What you need to know about music industry jobs.
The music industry is one of the largest in the entertainment world. If you want to start and chase your dreams as a musician, there are many music industry jobs to pursue.
There are tons of independent professionals that create music, without big record companies. And the great thing is there is nothing stopping you!
Nowadays you can create music in your basement or spare bedroom. You just need to be creative. Even if you’re not a singer or performer, there are still lots of music industry jobs that you can pursue.
How does the music industry work?
What you need to keep in mind about the music industry is that it is a collection of many professions. All of them are interconnected. It all starts with the music creators. An Artist or band then needs to go to a recording studio or a music producer to get started. Even after they record music, they need a mastering or mixing engineer. And then they need music promotion and music video production. It’s easy to see that there are a plethora of music industry jobs that you can pursue even if you’re not an instrument player or vocalist.
Is the music industry dead?
A lot of people believe that’s the case, but it’s not true at all. The music industry is constantly growing and expanding, and it continues to show there’s a lot of value to be had.
While large companies still dominate the music industry, the independent scene is fast emerging. In fact, it is doing very well right now.
You can now publish music yourself on massive streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music & Tidal. Even platforms like Bandcamp make it easier for newcomers to express themselves and show off their ideas. It’s incredible and fun, plus you get to have a great experience while completing the entire process.
Let's get into the core music industry jobs...
Music Industry Jobs - 1. Music producer
The music producer will manage things like sound recording or music production for a band or single performer.
That means they can help the performer record a song, or help with the recording of a whole album.
The music producer roles will differ for every recording. They can work with artists to select songs to record. Offer assistance when it comes to improving arrangements, lyrics or the songs themselves. On top of that, the music producer will also select session musicians, coach singers and musicians and even co-write songs at times.
They will supervise the entire process, starting with pre-production and then going on to the recording, mixing and even mastering stages at times. It’s not uncommon to have the producer to hire experts to ensure that a project is completed accordingly. A music producer’s income will vary, in the US the income is around $51000 on average, and it can go up to $100000. But this doesn’t include things like commissions and profit-sharing deals that the music producer might have with a record label or the artists themselves.
Music Industry Jobs - 2. Mixing engineer
The job of a mixing engineer is to record, edit and mix songs. The typical day for a mixing engineer consists of manipulating audio frequencies, adding effects, adjusting the volume levels and also syncing the sounds. You don’t need to have a formal degree to be a Mixing Engineer. On the other hand, you do need to understand the musical equipment very well and have a keen ear.
So you want to be a mixing engineer?
If you want to be a good Mixing engineer, you need to know how to operate the best sound editing and recording equipment at the highest level. On top of that, you want the finished product to feel polished and of very good quality.
It’s important to create the best product that you can, as it will help you a lot if you’re looking to deliver the best experience to clients.
How much do mixing engineers make?
It’s an average of $84000, but the best Mixing engineers can earn upwards of $125000. So yes, this is a very lucrative job especially if you consider the fact that there’s no need for a formal degree.
Music Industry Jobs - 3. Mastering engineer
What is mastering engineering? Simply put, the mastering engineer puts finishing touches to an already recorded song.
Every piece of music you hear on the radio or television was touched by a mastering engineer. They take the recording from the mixing engineer and then make it ready for prime time.
A mastering engineer will make the recording sound fuller, brighter, louder and sometimes bigger. It’s all about improving the quality so it can be ready for the audience. All mastering engineers use a variety of tools to make the recording sound amazing. They have high standard headphones and speakers, frequency analyzers, audio processors and many other tools.
The regular mastering engineer album job will cost around $1000, and many mastering engineers work on a few albums per week. So the mastering engineer salary can range between $130000 and $160000, sometimes even more than that. If you’re a newcomer to the mastering engineer world, you will earn way less. But experienced professionals can earn deep into 6 figures.
Once you have a portfolio of mastering examples the easier it will be to get hired.
Music Industry Jobs - 4. Music promotion
Musicians need to promote their music to ensure that it reaches as far as possible and many people listen to it. With that in mind, a music promoter will have to focus on social media promotion, contacting media outlets and key tastemakers.
The great thing is that you don’t need a degree for this either. It’s hard to pinpoint the salary you can get in music promotion. It all comes down to who you are promoting and if you have a contract with them or with a music company. But you can expect a salary of $40000 to $60000, sometimes even way more.
Music Industry Jobs - 5. Music video production
The music video production process is very complicated. It involves a lot of creativity and plenty of hard work, it’s pretty much movie production but at a smaller scale. The music video producer needs to come up with an idea related to the music, and from that idea, build the theme of the video.
Depending on the song, it can involve multiple shots over multiple locations. Music video production involves a lot of work and attention to detail. The music video director needs to prepare everything and ensure that everything goes smoothly. Depending on the music video, you might need to prepare sets, rent or buy cameras, direct actors and so on. And the music video producer is at the helm of it all. You have to deal with a lot of responsibility.
Considering how humungous the music video production task can be, you have to wonder how much does a music video producer make. The amount differs from one music video producer to the other, as it all comes down to how much work they have to do, the amount of experience and the Artists they are working with. The median salary will be around $50000, but there are music video producers with their own production company that earn well into 6 figures every year. It’s not uncommon for them to earn up to $300000.
Music Industry Jobs - 6. Graphic designer
What does a graphic designer have to do with music? Quite a lot! A graphic designer is needed to create cover art for every song and album. They will also provide promotional graphics for social media, concerts and music events. A graphic designer can also create merchandise, shirts and other merchandise can be sold online or locally during concerts. So it makes a lot of sense for a band or artist to work closely with their graphic designer.
The salary for a graphic designer is roughly $44000 in the US, but you can earn up to $63000.
Music Industry Jobs - 7. Music lawyer
The job of a music lawyer is to make sure that all the licenses, contracts and copyright are handled correctly. It’s easy to copy music nowadays, so it’s the job of the music lawyer to ensure that the songs prepared by a band or performer will be fully copyrighted and no one will copy them.
A music lawyer will also handle any lawsuits that against an individual, band or music production company. The job of a music lawyer will vary based on what they have to do, what companies they work with and other factors. An average music lawyer salary would be around $104000. But if you have a lot of experience and you work for large music companies like Universal or Sony, then you can earn over 2 times that, if not more.
Music Industry Jobs - 8. Music teacher
If you’re talented at sharing your skill with others, then maybe you want to look into becoming a music teacher. The interesting thing about this job is that it pays quite well, depending on where you live. How much do music teachers make a year? They can make around $42000 on average, and in the larger cities, the paycheck goes up to $66000. The most interesting thing about becoming a music teacher is that you get to share your craft with students.
Teaching music is great because it allows you to express yourself and prepare students for their musical journey. It’s a great music industry job, and from here you can easily pursue any other job listed above.
Music Industry Jobs - The Bottom Line
One of the main challenges with getting music industry jobs is that you need to decide early on what type of career you want to pursue. You can’t do it all, no matter how hard you try. So you need to prepare beforehand, maybe even acquire a background in music so you can get the best possible outcome. It’s not going to be easy to reach greatness in the music world, but it’s all a matter of commitment and constantly pushing the boundaries to reach that next level.
We believe that if you’re committed nothing will stand in your way. As you can see, the salaries are quite good throughout the industry. You can get hired by a large company and go up the ranks to get a better salary if you want. Or you can go the other route, which is freelancing and working with the clients you want. Freelance music jobs are plentiful.