In an interview with Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs, he allegedly called Uptown Records in the early nineties to ask about internships. He contiuned the story by saying that they hadn't heard of 'internships'. Combs said, "It's where I come work for free for experience.". Uptown Records and many other entertainment related business jumped on the internship bandwagon.
As a student pursuing a career in the music business, I know all about internships. I've done a few of them. My tasks ranged from picking up after the bosses dog to planning a national radio promotion for a multiplatinum level recording artist. All for free. I feel that interns, especially in the entertainment business should receive financial compensation for there efforts.
The logic behind the, "work for free" phenomenon is due to the shear numbers of people who would love to work at a record label or concert company. It disgusts me that so many people who lack the passion for the music business attempt to enter the business, and it devalues my passion and work.
I can understand working for free maybe once or twice for experience to get a paid job, but as a college junior, I've done this dance 4 times and nobody will offer me a paycheck. The offers have been for pretty interesting good positions that require a high amount of skill. Hiring someone to arrange a national radio promotion is typically a $25 an hour job. I also did some on site work at major concerts working with sponsors, work that usually fetches $150 per show, for free.
I'm mostly just venting right now, as a poor college students, who has spent nearly $80,000 in pursuit of a passion who is fed up with being taken advantage of by companies. I know my value as a worked, and anyhow, I thought slavery was abolished in 1865.