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What are the Different Careers in Music?

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  • Written By: G. Melanson
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2016
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For every musician that performs before an audience, there are several people working behind the scenes to polish, promote, and sell the artist’s music and image. Those who love music but don’t create it themselves still have the ability to become involved in a wide variety of careers in music.

Most musicians that intend to pursue careers in music will need to get into a recording studio at some point. If these musicians wish to add vocals to their songs but don’t quite have a way with words, they can work with any number of lyricists who write lyrics for singers. As musicians record tracks in the studio, they require a music producer to oversee the arrangement of their vocals into songs for an album. Many musicians will also hire a manager or agent to arrange bookings at the studio, as well as performances for live venues such as coffee houses, nightclubs, or stadiums.

Agents and managers will also liaise with record label executives in order to get their artist “signed” to a label. Like most businesses, record label companies employ staff in a wide range of departments. Those interested in pursuing careers in music could apply to a record label’s human resources, graphic design, IT, or administration departments. Record labels also depend on sales and marketing personnel to ensure the album’s distribution and see that it receives adequate promotion.

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To facilitate the promotion of their albums, artists will often embark on cross-country or international tours. At this stage, even more careers in music are required to work with and for the artist, including stage technicians and tour bus drivers (also known as “roadies”), wardrobe stylists, vocal coaches, makeup artists, hair stylists, and backup dancers.

There are also a wide variety of employment opportunities that cross over into other mediums, such as television, print, and film. Artists that wish to express their music visually will require the assistance of an entire production team to make a music video. This team may include set designers, wardrobe stylists, video editors, and other personnel to bring the video to other industry people, such as TV Video Jockeys (VJs). Music journalists and critics are also counted amongst those who have careers in music, whether they report for newspapers, music magazines, or the Internet. Additionally, there are careers in music for those who write or perform jingles for TV commercials and those who compose or perform scores for film and stage productions.

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Discuss this Article

Illych
Post 4

@hidingplace - In regards to your first question, there’s one important thing you have to learn. If it comes to anything that people are paying money for, they’re going to want someone with proven skills, not just potential. Why waste the money on someone who may not know what they’re doing when there’s someone who’s been doing it for years and has a proven track record? So now you’re probably asking, how do I get experience? Well obviously there are a lot of courses and school programs you can take which will help, not only with your hands on skill but also by networking with local bands and other people in the industry.

In particular with audio engineers, it seems

like the ones who go on to be successful are the ones who are lucky enough to get taken under the wing of an already established audio engineer. Simply put, it’s all about who you know.

The second question is a little more difficult and I don’t there’s a simple yes or no answer. One thing to bear in mind is that audio engineering isn’t limited to bands and artists, as you can do audio engineering on movies and television shows as well and that’s not the type of thing professionals leave up to people who happen to have a little home studio and some basic knowledge. Good luck!

hidingplace
Post 3

I have a few questions as well. It seems like anyone who’s successful in the music industry have one thing in common: they really love what they do and are passionate about it. But how do they survive before their love of music transfers into a career?

Also – as someone who’s interested in pursuing audio engineering – is the home recording market killing this career? It seems like anyone with a computer can make decent sounding music at relatively low cost nowadays which I imagine leads to less people going into studios.

roser
Post 2

@goldenmist - I have a friend who is a music therapist which sounds to me like a fascinating and rewarding job. He’s always been gifted in a wide range of instruments and now he gets paid to work with people from a wide range of different mental backgrounds using music as a form of rehabilitation. Last time I saw him he was telling me about how he has been helping an autistic child improve their motor functions by learning to play the drums.

Using music to help people, could there be anything better? I’m not sure how prevalent this job is but I think it’s something more people should look into trying.

goldenmist
Post 1

As an aspiring musician this article gives me a lot of hope in regards to some careers in the music industry I can explore. I guess I’m just one of those people that thinks that if you pursue what you love with hard work and determination eventually it’ll lead to money and a career, even if that might sound overly optimistic. I know it’s a hard industry to break into, so I figure the best option is to keep my options open. Besides some of the careers listed in this article, are there any others I should keep in mind?

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