It’s no secret that women have had a harder time breaking into an industry that has historically been dominated by men. However, innovation and technology have created a space for females to become entrepreneurs of the music industry. There’s no better time than now for the rise of female music entrepreneurs. And, if you’re ready, the journey is yours to take.
LACM as Role Model for Women in Music
If you're interested in a program that will challenge you to become the next leader in the music industry, look no further than the Los Angeles College of Music (LACM). LACM offers programs in Music Performance, Music Industry, and Music Production. These programs are designed to prepare future industry professionals with faculty active in the music industry, a deep network of music industry veterans serving as mentors, and a focus on the transition from education to employment prior to graduation.
LACM has several female department heads, which can serve as important role models for women pursuing similar careers. We’ll introduce you to Erin Workman, a Department Chair of Songwriting and Music Business at LACM, and share her take on the female population, networking, and LACM’s contemporary approaches to entering the music industry.
Erin Workman - Music Industry Pro-fessor
Female musicians have found a huge success alongside their male counterparts, but can the same be said for the women behind the scenes? With over 15 years in the music industry, experienced songwriter, publisher, and artist development executive, Erin Workman might say yes.
One look at Workman’s bio tells a story of her journey from music student to multi-talented industry professional. Her varied experience positioned her to work as a consultant in Industry Relations and Career Services at LACM. Through this relationship with LACM, she was given the opportunity to co-create and launch programs in Songwriting and Music Business. She is the Department Head for both programs and teaches in “areas from songwriting to live performance to music business and many things in between”.
Female Music Entrepreneurs
For women hoping to break into the industry, a look at Billboard’s “Women In Music 2016: The 100 Most Powerful Executives” will show that you're not alone. We turned to Workman, who shared her observation of the female population in academia and the music industry.
The Songwriting program at LACM enjoys a healthy balance between male and female students. If anything, this is an area that is more heavily weighted with female writers.” In comparison to the industry though, she added, “ the distance is vast between education programs in Songwriting and the number of working professional female songwriters in the industry.
Approximately 50% female faculty staffs the Songwriting program at LACM. This allows for a solid balance in perspective and some of the unique challenges one can experience as a woman in the music industry. For male and female students alike, this variation of perspective and message of diversity is crucial to developing a "whole" approach to how each of them will work in their respective careers.
LACM is unique in that they are located in the heart of the LA music industry. Because of this, their faculty is active working professionals in the industry. Cumulatively, these pros have had hit song placements, worked with the stars, have received numerous awards and enjoy immense success in their own careers. LACM’s Acceptd Page shows that faculty have accumulated:
- 111+ Awards and Nominations
- 2079+ Movie and Television Credits
- 11353+ Albums and Songs Recorded
- 470,011+ Hours on Tour
While these numbers are still growing, students get a "real world" perspective.
Students at LACM also have access to other music industry professionals. Workman shared a few of the examples of former and future guests, including:
- James Valentine of Maroon 5
- Evan Peters, Director of A&R at Capitol Records
- Rico Csabai, former Director of A&R at American Recordings and owner of artist management company Intelligent Noise
- Daniel Lanois, famed songwriter, artist and producer.
“This is a weekly occurrence at LACM, spanning across every program. This just isn't something that is possible at most other college music programs.”
One of the primary goals of the Songwriting program at LACM is to create transition paths from education to employment. Here’s what allows LACM to create a progressive model of professional preparation for this very competitive field.
How is the songwriting program different from programs at other universities/conservatories?
The combination of our cutting-edge curriculum, industry pro faculty and a deep and active network of music industry veterans serving as mentors culminate in a truly unparalleled experience that reaches far beyond the tenets of academic excellence and serves as a vital entry into the music industry.
How does the program prepare students to be entrepreneurs? .
Each songwriter takes a full year of music business courses in conjunction with the art and craft of songwriting. These courses culminate in an in-depth business strategy plan, financial plan and marketing strategy plan. The students learn how to be the CEO of their own companies. They develop a full social media promotion suite, along with a professional website and audio/video/photo content. They also learn all aspects of music publishing, music licensing and music supervision, and many begin pitching and placing songs while students rather than needing to wait until graduation.
What leadership skills do students learn?
Throughout the course of the program, students are required to act as music directors for the ensembles and bands they create for their showcases each quarter. The students recruit the musicians, manage the rehearsal and performance schedules, create the materials necessary to conduct efficient preparation and generally fill the role of spearheading all administrative aspects of the performing acts.
What are some major takeaways students learn from the program?
Students walk away with a deep respect for the song itself as the most primary aspect of importance. Beyond developing a really solid craft and approach to songwriting, each student learns the importance of becoming a skilled music professional on the business side of things. We always say that nobody else will ever care more about your music than you do - meaning, the rest of the creative and business individuals who come alongside a songwriter's career path will take their cue from the writer herself. People get excited when there is an enthusiasm and deep belief in the work being done, the art being created. This is what inspires and motivates and pushes a career forward with momentum. Business and creative are two sides of the same coin and the need for each as a primary focal point is vital.
Learn more about LACM by visiting them on Acceptd here.