Immerse Yourself in Music: The Music Industry Jobs Open to You

Jun 15, 2016

Music Producer working on Equipment | Music Industry Jobs

The music industry was, is, and will continue to be big business. Anyone who has ever purchased an album, attended a gig, bought band merchandise, or even just chatted about music with their friends can tell you this.

In 2015, the global music industry was valued at $47.4bn, and a significant portion of that revenue is made right here in US markets. In fact, the revenue generated by the US music industry alone topped $15bn in 2015 for the first time in three years. Despite concern about a declining industry, this genre of entertainment is still going strong, and the music industry jobs that are being created represent very attractive career paths for those interested in this field.

Most music industry jobs being created will require a diploma or degree – like the one offered by the SAE Institute – as a minimum requirement. In addition to giving you a solid qualification, this course will give you a grounding in what is required to succeed.

The Digital Sector

In many ways, the saving grace of the music industry jobs market – and the industry as a whole – was digital. The exceptional performance of digital media in the US market acted as a defense as the music industry began to experience a decline in the mid-2000s. After a few nervous years for industry figures, the music business stabilized in 2010 and has been performing steadily and encouragingly ever since then.

Perhaps people are no longer buying physical records in the numbers they once were, but the paid download market is still growing, and so is the number of music industry jobs it is supporting. If you decide on a career in this field you will not be alone, and if you have the competitive edge to rise to the top, the rewards are great.

Music Industry Jobs

Music Publisher

Music Publishers act as the middle ground between unsigned musicians and the labels looking for fresh talent. Music publishers scout out up and coming acts and then commission demos from them, before using industry contacts and know-how to pitch these demos directly to labels. Entry level salaries in music publishing start at $20,000 on average but an experienced music publisher can earn well over $1,000,000.

Professional Manager

Matching a hit with an artist is not always easy, but this will be your role as a professional manager. You will have to understand the profile of the artists and groups you work with, the professional trajectory they are on, and what their fans will respond to. With this in mind, you will pitch demos for them, potentially becoming instrumental in landing them their next big hit. Starting salaries are usually around $20,000, but the industry leaders – such as Justin Timberlake’s manager, Barry Klarberg – are earning seven figures and above.

Live Music

While digital downloads were grabbing the headlines, another portion of the music industry was just going about its business with very little fanfare. Probably the oldest sector of the industry –with a history that stretches back much further than even the rarest piece of vintage vinyl – live musical performances have been consistently growing their revenue for over ten years.

While the gains made in this sector are not as flashy as those enjoyed by digital downloads, live performances continue to grow in popularity. Market leaders, Live Nation Entertainment, put on 22,801 shows in the US in 2015 alone, and secured revenue worth around $4.73bn. This substantial increase in demand for live performances has propelled the growth of some specific jobs in the music industry, especially jobs in Live Sound Engineering.


Image of DJ Playing - music industry jobs

Every venue requires great music, and more often than not that music is provided by a DJ. DJs are frequently music aficionados indulging their passion and getting paid handsomely for it. Remuneration varies greatly from venue to venue and from job to job, but most DJs can expect around $300 per night.

Tour Manager

For a recording artist or group, touring is still big business and part of the romance of the rock star lifestyle. As a tour manager, you will be in charge of ensuring that everything runs smoothly on the tour, with tasks such as organizing transport, scheduling, budgeting and more falling within the remit of you and your team. Tour managers earn between $25,000 and $125,000 depending on the level of the tour they are managing. Top managers like Alan Floyd, who worked on Beyonce’s ‘The Mrs Carter Show’ tour, exceed even this, making this music industry job just about worth the stress.

Record Companies

While purchase rates for physical recordings may have declined in recent years, they still account for over $5bn of the industry’s annual $15bn of revenue. This rallying on an industry-wide scale is great news for record companies, and these influential cultural powerhouses are the source of some of the industry’s most interesting, varied, and lucrative career options.

In the U.S., much of the music you hear on a daily basis is put out by the ‘big three’, i.e. the top three record labels in the US. Of these three, Sony Corporation is the top of the pile with $5.47bn in annual sales and operating revenue. Universal Music Group is second with $5.11bn in revenue, while Warner Music Group is a still impressive third with $3.03bn. As each of these labels includes countless subsidiaries and imprints, their combined influence is enormous.

Record Producer

Help to coach the musician and work with them to mold the raw performance into the perfect sound on record; this is the task of a record producer. You can expect to receive anywhere between $25,000 per year at the entry-level and well over $1,000,000+ for the biggest names in the field.

Audio Engineer

Audio Engineer working on Sound Mixer | Music Industry Jobs

The audio engineer or recording engineer is the expert in sound who operates the studio’s equipment. They select the ideal levels and create the perfect conditions for the sound to be captured, and are intrinsic to the creation of a hit record. Engineers receive between $25,000 and $150,000 in salary each year.

Devise your plan and stick to it, get qualified, get experienced, and get to know other people in your field. The music business is a competitive one, and the music industry jobs market is similarly so. This means that you will need to work hard to reach your goals, but with dedication and perseverance, great outcomes can be achieved.

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