Experience combined with education indicates how dedicated someone is in any profession. Even at the peak of your career, continued education will only provide more exposure, strengthen your network, and give you a competitive edge amongst any other candidate in your playing field. Why not go back to school?
Zoë Young made the decision a few months ago to expand her knowledge in the music industry. After enjoying a ten-year career spent developing and breaking French Montana, DDG, Trina, Blac Youngsta, and other superstar talent, this successful A&R is going back for her 5th degree. This time she is pursuing her Masters in Music Business at the University of Miami. In the article, she explains that through higher levels of education in her field, she can learn the full 360-degrees of the industry and ultimately help more artists break into the industry and advance their careers.
Zoë says that when she first considered going back to school, she had the doubts you’d expect. “I was doing very well in my career. I was developing and breaking some hit artists, I had established a large network of people who respected my work, and really, everything was flowing as I wanted it to. People kept asking why would I want to pause that by studying for my master’s degree?”
She explains that it came down to the vision she has for her life. “I want to empower more creatives to take charge of their content, share it with the world, and monetize it. Launching A&R University will help more artists get the competitive advantage they need in order to make it in a very tough business. I have plenty of industry experience to draw upon and help artists; however, I ultimately decided that graduate school will help me sharpen me as a real guru in my field. There are areas I could be better in. We all can learn something new everyday.”
Being back in class has been a real experience. At first, she didn’t know anyone at all, but she has gotten to know her classmates, who are really cool people. “Most are younger than me,” Zoë says, “and I don’t think anyone has any experience in the field. No one has been on tour or even been backstage like I have. I love talking to them because it gives me a lot of perspectives to consider, which can only help me when I teach my clients about the music industry.”
In studying for her master’s degree, Zoë takes part in a lot of discussion classes, which she likes a lot. She continues, “I get to listen to a lot of people as they share their stories, including how far they have come and what they are doing in the working world. They are interested when I tell them what I have done as an A&R, and they ask for my feedback and my own real-world stories. I think it’s enlightening to them because they get to understand more about what works and what doesn’t and, importantly, why.”
One of the things Zoë often tells her classmates is the importance of interning. “We talk about how crucial it is to work for people and to be around them because that develops your ability to collaborate and network. I tell them that while the industry is tough, interning can help you to gain experience and get in the right seat or next to the right person/opportunity.”
Looking back, Zoë can say that she is very happy with the path she has taken to graduate school even if she has done it differently from most people. “I think it’s great that I’ve gotten the work experience first and have then gone to school. One of the advantages, I think, is that I have gotten to see from the inside how much the music industry has changed. It is still evolving, so by deciding to advance my education, I will be able to take advantage of my degree and on-the-job experiences. That’s a big reason why A&R University will be separated from the status quo in the music industry.”
Ultimately, Zoë is back in school because she wants to be the full package. “I am a very creative person, an obvious plus, but I want to expand on my business knowledge because the industry is only going to continue to change,” she says. “Think about what’s happened already. We’ve gone from CDs to digital, and now copyrighting, licensing, and trademarking are all playing different roles. As music and business evolve, I feel like it will be important for me to keep up with it. The industry expects more of me with respect to skillset, complexity, and specialization as an A&R; creativity isn’t enough.”
Zoë wants to be one of the greatest at what she does, and that means she needs to know everything from top to bottom, left to right, and front to back. “With more education, I can make the best decisions for myself, my artists, the manager, and the president of the company,” she states. “It’s also important to me that A&R University and the courses I teach be backed by industry experience and an excellent education. It will be an unbeatable combination that will empower my artists to make the dreams they’ve had for years a reality.”
Zoë Young has over ten years of experience in the music industry and is the Founder of A&R University and President of Tha Lights Global. Determined to help more musicians to realize their dreams, she has created courses that are full of industry secrets as well as a proven formula that provides her students with the skills and knowledge they need to break into the music industry, promote their music, and advance their careers.
For more information on how Zoë can help you to get your foot in the door of the music industry and develop your brand alongside industry-leading managers, please visit: