If you’re here, chances are you have a deep, undying passion for music. There’s rarely a day you don’t have your headphones with you, you have a music library as long as a Costco receipt and have an endless pit of useless music history facts. If you are looking to turn that passion into a career, first off– congrats! You’ve found an amazing industry to work in, and you have a leg up on those who are still unsure where their passion lies.
The trouble is, you know what industry you want to work in, but you don’t know where you fit in. You love music, but you yourself are not a musician, so you might be saying “okay so what can I do”. Luckily, there are a LOT of intriguing and rewarding jobs in the industry that aren’t being a musician directly. Besides, there would be no music in your music library without the entire industry supporting them. Here are a couple of jobs that might interest you:
1. Studio Audio Engineer
Audio engineers are probably one of the most popular positions in music production aside from being an actual musician. An audio engineer’s job is to set up, operate and control recording equipment used in the production of music. Most audio engineers work out of a studio, and deal with artists, producers, writers and assistant engineers.
Perks: You get to work with musicians, help shape albums / single.
Drawbacks: Long hours, can be extremely repetitive.
2. Production Music Mixer
Maybe you have a knack for writing jingles, hooks, and melodies, but you aren’t a front person by any means. A production music mixers is the person who writes the music for TV shows, movies and commercials. Many post production music mixers make the bulk of their money creating generic songs and melodies ahead of time, and sell them to music libraries or companies looking for original songs. Others are hired by production houses to write a specific songs or scores for a TV show or movies.
Perks: You could be the next Charlie Harper from Two and A Half Men
Drawbacks: Must be a self-starter. Long hours working alone.
3. A&R Representative
When I was a kid, this was my dream job. A&R stands for Artists and repertoire, and is a fancy way or saying music scout. It’s a A&R reps job to find the next best artist and sign them to your label. In many ways you are an investor, only instead of stocks, your investment is in people (and more specifically their music). A&R reps spend a lot of time going to shows, networking looking for artists before the breakout.
Music Licensing is its own beast, as there are many jobs in this part of the industry. In this business, music licensing companies (government-run or not), will pay artists to use their art for commercial use, like TV shows movies or commercials. Music licenses need to keep their ears to the ground for new and emerging artists and trending genres. It also helps to have someone with a good knowledge for storytelling mediums like television and movies. This job isn’t purely about identifying a great song as much as it is identifying a song that fits into a scene/commercial etc. Although the success of any popular music can be attributed to hard work touring, recording and writing, many musicians get their first true breakthrough after their song was licensed in a show or commercial. So what we’re saying is that you could be the person to break the next big artist….no big deal.
5. Band Manager
Band meeting! Just think, you could be the next Murray to the next Flight of the Conchords. Am I aging myself here? Maybe. Anway, a band manager, otherwise known as tour manager or road manager is someone who organizes a band’s day to day during tours, press events and otherwise. Typically band managers are freelancers and represent only a few bands at the same amount of time. You would be spending a lot of time on the road with bands during tours as the “parent” of the band. Band managers spend most of their time coordinating with show promoters and booking agents to make sure all the logistics get sorted out. This means looking after hotels, flights, tour riders, payments and making sure the bands stay on schedule. It also means wrangling the band which can be a whole job on it’s own.
6. Promotions Manager
Music Promotions means a lot of different things depending on what sector you work for in the music umbrella. I have worked alongside promotions managers who spend most of their time organizing events for independent companies. In this area, the promotions manager would put everything together for concerts, working hand in hand with show promoters, finding the right venue, artists and media sponsors.
A different promotions manager might represent artists on the label / booking side. In radio, a promotions manager would push new material or upcoming artists to radio stations and music licensers.
7. Press Relations
While we are on the topic of promotions, another form of that job is Press Relations. A PR agent in music is someone who is actively finding new and different ways to distribute artist’s material. This would mean writing press releases, connecting with blogs, radio stations and publications that deal with music. You would be putting music in the right people’s hands who can broadcast it to their audience.
8. Marketing Coordinator
Have a knack for marketing? Pretty much every artist on the planet needs someone to help market their material. Marking coordinators typically either work for a label or freelance for a number of artists. This person would handle the production and management of all band-related retail like CDs, posters, vinyl or merch. This also means filling out and updating marketing charts and calendars, all while liaising between the band, the label, designers and production facilities.
Do any of these careers interest you? If so, that’s great — now you have something to work towards. If not, that’s okay too. There are dozens of different positions available in the industry, too many to write in just one post. Don’t stop looking and keep an open mind, you’ll find something.