7 Behind the Scenes Jobs You Can Pursue With Your Passion for Music
Landing a lucrative job as a successful musician is by no means impossible, but it does take an incredible amount of time, dedication, and a good bit of knowing the right people. But don’t think that’s the only way into a satisfying career in the music industry. There are tons of jobs available for music lovers who are extremely fulfilling and pay the bills more steadily than struggling musicians. So never stop pursuing your musical dreams, but along the way, here are a handful of great behind-the-scenes music industry jobs that might be a fit for you or a music lover you know.
1. Music Publisher
Music publishing involves making deals with songwriters and facilitating the use of songs in media like advertisements or even movies or TV. As a music publisher, you’d be responsible for issuing licenses for the use of songs they represent and collecting licensing fees. Music publishing falls on the commercial side of the music industry, and it can provide a rewarding career that allows you exciting access to the music industry. As a music publisher, you could expect to make around $54k a year.
2. Booking Agent
A booking agent gets paid to set up gigs, like live performances, tours, or even radio appearances for artists. This gig is best executed by those who are exceptional at networking but keep in mind, networking is a skill that can be learned. As a booking agent, you’re responsible for getting a band or musician spots that will boost their career in the industry. This can be stressful, but the payoff can be massive. Booking agents can make up to $57k per year, and that’s not to mention all the perks! For this behind-the-scenes music industry job, you’ll meet interesting clients and could build your way up to representing musicians you love and advancing their careers.
3. Artists and Repertoire (A&R)
A&R requires you to seek out promising new talent, then sign them to a label. After signing, you’ll oversee the artist all the way through to a finished recording product. Scoring a job in A&R isn’t easy, and it helps to know the right people, but a deep appreciation of music is an excellent place to start. On average, music A&R’s annual salary is about $45k, with room to move up the ladder!
4. Music Supervisor
Another career worth noting is a music supervisor. This job requires one to negotiate deal points and contracts on behalf of the artist. This will entail preparing and monitoring budgets and ensuring that everyone is holding up their end of the bargain. This is a great job for someone who not only appreciates all things music but who is also detail-oriented. A music supervisor must always “read the fine print” to get favorable contracts and make sure everyone is on track to make the music they’re being paid to make. As a music supervisor, you can expect to make an average of $66k a year.
5. Road Manager
If you vibe more with smaller to mid-sized bands, or you’re just getting started, becoming a road manager could be an enticing position for you. As a road manager, you’ll be tasked with organizing the details of booking shows and the travel required for said shows. This is another detail-oriented position. Road managers must keep the musicians or band(s) they manage on a tight schedule. You may also be responsible for booking shows, media obligations, and hauling around equipment. You could even help promote your artists via social media. As a road manager, you’ll be looking at making around $43k annually.
6. Sound Engineer
Being a sound engineer is truly an exciting musical career, allowing you to attend live performances with VIP access backstage. As a sound engineer in the music industry, your job requires you to know the ins and outs of the technical side of recording music or live shows. A sound engineer controls sound levels and outputs and is tasked with maintaining sound equipment. Sound equipment is anything from amps to microphones and everything in between. As a sound engineer, you can expect to make around $52,000 a year. To prepare for this career, you can take online classes or find other opportunities to take your passion to the next level.
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re a creative who doesn’t necessarily want to be on center stage, songwriting is a career you should consider. A songwriter composes musical compositions and writes lyrics. You then often sell your songs to musicians who want to perform them and own the rights. As a songwriter, salary can vary widely; you could expect to earn anywhere from $25k-100k annually. One bonus of being a songwriter is that you can frequently work as a freelancer, choose who you work for, and enjoy great freedom in your work life.
There are endless opportunities to flex your musical muscle behind the scenes. All of these industry jobs allow you to be right in the mix, with a steady income. Enlist your creativity to advance your career, and pursue the job that best fits your interests and skills!
Megan Haffron is a classically trained musician, freelance writer, and content strategist, with a focus on branding and content development. She has a passion for anime, pop culture, video games, and staying on top of the latest news in the entertainment industry.