Making Music vs. Owning A Fridge

By Manny Yupa


End game.

I want to work in music. Preferably making it, though we all know that there’s no money in the industry unless you’re Taylor Swift, Dave Grohl, or the copyright holder of the Beatles discography. I could talk about music for hours and spend even longer creating it, but I also want a roof over my head and food in my fridge.

Also, I want a fridge.

So how am I supposed to reconcile my desire to work in something lacking money, yet still make money?

First, I tried out interning at whatever music­-related place that would take me. At one unnamed record label, I either packaged records or worked alongside construction crew to build the new office. Besides the fact that the latter was probably illegal, I wasn’t enjoying it– I quit within a few weeks. That fall, though, someone mentioned the Public Relations major after they noticed me handling PR duties for an old band of mine (someone had to do it). After trying out different options, I eventually realized that I liked PR way more than my then­-major, Communication Disorders, and that I didn’t entirely suck at it. I’ll graduate this spring as a PR major.

One great advantage of this major is that you can literally work anywhere that either has a PR department or is a PR firm. You can even do freelance work, as I began doing earlier this year under the name NativeMovement PR, assisting those in the music world. Looks can be deceiving– real world PR is much more difficult than college lets on, but it also offers plenty of opportunities to meet and get to know interesting people. Since a large part of your job is to connect with people, networking just happens. Best of all, I’d found a way to work in music while still making money.

By the next summer, I had taken full advantage of my new major and things looked up. Stemming from an in-class assignment, I met and starting touring with a popular indie producer. I became a PR intern at Mexican Summer, which is both a great label and a great place to intern– maybe even work one day. Moreover, I was finally making money without working menial jobs for minimum wage.

Though there was a learning curve and a lot of hard work for me to get through, I was finally going places in a field that I could someday turn into a career…which is a good thing, as I essentially spend all of my time listening to, reading about, talking about, and even making music. All of this happened because I simply explored different options until I found one that combined my dream with a money-­making career. Making music still doesn’t pay, but least I get to do what I love without giving up my dream of someday owning a fridge.

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