From Bad Boy to Young Music Executive

Aaron Arnold's leap of faith led to a dream realized

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Aaron Arnold used skills learned while an intern at Bad Boy Records to start his own music company. (Source: Aaron Arnold)

Following a passion and turning it into a lucrative career can be quite daunting for many, especially in an economic environment where the choice stands between joblessness and simply earning a paycheck to survive.

However, there are some who are brave enough to step out on faith and take the risk of forfeiting an immediate means of survival to pursue a dream.

Aaron Arnold, 30, founder and CEO of Music Is My Business, made that decision, leaving a high-paying job as a public relations executive to take an unpaid internship working under one of the hardest-working men in show business – Bad Boy Records founder and entertainment industry powerhouse Sean “Diddy” Combs.

After the life-changing experience (and living off credit cards and a prayer), Arnold’s Atlanta-based music company now boasts a client list that includes ESPN, Heineken, and the United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP). He’s also worked with Grammy-award winning songwriter Bryan Michael Cox and platinum-selling artists Danity Kane.

He talked with BlackEnterprise.com about finding the courage to pursue his dream, being inspired by Combs, and the lessons in learning as you go.

BlackEnterprise.com: You transitioned from working in public relations to becoming the CEO of a music company. How did you become interested in the music industry?

Aaron Arnold: Although I had a great job for a great company, I wasn’t happy anymore. My ambition had outgrown what I was currently doing. I closed my eyes and asked myself, “If I could do something for free, what would it be?”

Shockingly to me, it was music, but it made sense too, [since] my mother performed opera and my dad was a jazz musician and music professor. I was even in concert choir during high school. I basically followed my heart.

How did working for Sean “Diddy” Combs inspire you to branch out on your own?

My work with Mr. Combs was an amazing experience, and every day was different and intense. I came to him with the goal of being the next generation of executives to influence music and business. All I asked of him was to mentor and groom me, and in return I’d work a year for free if he saw fit. At the first meeting I ever attended with him, I was so inspired by his work ethic, energy, and knowledge of various industries. I went home that night and launched the concept of Music Is My Business.

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ACROSS THE WEB
  • James

    Loved this story. Where can we hear more?

  • mr. musicismybusiness
  • Chiquita Woolfolk Banks

    This story is extremely inspirational. Mr. Arnold gave practical advice and motivated me to pursue my dreams. Not enough people have ambition today like this… I’m encouraged to know there are a few still out there. Kudos to MIMB! I look forward to hearing more from this company soon.

  • http://leetchee.blogspot.com/ melvin

    Thank you BE. We need these. he says `persevere` this is the message we need. Persevere

  • Neosho

    Mr. Arnold, I am in grad school (similar to your internship with Diddy) to pursue my passion in media relations. I appreciate the confirmation that I am not crazy like some of my family thinks I am…LOL. I hope you come to DC and share your story in person. I would love to pick your brain about stepping out on your own. Miracles and Blessings!

  • Aric Easterling

    Great interview BE! Aaron Arnold, congrats to you sir on all of your success and for the great future ahead! Continue to shine!

  • http://www.502motorsports.com L. Millette

    Great job Aaron! I knew you would do it…
    Keep rising to the top!

  • Maurice Lee

    Wow, you know music is my passion as well and like you in the past, I have no clue as to what I want to do with it. I don’t even know where to start. I was thinking about Audio Production but I’m not the best in math. Now I’m considering Video Production. I just need some direction please. Music is my passion, I can come up with millions of beats, hooks, and rythyms. However I don’t know how to apply that towards the music industry or what role to play. Please Help!

  • Messiah

    Hello,
    Everyone I’m happy to say Arnold is a friend of mine and this story is completely true! When he first told me what he was going to do I was stunned! But after he explained it to me thoroughly I agreed and advised him to follow his dream. He wasn’t from NY and I thought he may have been a little naive.I herd from different people Puff was a hard person to work with and for. Initially he was overwhelmed but his perseverance payed off! Do your thing Mr.!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/howtogetasixpackfast How to Get Six Pack Fast

    Hey, nice tips. Perhaps I’ll buy a glass of beer to that person from that forum who told me to visit your site :)

  • Teddy Astin

    HI Aaron, I have over 30 years in the Music Industry,(Promotion & Marketing) I also live in the Atlanta area.

    If i can help you in any way , please dont hisitate to give me a call.

    Keep up the good work !

    Teddy Astin
    404-358-8349

  • http://n/a James P.

    Hello Sir,

    I have my cousin who made some great beats from scratch and I would like for him to do internship with someone with experience. How can that be possible?
    Thank you.
    James

  • Sharita Clark

    I want to say that I admire you for pursuing your dreams because you can achieve them if its your destiny. I wish you and Mr. Combs continued success.

  • http://freestuffonline.vox.com/ discount offers

    I really liked your blog post, I certainly think its essential to keep one self upto date with as much of information as possible, Thanks keep this blog updated, I am coming back for more.

  • Mark

    Great story! I just recently followed my passion and although I don’t know what the future holds I am not gonna give up on my dreams.

    Thanks

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