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Music Business & Audio Engineering
School Student Loans & Education – part 1
RMP Question 408
page 1 - page 2


Dear RMP,


I need some advice about my school situation.


I'm in the recording arts program right now and I graduate in August, but I’m more interested in the business side of the industry. Originally I was going to stay for another 10 months after graduation so I can receive my bachelors in music business, but I’m not sure if it’s worth it. I already have $60,000 in school student loans and I would have to take out another $40,000 for the bachelors!


So my question is should I invest another $40,000 for school, or should I just come back to Atlanta (the city is booming right now) and just get connected with people in the business?

pro tools mixing console for music production

Well, this is a tough question.


$60,000 in school loans is a lot of money, and to add another $40,000… well, that makes it even a tougher decision.


You know, you started this question out with saying that you are more interested in the business side of the music industry.  So, I am assuming that even though you have taken the Recording Arts program, you eventually see yourself not behind a recording console, but possibly behind a desk in a nice office (or chauffer driven limo J)… running a successful music business venture for yourself or some other Entertainment company.


I personally believe that having a great education, and the knowledge and credentials that come with that education can help position you later on in your career…. when it comes down to someone else having to make a decision on whether or not to hire you.  Of course, a degree can’t compare to real-world experience and networking in this industry…. But, that piece of paper (and the knowledge that you’re suppose to have when you receive that degree) CAN help you find more opportunities for a job.  Plus, you might wake up one morning and decide you want to work for entertainment companies like Time Warner or Marvel… or maybe even some TV/Film Company, and that bachelors degree will definitely look good on your resume.  If I were considering hiring anyone to run my business, that candidate’s education might possibly come into play.  My GM at Music Powers just started back to school to get his business degree, and my best friend and business partner at C2itMedia is back in school studying marketing…even though she has already been doing marketing for many major artists and labels since 1999.


My best advice is for you to take a “time-out” one day soon… sit down with a piece of paper and write down a little map or plan of where you would like to be in your music business career 5 years from today, and then 10 years.  If the final job destination or goal says that you will need a degree, then by all means… make a plan that “includes” getting it at some point.  Also, ask God for a little wisdom to help you decide on the right path. 


A Music Business degree will not make you the next Clive Davis, Ron Fair, Sean Combs, or Simon Fuller. Those types of successes come from drive, determination, vision, and enough heart and “guts” to walk the path…not just know the path. It also requires a LOT of people believing in what you do. And although that $100k “learning-the-path” approach sounds like a lot a money (and it is), it’s really nothing in the big picture of what you stand to make ($) by achieving your goals, being successful…and most of all – being happy with whatever you are doing.
Now - as far as Atlanta goes, yes, it is booming right now… but the new music industry is more global than ever before because of the Internet. Maybe you should take at least a little time to come here to meet more people in the industry, network, and possibly even find an internship or gig. Interning can be worth more than the $100k education, and actually be priceless if you get in the right situation. But, whatever you decide, make a plan…and have enough courage to follow it through. As you walk your plan out, observe the people who are successful: listen more than speak; make friends; …and push yourself to be great at what YOU do. That will take you a LONG ways in this business.  

Whatever you choose - I wish you nothing but great fortune and blessings with whatever decision you make. 


Take care – respectfully yours,

C. Cirocco Jones

Producer, Engineer, Publisher

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