Confessions of a Capital Records intern

BY: ELIZABETH VILLAFAN

So you’ve all seen that tower, right? The round one in Hollywood located off of Hollywood Blvd. and Vine St. that is practically destroyed in every natural disaster movie out there? Well, I can say I have had the pleasure of interning there on and off for two years. Sure it may sound fun working at the place that helps create magical music for Katy Perry, Coldplay, David Guetta and Swedish House Mafia, but trust me its hard work. Interning in their publicity and sales departments, I have networked with some of the most creative people in the music industry. I have learned how to successfully implement a music marketing campaign, and deal with tedious intern tasks. However, with any internship, there are really cool things you get to experience along with the not-so-cool things.

I ran into Snoop Lion in an elevator once, and he gave me the most awesome advice. I was in a hurry to deliver an expense report for my supervisor when I sprinted into the elevator and almost knocked Snoop over. He then said something along the lines of “take it easy young one.” I now heavily rely on those five words to keep me calm when I feel like bursting into panic. We talked for fifteen seconds about my internship, and how if I work hard enough I would eventually succeed in life.

In addition to receiving words of wisdom in an elevator, I got to work the showcase for an alternative band named Capital Cities. I arrived at 10 a.m. to Capitol Records that day, and did not end up leaving until midnight. My day consisted of assembling 300 gift bags, decorating the venue, working the guest list, and, at some point, meeting the band and escorting Sophia Bush into the building.

The obvious perks of working at a record label would, of course, have to be the endless amount of free music, posters and shirts, and the experience of looking at the city from the roof.

The cool thing about working at Capitol Records is that you get treated like an employee even when you are an intern. This means that you are invited to all the functions that the employees are invited to such as mixers and listening parties. I had never heard of Rod Stewart, but everyone was making a huge deal about the listening party taking place in our studios during lunch. All employees were excused from work for three hours and the company brought grilled cheese food trucks on campus for us to enjoy. After eating lunch we sat in the studio and listened to Rod Stewart’s entire album and he came out and talked about it after the play-through. We were the first to hear the album, even before his family.
Now onto the not-so-cool things about working at a record label…When someone cannot figure something out, especially because the task is time-consuming, guess who ends up figuring it out? Yeah that’s right, the handy dandy interns! I’ve had to figure out how to ship packages to a castle in London with an address that UPS would not recognize. I’ve also had to create more than 500 pieces of stationary and cut them into certain measurements because my supervisors were out of notepads. Whenever the scanning machine is broken, I figure out ways to fix it, and I’ve learned to create just about any size of labels. I have learned to solve any problem that gets thrown my way.
I’ve also messed up for not paying close attention to detail. Once I shipped out more than 30 of the wrong singles to reporters. Luckily, I figured out my mistake before my supervisor noticed and had to recall the shipments, and repackaged the correct orders.
As far as the environment, let me just start off by saying that yelling across the halls loudly is a normal form of communication in the office. It’s also really hard to focus on writing press samples when the person next to you is blasting loud rock music that shakes your computer screen. But other than that, it’s really fun to have such creative people working around you at all times.
My favorite part of this entire experience was networking with other interns and utilizing all my resources. Every lunch I would go out with a different intern in a different department and ask them questions about what they do. It fascinated me learning about how all the creative teams come together to make an artist successful. I loved setting up informational interviews with professionals from different departments as well. You’d be surprised at what you learn. The best part about conducting these interviews is that these people will always remember you after. It’s important to remember that everyone has been in your shoes at one point and people love to help, all you have to do is ask!