If you’re always humming the latest tunes, spending all your spare cash on concerts and obsessing over new and emerging artists, then a career in the music industry could be the dream for you. And although becoming a pop star or musician would be the dream job for many, there are many more avenues you can explore!
From behind the scenes to on the stage, we’ve listed the top 20 jobs in the industry for the ultimate music lovers.
1. Music Producer
Average salary: $49,000 / £25,000
Many artists these days like to produce and manage their own records, from start to finish, but there are many successful music producers that artists choose to work with for inspiration. Take the late Sir George Martin, for example, who worked alongside the Beatles, helping them become the most popular rock group in history. If you want to follow in his legendary footsteps, you should focus on obtaining a bachelor’s degree in music technology first.
2. Music Journalist
Average salary: $22,500 / £23,600
If you want a rewarding career that will combine your love for music and writing, you could consider a path in music journalism. You’ll not only get to attend all the latest gigs as a VIP, but your readers will also rely on your expert opinion on what’s hot and what’s not. Although this is undoubtedly a competitive profession to enter, you could get your foot in the door at a major newspaper or magazine through an internship programme.
Average salary: $40,000 / £31,900
Melodies and catchy lyrics don’t write themselves, and while some artists are poetically gifted, others aren’t, so they rely on the expert skills of professional songwriters. This is where you will play a part and write perfect words to accompany the music. You don’t necessarily need a higher education qualification, but a degree in creative writing could be beneficial.
4. Music Lawyer
Average salary: $110,000 / £87,700
Entertainment attorneys provide legal advice and representation to individual artists and bands. They deal with copyright and contract law, and they arrange deals on behalf of their clients. The best way to qualify in such a niche area of law is to get experience in the field and secure a training contract with a record label.
5. Music Therapist
Average salary: $50,000 / £39,860
Music therapists work with patients to manage their pain, stress and issues through the power of music. They arrange activities and programmes according to their patients’ needs. Although this job requires an interest in music, you’ll also need a degree in psychology to help you succeed.
Average salary: $366,200 / £291,900
Concertmasters are the leaders of the first violin section of an orchestra, and they also often perform as soloists. They work closely with the conductor and have years of classical training, as well as a degree from music performance programmes.
Average salary: $36,000 / £28,700
If you have excellent management skills, as well as an ear for symphonies, a career as a conductor could be ideal for you. As a conductor, you’ll be responsible for managing orchestras, choirs or groups of musicians through visual gestures. Although it sounds simple, it can be extremely challenging to control over 20 people playing different instruments at the same time.
8. Booking Agent
Average salary: $510,000 / £406,700
If you’re a people-person and you have the gift of the gab, a career as a booking agent could be ideal for you! You’ll be responsible for arranging the best gigs, appearances and shows for your client. As an agent, you could manage a handful of celebrities at the same time, ensuring they all have the very best deals.
9. Road Manager
Average salary: $30,000 / £23,900
A road manager, otherwise known as a tour manager, travels with bands and musicians while touring. Their primary responsibility is to ensure that everything runs smoothly, which usually requires meticulous planning taking into consideration accommodation arrangements, money handling, media interactions and other necessities like hair and makeup.
Average salary: $30,000 / £24,200
Are you a turntable genius who knows how to mix the top club bangers? If you’re somewhat of a night owl, this music job could be ideal for you! You’ll not only get to have fun while working, but you’ll also create a large and loyal following.
Average salary: $46,570 / £25,750
If you like being the star of the show and have great vocals as well as star quality, then you might want to consider following your dream of becoming the next Ariana Grande. In today’s digital age, there are many outlets that can help you make a name for yourself and become a singer. For example, you could upload a video to YouTube and hope that a producer spots it or even apply to a talent show such as The X Factor.
12. A&R Coordinator
Average salary: $56,000 / £44,700
If you’re that person who discovers bands and singers before they make it, and you have a good ear for fresh talent, then a career as an A&R coordinator is perfect for you! You’ll need to have a personable and outgoing personality and a large network of industry leaders. A degree in PR & Communications will also be advantageous.
13. Recording Engineer
Average salary: $40,000 / £31,900
As a recording engineer, you’ll get to work on the technical side of music, which involves mixing, splicing and editing songs for albums. Although this role isn’t considered the most glamorous in the music business, it’s an essential part of the process that cannot be overlooked.
14. Music Festival/Concert Organiser
Average salary: $500,000 / £400,000
There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes when arranging a concert or a music festival – from booking the artists to ordering equipment and marketing the gig. But if you’re good at organising events and you want free attendance while you’re at it, you could follow a career in concert organisation and planning.
15. Music Teacher
Average salary: $47,000 / £28,200
Not everyone is made for the main stage or a studio – and that’s okay! If you want to share your gift with others, you can become a music teacher either at a school, college or university. Whether you specialise in a specific instrument or music in general, it will feel extremely rewarding when you share your knowledge and expertise with others.
16. Background Singer
Average salary: $40,000 / £31,900
If you prefer blending into the background and don’t like being the centre of attention, you could become a background singer. You’ll perform with solo artists or sing with other musicians in a recording studio or on live television.
17. Radio DJ
Average salary: $28,000 / £22,300
Radio DJs differ from regular DJs as they typically host a radio show and discuss news and other topics in between songs. If you feel like you have the personality and the voice to be on the air, you can consider becoming the next Howard Stern or Nicholas Grimshaw. And if you’re not certain, why not work as an apprentice at your local radio station first?
18. Programme Director
Average salary: $43,000 / £34,300
A programme director is essentially responsible for the entire radio show. They decide on the content and tone, and they give clear directions to the radio show’s host. The programme director is the person in charge of the station’s schedule and creative flow.
19. Music Director
Average salary: $60,000 / £47,900
Music directors work closely with programme directors to craft the musical playlist for a radio show. They are also in charge of liaising with artists, listeners and promoters, and monitoring listeners’ engagement by carrying out analytical research.
20. Record Label Owner
Average salary: Varies
With the right connections, financial backing and knowledge, you could begin your own record label and become an entrepreneur in your own right like many other artists before you. However, along with ambition, you’ll need a background in business and connections with producers and marketers that will be willing to go with you.
Although it can seem tricky to find a career in music, the truth is that with the right passion and contacts, you can land one of the jobs on this list and enjoy a rewarding career.
Which role takes your fancy? Join in on the conversation below to let us know!
Salaries are intended as a guide and vary depending on employer and level of experience. Salary information is based on data compiled and published by a variety of sources, including Careers in Music and PayScale. Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by XE.com on 12 December 2018.