What skills does film music require

Careers in the Music Industry: Which Music Job Is Right For You?

Jobs in the music industry are in great demand. That makes sense, because a lot of people see music (in whatever form) as their passion.

But the music industry is known as a competitive job market and it can be difficult to even know what the options are.

The good news is that depending on your skills, you can find a role in the music world that suits you.

Regardless of whether you want to become a musician, are more interested in business or are enthusiastic about music education - the number of jobs in the music industry is constantly increasing - and with it the probability that you will find the job that suits your skills.

Jobs in the music industry can be broken down into 5 basic categories:

  1. Performance and Creation
  2. Recording and production
  3. Music business jobs
  4. Music media jobs
  5. Music education and music therapy

Of course, your skill set doesn't have to be limited to one of these categories.

You probably even have skills from all categories. And you can always learn something new anyway!

Here's everything you need to know in case you're wondering how to get your career started in the music industry.

1. Jobs in performance and creation

It's easy to get lost in the idealization of the careers of famous musicians and great musicians.

While it's not impossible to have success with your music, don't forget that there is a lot of hard work behind showbiz.

While it's not impossible to have success with your music, don't forget that there is a lot of hard work behind showbiz.

It can take years to master your craft properly, forge the connections you need, and build an audience.

Nonetheless, there are extremely many ways to start your career as a musician, whether you want to create or perform (or both).

Plus, thanks to the internet, it's not as difficult to find a niche audience and promote your music as it used to be.

Here are a few job descriptions for the Performance and Creation category:

What is a songwriter?

A songwriter is someone who writes songs for themselves, other musicians or companies. Usually this person has poetic writing skills and can combine words, ideas, emotions and concepts with rhythms, chords and melodies. Most songwriters play one instrument very well, but basic knowledge of multiple instruments is even more useful.

Typically, songwriters are paid through royalties that generate the songs they write. These payments are calculated based on radio playback, streams and commercial usage.

The royalty system can be a bit complicated, but luckily we have discussed it many times here on our blog.

What is a session musician?

Session musicians are also called studio musicians. You are paid per session to play your instrument. You will be hired to play live or record in the studio. A professional session musician has a high level of musical ability and often has a bachelor's or master's degree in music.

These musicians often work as freelancers - they accept requests for performances and are paid by the hour or session.

The hourly rate of session musicians depends on their portfolio and skills.

There are tons of types of gigs a session musician can take on - studio recordings, orchestral replacements, cruise ship tours, wedding performances, and more.

The main thing is that you are known for excellence in your musical field, and that you forge the relationships and connections that you need to get at work.

What is a composer?

A composer writes music (in the form of scores) for orchestral arrangements. Modern composers often write film music and commissioned pieces for orchestra.

Since arranging music for larger ensembles is extremely complex, you hardly ever find composers who do not have at least a master's degree in music.

2. Jobs in recording and production

The world of sound recording is huge.

You just have to keep in mind that behind every song there is a team of unit managers, producers, studio assistants, sound engineers and many more. That's a lot of work!

Behind every song is a team of production managers, producers, studio assistants, sound engineers and many more.

Recording and production are both art forms that require a lot of dedication, trial and error, learning, the ability to work with musicians, and technical skills.

Here are a few job descriptions that can be helpful if you are considering a career in sound recording:

What is a unit manager?

Production managers work with musicians in the studio. They know how to use recording equipment and the procedures necessary to capture and record high quality sound.

For jobs in the field of sound recording, you usually need technical skills that you can learn at college or university.

But there are also unit managers who have taught themselves the craft and are extremely good.

Many unit managers get their first recording experience by recording their own music projects or by working on local projects for a friendship price.

On the way to becoming a professional unit manager, you will probably start with less lucrative work until you can eventually manage your own studio if you have enough experience and clientele.

What is a music producer?

Music producers take care of the recording, writing, editing and mixing of musicians' tracks or albums.

While many musicians produce their music themselves - i.e. without the help of a producer - some musicians hire a producer to make use of their technical and artistic knowledge. By and large, music producers are there to support a musician in the process of writing and creating a track or album.

To become a great music producer, you need to build a reputation for yourself as someone who makes great sounding albums.

Usually, producers start by working on their own projects to build their portfolio.

Once they have sufficient experience, they can start working on other people's projects.

To be a successful music producer, you have to be able to fulfill many functions in the studio.

To be a successful music producer, you have to be able to fulfill many functions in the studio.

