friend of mine had to get a plumber to come out late one evening...on Thanksgiving. He thought it'd be impossible but a guy was there in an hour. Turns out the plumber—this was in San Diego—was a serious surfer. So while he was a fully certified plumber, he only worked when he wanted, which was exactly opposite of the times most plumbers wanted to work, and volunteered to cover holidays and such. So by working part-time he was able to live exactly the life he wanted. My then 45-year-old friend asked if it was too late for him to learn how to become a plumber.
 

SharkSandwich

Junior Member
"What I'd tell any kid in high school is, 'Take business classes.' I don't care what else you're gonna do; if you're gonna do art or anything, take business classes. You can say, 'Well, I don't want to get commercial,' but if you do anything to make any money, you're doing something commercial." - Axl Rose
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
It’s always been amazing to me that students would ask what they should major in without looking first into what makes a steady and hopefully lucrative income. That joke about Jim, who trained in electrical, cutting the power to Fred, who got a doctorate in something that doesn’t pay, isn’t really a joke.

Its already been said, but we need tradespeople. I know a kid who out of high school got HVAC training and started with a company making $80k a year. Same thing with plumbers and other electricians. The attraction to that framed diploma on your wall is puzzling sometimes.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Seriously, just think about what you actually want to do and major in that. When you inevitably wash out of music because you weren't fully committed, you don't want to be stuck in some field you actually hate, but you thought it would help your music career. Not trying to be harsh, that's just reality. You really can't get into this with one eye on the exit and expect to succeed on any level.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
Seriously, just think about what you actually want to do and major in that. When you inevitably wash out of music because you weren't fully committed, you don't want to be stuck in some field you actually hate, but you thought it would help your music career. Not trying to be harsh, that's just reality. You really can't get into this with one eye on the exit and expect to succeed on any level.

I didn't want to be the one to say it, but this ^^^^.
Whatever you do that you think will keep you close to music, really won't - if you consider music to be performing.
So just do something else that you like to do.

I think pt3407 is confusing two separate issues.
 
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