Getting a job in the music industry can seem like an exciting and glamourous career path from the outside. Attending industry parties and events, working alongside global stars or even performing yourself, the music industry offers jobs that are full of amazing opportunities.
While that's true, there's much more to the music industry than meeting your idols and heading out on stadium tours. And it can take a tonne of dedicated work, perseverance and flexibility to get your foot in the door.
Whether you want to work as a musician yourself or alongside artists, there are plenty of jobs to choose from when building a career within the music industry in 2023.
Music Industry Job Opportunities
The most obvious route to a music career might be through performing yourself. Despite this being a common route into the industry, the continued growth of the digital landscape has opened up loads of new jobs. There are now even more opportunities than ever to build a career in music.
Types of music job
Are you a singer or musician? Or more interested in the behind-the-scenes action, whether that be within the writing or production stages of a track? If you’re debating a music career based directly around the creation of music itself, then there are plenty of options for you.
Despite the current day difficulties imposed upon musicians, there are more opportunities than ever to get your music heard and distributed as an independent artist.
If you’re more interested in music production, there are also plenty of job avenues for you to head down. As with any aspect of the music industry, it’s important to get as much experience as you can in the specific area you’re interested in, so make sure you’re prepared and clued up for any upcoming interviews.
Social media has opened up a new division of music jobs that might not have existed a few years ago. Not only offering an extra - and mostly free - marketing channel for musicians to showcase their music to the masses, social media has also opened the door to aspiring music industry professionals in the shape of digital marketing roles.
Many major record labels offer their artists social media services, and the past decade or so has also seen the birth of numerous social media agencies specialising in the music industry as well as the growth of influencer marketing.
Traditional marketing roles are also widely available within music. For these types of roles, it can sometimes be useful to have a marketing or business qualification as well as some music industry experience in order to maximise your chances of standing out amongst other applicants.
Record label jobs
Working at a record label is a really popular route for aspiring music industry professionals, offering many different job opportunities. Most labels will be split by department, including marketing, artist liaison, A&R and operations.
Many labels also offer internship opportunities, providing amazing industry experience and exposure - helping you decide whether this is the right career for you as well as getting you that first foot on the ladder if you want to continue in this direction.
Some of the larger labels and music companies also provide Artist Management services. Management offers hands-on industry experience, requiring excellent relationship management skills as well as being highly adaptable and organised. Becoming a band manager can be a great way to break into the music industry.
Hard work aside, you’ll be working with artists directly and have one of the most exciting roles within the industry so it’s definitely worth looking out for any management internship or entry level positions if this is something you'd be interested in.
Providing the backbone to the live music industry, music journalists and photographers keep us in the know about who’s worth watching and who we can’t miss out on. Getting into music photography can provide an excellent career path with lots of exciting opportunities.
Freelance journalists should be utilising social media to build up their portfolios with reviews and articles, putting them in a good position to secure a job off the back of their blogging.
These in-the-field jobs allow you to earn your living as well as go to loads of gigs, perfect for music loving writing fans!
For those just starting out, it's important to keep an eye out for any local internship opportunities at music magazines, blogs and websites.
Live music events are well and truly back! After a devastating couple of years out, gigs and festivals have made a much welcomed return to our towns and cities - and with it, so have the jobs which are essential in making sure they run smoothly.
Some jobs involved in live events include:
- Event Manager/Assistant
- Stage technician
- Lighting or sound engineer
- Booking agent
- Tour Manager
Of course this is only a snapshot of the available jobs within the music industry, but this list should give you a good idea of the variety of roles on offer and help spark inspiration around what music job is right for you.
How to get a job in music
Once you’ve decided which route you’d like to head down within the music industry, you’ll need to set about landing your desired job.
Education and experience
Although not essential to being offered a music job, it may benefit you to enrol onto a music related university or college course to help prepare you for future duties. Do some research about relevant music courses and decide if any of them are the right fit for you.
If you decide not to undertake any music-related courses, it’s vital that you gear whatever you are doing towards your desired music career - at the same time gaining as much experience as you can through networking events and researching industry news & updates.
For example, if you’re studying marketing at university, it might be a good idea to use music industry case studies in your assignments. This will give you something to talk about in future interviews and highlight your passion for music.
Whichever path you decide to take, getting the right qualifications and experience - whether that be through an internship or music-based degree - is a great place to start.
Make sure that you’re subscribed to music news and job sites. Even if there are no listings that you’re interested in applying to, reading over job descriptions will help you understand what experience is required and what types of applicant companies are looking for.
Having an up-to-date portfolio and CV will make your life a lot easier when applying to jobs. This will save you time and allow you to concentrate on crafting a detailed cover letter - something a lot of music jobs will ask for.
Remember to explain why you’re interested in the role and why you want to work within the music industry. A little bit of extra detail can boost your applications massively.
We’ve all heard the classic saying. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Well this is only kinda the case in music.
Of course you’ll have to put in the work and gain the relevant experience needed for each role you undertake, but effective networking is an essential part of working within music.
Attending industry networking events like Ditto X is one effective way of getting yourself out there and meeting like-minded and influential people. These types of events are specifically geared towards building people’s networks, with talks often based around how to break into the industry led by leading names and companies within the industry.
TIP: You never know which conversations might open which doors, so speak to whoever you can at music industry events.
Equally as effective as strong in-person networking skills, is online networking via your social media accounts. It goes without saying, but you’ll want to make sure you’re coming across as professional on your online profiles - employers will look at these things when making decisions. Channels such as Reddit and Discord offer great discussion platforms for industry professionals.
Above all, remember to be honest when networking. Of course you’ll want to sell your skills and knowledge well, but don’t oversell yourself and overpromise what you’re capable of. Honesty and being yourself go a very long way in music so stay true to you!