It's not uncommon to help out with just about anything - recording, hiring session musicians, coaching musicians, working with the record company, and even writing arrangements.

3. Music business jobs

There is a massive industry behind the music you listen to every day.

Even in the age of digital distribution, musicians still need a team to help them release and promote music, as well as organize the many different parts that go into the release of an album.

There are many different roles in the music business. In general, these roles fall into one of two categories - Artist Services and Label Services.

Label services jobs are usually in the interests of a record company and can be on the board of directors, A&R, design, legal, or finance. In this case you are always an employee of the label.

Jobs in artist services are always in the interests of the musicians and you are hired by the musicians. These jobs can be: artist manager, tour manager, booking agent, publisher, PR and music lawyer.

What is A&R?

A&R stands for “Artist and Repertoire”. R&A reps work for record labels and are responsible for finding new talent.

A&R is not quite what it was in the golden days of the recording industry.

In the past, A&R employees acted much more than talent scouts and combed local scenes in search of that one rough diamond.

Nowadays, A&R folks spend the majority of their time at music festivals, where rising bands play to make a name for themselves in the industry.

If you find a musician who is a good fit for your label, work with everyone on the label and the band to sign the contract and record and release music.

To be successful, A&R people need to have good networking skills and be able to get to know people easily, especially at music festivals.

You also need to have a good eye for talent and a solid understanding of the music industry. They also need to know what kind of talent the label they work for is looking for.

What is artist management?

Artist managers act behind the scenes for the musicians they represent as the link to the music industry. Managers work hard to forge relationships in the industry and know how to handle contract negotiation, tour management, promotion, and more.

Regardless of whether you publish a project independently or with a label, it is always useful to have a manager.

Good managers should be able to offer their clients the opportunity to advance in their careers.

Good managers should be able to offer their clients the opportunity to advance in their careers.

Often managers start their careers by working for record labels or artist management organizations.

If you choose this career path, you have to be prepared to answer a lot of emails. You will go far if you can forge many relationships in the music industry and at some point be known for working with great musicians.

What does a publicist do?

Music journalists are experts when it comes to connecting musicians with music media. Professional publicists help musicians give their project the right messaging before it is sent to the press.

They also take care of creating opportunities for more media exposure, e.g. interviews, reviews and more.

It takes a long time for a publicist to build the relationships he or she needs to be successful. Many publicists start their careers in a PR agency.

What do music publishers do?

Music publishers ensure that musicians are paid when their music is used in media, films, commercials, radio, video games, and other forms.

Publishers are also working to get their clients' music into the media to generate money, especially on television, commercials, video games, and films.

In other words, they try to sell their clients' music to the appropriate media.

Most music publishers work for a large music publisher. If you want to work in this field, it is advisable to start in such a publisher.

4. Music media jobs

The world constantly needs new content on the subject of music. People want to know more about their favorite musicians and discover new music.

Hence, music media present many job opportunities in the music industry. There are hundreds of blogs (including this one!), Magazines, YouTube channels, TV shows, and movies all about music.

And there are also so many perspectives from which you can approach the massive subject of music. If you have a talent for producing and presenting content (text, video, etc.), there are tons of media organizations out there looking for people like you.

5. Careers in music education and therapy

A job as a teacher or therapist is a great way to make a living from music.

A job as a teacher or therapist is a great way to make a living from music.

Music education is very rewarding work and many professional musicians teach it.

And a job as a music teacher or band leader in a school is also a very viable career path for those with both musical and educational skills.

Music therapy is also a great field. Research shows very clearly that music can be extremely helpful for those with mental problems. Accordingly, positions in this field are very much needed.

Of course, for a job in this field you need a certain academic background in education or psychology.

Go your own way

There are so many ways to find work in the music industry. You will definitely find something that suits your skills.

There are so many ways to find work in the music industry. You will definitely find something that suits your skills.

And of course there are many more ways to get into music professionally that we haven't addressed in this article.

Here are just a few examples: instrument design, DJing, concert promotion, music software development, live sound engineer, stage management, piano tuner ... and so on.

The music world is a fascinating industry. You will meet a lot of interesting and inspiring people if you choose this path.

But never forget that if you want to have a successful career in the music industry, you have to be passionate about it.

Good luck, and don't forget to check the LANDR job advertisements every now and then! We are always looking for great talent in a variety of roles.

Annika loves strange stories and dazzling characters. She writes about music and everything else she can get her hands on.