11 Distinct Careers for Music Lovers
Jobs in the music industry range from technical to creative, from business and legal to therapist
By Mark Swartz
You’re always humming the latest tunes. Frequenting clubs and concerts. Blogging about your favourite groups. Fixing up old guitars. Or writing songs in your head.
The music bug’s bitten you hard.
Can you turn that into a rewarding career? Yes, if you’re willing to work at it and choose an appropriate niche. There are scores of different jobs in the music industry. 11 popular ones are summarized below. See if any of them strikes a chord with you.
You're first to know the newest bands in town. Hanging out at concert venues and music festivals is part of your routine. That makes you a good prospect for A&R (Artist and Repertoire) staffer. Scouting for talent, then working with them to produce albums for a recording company, is the basic job description. A degree in Business, Marketing, PR or Communications will help.
Melodies and lyrics don't write themselves (not yet, anyway). Someone has to compose the music and write the accompanying words. Think Elton John and long-time lyricist partner Bernie Taupin. Music composers should have training and possibly a degree in music. Lyric writers benefit from a degree in literature or creative writing.
DJ For Clubs
Are you into throwing down a dope set using mixers and turntables? At nightclubs you’d not only control the music, you're part of it! Deep knowledge of danceable tunes is essential. Impeccable rhythm and beat are too. Make a name for yourself and create a loyal following. Best be adept with digital technology as well.
Instrument Repair, Restoration and Tuning
All musical instruments - from trombones to tambourines - wear out with use. They need the delicate touch of someone who can fix broken parts or retune to perfect pitch. Repair specialists are often employed by music stores that sell instruments and equipment. An apprenticeship into technician may be required.
Lawyer, Accountant and Other Professionals
Bands, performers and concert promoters need legal and financial expertise. Entertainment lawyers review contracts, arrange deals and bail out misbehaving clients. Financial managers balance the books and prevent money from being squandered. Your friends will drool when you text them you’ve just closed a deal for their favourite act.
Music Festival and Concert Organizer
An incredible amount of unseen effort goes into arranging music events. Booking the talent. Ordering sound equipment. Renting a venue. Marketing the performers and selling tickets. Providing security. Vending merchandise. Maybe you could be part those processes. Free attendance, anyone?
It is said that “music soothes the savage breast.” Not only that, but it’s proven to aid with psychological health. It’s no coincidence that evidence of musical rituals dates back thousands of years. Music therapists involve their clients in activities that engage the senses, build new skills and foster well-being. A psychology-related degree is usually needed, often at the Masters level.
Record Label Entrepreneur
Corporate music can become stifling for some. With ambition, financial backing and enough contacts, you could start your own label. As with any start-up, hours are long and risk of failure high. Hopefully you have a background in business and connections to talent, producers, studio facilities, marketers and media-types.
Pretty much any touring professional – whether a sound technician, lighting and special effects operator, or instrument tuner – is designated a roadie. They constantly follow their performers around. Living on a tour bus or out of hotel rooms, it’s no career for homebodies. But if you love the adrenalin rush of making live performances happen, this type of job might be for you.
Writer/Journalist – Music Scene
The music industry generates media coverage. Consider TV shows like Entertainment Tonight, and magazines such as Rolling Stone. They need writers (and researchers) who gather the latest news, do in-depth stories on recording artists, editorialize on musical trends and social relevancy. Can your fingers play a laptop keyboard like Beethoven’s did a piano? Producing written masterpieces means studying journalism or writing. Staying close to the scene is mandatory.
The music industry relies on performers. Singing trios just starting out. Grizzled rock band guitarists. Concert pianists. Soloists and ensembles.
Years of music lessons and practice are the baseline. Lifelong dedication to improving your craft and building your reputation from scratch. Even with all that sacrifice just a fraction of hopefuls make it.
But if following your musical muse is your destiny, Monster.ca wishes you a harmonious career!