Love music but don't see yourself as a lead singer? Here's some careers available in the music industry that aren't in the spotlight.
Record companies and labels
Record companies these days are huge business empires. No matter what you’re good at, there’s probably some need for people with that skill in the headquarters of every major record label. They'll need a bunch of accountants, lots of marketing people, public relations experts, talent scouts, and many more people to make sure the business runs smoothly and successfully...
So stick in at school or college, get some decent qualifications under your belt, and keep your eyes peeled for openings at record labels. You will probably need to be willing to travel as lots are based down in England.
Making the most of opportunities you get (and making ones of your own!) and building contacts is often crucial in music-related jobs of any kind.
Band or artists managers are responsible for getting them gigs and publicity and managing the band or solo artist's time. Often the roles of the manager and the record label can intertwine, and it all varies from artist to artist or band to band.
Depending on the scale of the management company, a manager might earn his living by spending every day of his life with the band or artist, planning their whole lives and looking after them. Or a manager might earn their living by delegating the day-to-day tasks to other members of staff while they look after more senior things.
If words like recording, editing and mixing are enough to get you excited, then music production could be the job for you. People often make the mistake of thinking all you need for a hit record is a good song and a good singer, and perhaps a good band. How about a producer to glue all that together nicely?
It’s difficult to realise the importance of the producer without hearing both a well produced and a badly produced version of the same song and sadly this isn’t an opportunity many of us get very frequently. Producing will involve a lot of work in the studio, working with artists to make their music sound perfect. If you’re interested, try and get yourself on a music production course at college or university.
Being a session musician
With an ever-increasing number of bandless solo artists, demand for session musicians and backing vocalists are on the increase. If you’re a great musician or singer, then make sure the music industry knows it, and that you’d be interested in session work. It’s a difficult area to get in to, but there isn’t much you can do besides make sure everyone knows about you.
Live sound engineering is a crucial part of making every gig a success. How often have you seen your favorite band frantically pointing up or down during gigs, pointing to microphones or instruments that are at the wrong volume?
Well, the best sound engineers spot the problems before the pointing starts, so that the gig sounds perfectly in balance for the whole gig. Most successful bands take their own sound engineer on tour with them, but local bands will often rely on the sound engineers that work in the venue they’re playing. So sound engineers can either be attached to venues or bands.
Best way in? Take a course in sound engineering.
Working in a music venue can help you make contacts and learn skills from other people.
Usually there’s sound engineers for local bands without their own, people to look after artists and book bands. Also, depending on the size of the venue, there may be security, box office personnel, marketing and all sorts.
If you want to work in your local venue, pop in and ask them if there are any jobs going or if you are under 16 then perhaps you could do some work experience.
For people interested in journalism, the standard advice these days is to get a good qualification and get as much experience as you can.
Write to your favorite music magazines/papers with your reviews. It’s a tough market, so sometimes it’s better to be the annoying persistent one than the one no one can remember.
A lot of people think in an ideal world, every recording artist should perform their own songs, but just think how many classic tunes we’d have missed out on if it wasn't for the songwriters that like to hide behind the scenes.
The best way to get started is to study music at school and college, and practice writing material. You could then make links with bands and groups to see if they are looking for some material.
If you would like some more information on careers, employment rights and opportunities, please visit our W.O.R.K. page.