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Making the intern economy: Role and career challenges of the music industry intern

This article focuses on a major host of unpaid intern labor-the music industry-to examine how internships function as a challenging, intermediary step for individuals attempting to launch careers. Based on interviews and participant observation, the author finds that ambiguity plays an important role in producing and maintaining the intern economy. The author uses the term provisional labor to describe the temporary, conditional, and ambiguous standing of interns, as they simultaneously build their employability and provide inexpensive labor. The case study reveals why aspirants encounter varying opportunities in their internships, which may differ from their respective hopes, expectations, and career aspirations.