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Non-Performing Careers in Music

If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to manage a top recording artist or to mix live sound for the Grammy Awards or direct a music video, stop your wondering.

This section of Artists House is designed to open your mind to the nearly limitless possibilities for non-performing careers in the music industry.

Why would a musician consider a non-performing career in music?

For every thousand talented and qualified musicians, there are only a handful of full-time, good paying jobs for performers. An April 6, 2006 article in the Los Angeles Times titled, "Player’s Prospects," estimated that of the 2,700 music performance majors who graduate from American colleges, conservatories, and universities, there are roughly 160 job openings for which they must compete with hundreds, if not thousands of alumni from the same programs.

 

So to put it bluntly, a musician actually has a better chance of landing and excelling in a non-performing music career than he or she has to make it to the top as a performer.

 

Not that having a non-performing music job stops any musician from still playing music and pursuing career opportunities in performance. It’s just that your performance career aspirations take a back seat to establishing a career as a non-performing music professional. The end result is you have food on the table, a roof over your head, a very nice instrument, and leisure time to continue to make music. Not a bad proposition.

The 50-to-1 Rule

Every time you attend a concert or see a new music video on MTV, the spotlight is shining on the artist. He or she is the focal point. But to get to that point of appearing at an arena or on MTV, as many as 50 non-performing music professionals have contributed essential skills, talent, and perspectives to help that artist create his or her success.

 

A quick sampling of professionals who support a contemporary recording artist include:

 

  1. Personal Manager
  2. Business Manager
  3. Entertainment Attorney
  4. Booking Agent
  5. Publisher
  6. Songwriter
  7. Lyricist
  8. Public Relations Consultant
  9. Music Video Director
  10. Tour Manager
  11. Licensing Manager
  12. Merchandising Coordinator
  13. Stage Techs
  14. Front-of-House Sound Mixer
  15. Monitor Sound Mixer
  16. Lighting Designer
  17. Choreographer
  18. Vocal Coach
  19. Music Video Director
  20. Stylist
  21. Wardrobe Supervisor
  22. Make Up Tech
  23. Tour Advance Rep
  24. Radio Promotion
  25. Artist & Repertoire Rep
  26. Recording Engineer
  27. Record Producer
  28. Photographer
  29. Web Site Developer
  30. Concert Promoter
  31. Production Assistant

OK, there are 31 career tracks, some of which you probably haven’t thought of. You can get the number up above 50 very quickly when you realize that most of the 31 persons on that list have their own assistant or a full staff!

 

Now that we know there’s a wide range of jobs in music, how do you go about figuring out which ones might be the best fit for you and whether or not you have some of the skills necessary to pursue a specific job?

 

That’s where the Artists House Careers in Music pages come in. They include a range of resources that will teach you what types of skills are needed for a particular career.

Next Steps

Spend some time looking over the range of career opportunities in this section of the site. One of the easiest ways to do this and learn about the range of information found on this site is to use the keyword list found on the left side of the Careers in Music page. You’ll see a list of words that link to various articles and interviews throughout the site.

 

Dive in and see what kinds of challenges and responsibilities a music publisher, concert promoter, booking agent, or sound designer experience.

 

Come back and keep checking out the new interviews and postings that will continue to be added as Artists House Music evolves and grows. After you’ve identified a few possible career paths, then you can dive deeper into the site and begin the work of defining how best to prepare for your career in the music industry.


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Published: 08/03/2006

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