9 Job Titles You Can Pursue In The Music Industry

The music industry is one of the most profitable industries today, next to professional sports, film, and technology. Since the onset of the digital age, this industry has undergone drastic changes, but there are still millions of aspiring musicians out there looking to make their way and even more individuals looking to have a career that’s related to music or the industry in some way. The trick is figuring out how to get started and what to look for. Many people assume you have to have a degree in music to get a job or have a career in the music industry, but this isn’t necessarily the case.

While there are specified degree programs out there for everything from music studio recording/sound mixing to event planning and promotion to management, many professionals in the business got their start just by playing in a group or making their own way as producers, managers, agents, talent scouts, and promoters. So if you have always thought about pursuing a career in the music industry, here is a list of nine job opportunities you can begin to pursue to break into this profitable and rewarding industry.

1. Session musician

If you’ve got the talent but don’t much care for being in the spotlight by yourself, becoming a session musician is a great way to be involved in the industry while earning a living with an in demand and very rewarding career. Session musicians are in constant need by artists for recording and live performance concerts and tours, and if you are a multi-instrumentalist, this is definitely a career path for you to consider.

2. Manager

Music managers are the link between the music industry and the musicians themselves. Managers ensure that their bands/musicians are not held up by the business aspects of the industry and are instead able to focus on the creative aspects, namely writing, recording, and/or performing. They work closely with producers, promoters, journalists, and label executives to handle tour, venue, and recording contracts, marketing, and press releases.

3. Producer

Producers get right into the studio with the artists and work with them and the recording engineer to create the band’s desired sound or style. They can do anything from writing out compositions, to suggesting what instrumentals and sound effects to use, and even act as a session player to provide an additional instrumental on a recording. Producer George Martin (shown with The Beatles in the recording studio in the picture above), for example, played a huge role in The Beatles' use of orchestral arrangements in their studio recordings, writing out compositions and arrangements and assisting in the recording process.

4. Promoter

If you love putting on a live concert, or simply enjoy going to see a live performance, then you should consider the promotional side of the music business. Promoters work with agents and venues to set up concert and tour dates, negotiate deals and contracts, and promote the band performances using press and media outlets. Promoters are also often involved in sound checks and in ensuring the bands have all of the proper equipment and backup they need for the performance.

5. Agent

Unlike promoters, agents are more directly involved in organizing whole tours. They are responsible for working with the bands, their managers, and the record company in order to set up tour dates and cover the financial and logistical aspects of running the tour. This often requires a lot of networking with venues and promoters to ensure the band gets a gig at an appropriate location and for an appropriate audience. Agents also oversee drawing up contracts that cover pay/compensation, equipment rental and setup, and special guest attendees.

6. Songwriter

If you enjoy, or have a talent for songwriting, and are able to produce a solid body of work, being a songwriter may be the job for you. Today many musicians rely on independent songwriters to provide them with material to record for their own albums. That means you still get to be artistic and get your words and music out there for people to hear while enjoying the view from the sidelines.

7. Art designer

Every album that a band produces encompasses some form of art design behind it. Artists and graphic designers that love music, but are not actually musicians themselves, can still find ample opportunity for working in the music industry by providing album cover designs and brand logos that can become part of the identity of a band or musician. So if you are already an experienced artist or designer, this might just be the job for you.

8. Radio DJ

Radio disc jockeys do not simply sit in the radio studio and play records for fans to hear. They often play a dynamic role in the promotion of band albums, concerts, tours, and ticket sales. They also, to an extent, act as journalists, conducting interviews with the producers, managers, and band members themselves for the purposes of promoting the bands and their new albums or tours. Music lovers who are good at talking with people and who simply love to play a variety of music should definitely look into working as a radio host or DJ.

9. Journalist/Photographer

The music industry relies just as heavily on media coverage of groups and tours as much as they do on ticket sales to attend such events. Music journalists and photographers are therefore in very high demand, especially with all of the music-oriented media outlets around, like Rolling Stone, Billboard, and Vibe, and MTV. Documentarians and photojournalists can also earn a decent living in the music industry by working with agents, producers, and managers to work on such projects as music videos, feature-length documentaries, and promotional materials including posters, photos, and miscellaneous store-bout products.