Music Venue Owners and Managers
There are thousands of music venues, from small clubs to stadium arenas, located all over the country. Large metropolitan areas such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago have the most opportunities to break into the music management business, but these jobs can also be the hardest to get. Management positions in small towns may be fewer, but the competition for positions will not be as fierce.
Graduates of programs in music facility management usually find jobs through internships, from career services departments.
Keep in mind that the jobs of general manager (and especially club owner) are not entry level. Managers might start out in other positions within the music venue and work their way up to a management position. Other managers and owners move into the music business after first working in other industries. For example, a business manager with a background and passion for music might decide to give up the corporate world to operate or purchase a music club.
Experience and certification are the best ways for someone to advance within the ranks of music venue management. Years of successful, on-the-job experience count for a great deal in this industry. Club owners look for managers who have demonstrated the ability to run a venue smoothly and profitably. Certification is another way in which success can be gauged. Since certification goes hand-in-hand with experience, it is assumed that those individuals who are certified are the best in the field.
Beyond experience and certification, a willingness and eagerness to adapt to music trends and branch out into new areas is another important factor affecting advancement. The most successful managers and owners are willing to embrace new sounds as well as changing technology that will improve the operation of their clubs.
Club managers advance by moving to larger clubs with bigger budgets and more popular bands. Owners advance their careers by running successful, profitable businesses.
Tips for Entry
Try to land part-time or summer jobs as stagehands, ushers, waiters, bartenders, or other positions at theaters, outdoor music festivals, and other venues to make industry contacts and obtain experience.
Read FMJ: Facility Management Journal (https://www.ifma.org/publications/fmj-magazine) and Facility Manager and Front Row News blog (both available at https://www.iavm.org) to learn more about the field.
Visit https://jobnet.ifma.org for job listings.
Talk to music venue owners and managers about their careers. Ask them for advice on breaking into the field.