Working in the Music Industry

A music career includes opportunities such as musician and sound engineer as well as the business aspects of the music industry, such as music producer and talent agent.


Music and the musicians that make it are the backbone of the industry. Musicians can create their own music, in a band or concert group or as soloists. Musicians can find careers in performance, in any genre of music, but they can also find work creating music for films, commercials and, increasingly, video games and other online multimedia.

Musicians should become experts on one or more instruments, increasing their versatility and their ability to secure contracts. To break into the industry, most musicians look for every opportunity to perform and to create and distribute their work. Many build professional relationships with other musicians, who may end up hiring them to perform or work with them on projects.


Composers write music. Depending on their training or musical genre, composers can work in the classical music or performance industry; provide music for theater; or create music for films, commercials and multimedia productions, including video games. Composers need a strong background in music. Their work needs to be prepared according to a standard that can be shared amongst performers. Therefore, most composers have degrees in music and in music composition.

Sound Engineers

Sound engineers are responsible for the recording and mixing of music. Some sound engineers also specialize and become maintenance engineers to focus their energies on the care and maintenance of the recording equipment. Most sound engineers have completed a technical training program, though many new entrants into the industry have completed an associate's or bachelor's degree in the field. "Mix Magazine," one of the foremost publications in this industry, provides an education directory for training in this field.

Music Producers

Producers control the logistics of a musical production. A producer is responsible for casting parts; selecting the musicians; directing the mix of the music; finding the music, including lyrics and the composition; and directing the project to completion. Music producers are usually experienced musicians, composers or sound engineers who are now responsible for the management of musical projects.

Talent Agents

Talent agents are responsible for contracts, booking tours and handling the business aspects of performance. They are responsible for ordering concert tickets and for booking venues. Talent agents need to have strong organizational skills since they need to control the scheduling and manage times, dates and locations for moving their talent. They also need to find good venues and liaise with venue owners. They need to have good negotiation skills and a willingness to read and review contracts and agreements. Most talent agents possess at least a four-year degree, usually the minimum educational requirement to enter into an agent training program.

Music Marketers

Music marketers are responsible for the advertising of the product, as well as for the analysis of the product's performance within the music market. Music marketers usually have a degree in marketing, and many specialize within the industry. A good number break into the business through internships. Music marketers need good writing, networking and sales skills and the abilities to present ideas and analyze data.

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