Intern Insights: Sony Music Entertainment
September 20, 2022
By: Annette Yang
Intern Insights is a new series brought to you by the Marketing Society Blog to give you the insider scoop coming straight from your NYU peers on what it's like to work in the companies and industries you’re interested in.
During my Sophomore year, I had the opportunity to intern under Sony Music’s International Label Management team and had an incredible experience that I am excited to share with any of you who are interested in working in the music/entertainment industry.
Industry & Company Overview
Firstly, to give you a brief overview of the company, Sony Music Entertainment is a leading American music company that owns a variety of labels such as Epic Records, The Orchard, RCA Records, Columbia Records, and more to deliver all types of content and services to the music industry. They represent some of your favorite artists like Harry Styles, Beyoncé, Doja Cat, and Bad Bunny. The large umbrella that is Sony Music Entertainment also offers opportunities for college students to gain experience in the music industry firsthand and own their own projects that have an impact.
Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment
The Recruitment Process
Sony Music Entertainment recruits interns year-long on a seasonal basis. They hire fall interns, spring interns, and summer interns, meaning you have the opportunity to intern whilst attending school or during the summer break. Recruiting for each season begins roughly 2 months prior to the internship start date. Personally, I applied and interviewed in late July/early August and began my position in mid-September. I interned at Sony Music throughout my entire Sophomore year; after the fall semester ended, I was offered a return offer to come back in the spring. When applying for the role, applicants are able to check a list of business units they are interested in and want to be considered for which include A&R, marketing, legal, and sales, to name a few. When the application is screened, applicants will most likely get matched to an interview with the team that is relevant to their experience and selected team preferences. When applying, I voiced interest in marketing roles but ended up joining the International Label Management team, which I will explain further when I discuss my role.
I get a lot of questions about what Sony Music looks for in applicants, and I believe they search for students who are inquisitive and have unique backgrounds. When I applied to Sony, I actually applied just for fun with zero thoughts of actually working in the music industry. I even voiced to my interviewer that I had seriously never considered such a career, however, I did express my excitement to learn more about what was out there in the world. I also highlighted my background of having lived in many countries and my experiences seeing the connections that music created across borders. Thankfully, my interviewer positively viewed my honesty and we bonded over our shared interests in international artists.
As mentioned previously, I worked on Sony Music’s International Label Management team. This team is involved with the direct management of international artists’ music campaigns related to marketing, sales, and overall campaign strategy. While working with my team for roughly 9 months, I had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects involving data analysis on BTS’ sales performance, strategizing a marketing plan for K-Pop and J-Pop artists, and providing feedback for unreleased music from Pitbull and DPR Ian. While these were all very exciting experiences, the most memorable part of my internship was being able to manage an entire project myself. My team had recently signed a rising Libyan artist named Bahjat, who I met bi-weekly via Zoom and ended up getting to know quite a bit. Over the span of a few months, I put together a year-long marketing campaign for him based on his music release timeline. Because I worked so closely with him through this process, I had a deep understanding of who he was, his story, and the message he wanted to relay to his fans. This allowed me to pitch ideas that were on-brand for Bahjat as an artist while meeting his creative goals. When my time at Sony Music came to an end, I presented my project to the entire company and Bahjat proceeded to pursue my campaign ideas going forward.
Overall, I highly recommend applying to opportunities at Sony Music Entertainment. The internship program is extremely well organized and coordinated; there are many opportunities for networking and you are able to tailor your learnings based on your interests. Most teams also give their intern the opportunity to own and present a project, which is beneficial to add to your portfolio for future opportunities. My experience with the culture at Sony was also very positive. My team was extremely supportive of me and pushed me to pursue my passions and try new things. I never felt overwhelmed during my internship despite working alongside a full course load as interns are able to decide working hours based on their school schedule and work a range of flexible hours per week. Thus, I believe the position is perfect for students who want to grow their careers while still attending classes.
Prior to my internship with Sony Music, I had no idea what direction I wanted to take in my career. However, I was open to saying yes to new opportunities, even if they were challenging or out of my comfort zone. From this experience, I realized that I did not actually want to pursue a career in music or entertainment; I wasn’t too passionate about working in music and wanted to pursue something more analytical. Working at Sony Music allowed me to recognize this, and gave me the tools to prepare me for my next learning opportunity. I came out of the internship more well-versed with working on a team, managing a variety of projects, and being able to vouch for myself. It also doesn’t hurt to have a few fun stories to tell about working with some of the world’s biggest stars.
If you’re considering working in the entertainment industry or in any new industry in general, I would recommend you to just go for it. You never know what it's like until you try it out yourself, and even if it ends up not being the best fit, it will still be a great learning experience that will make you stand out in the crowd.
Annette Yang is the Fall 2022-Spring 2023 Content Director. She is a Junior at NYU Steinhardt majoring in Media, Culture, and Communication and minoring in Business and Data Science. Stay tuned for more content from Annette!