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How to Have a Career in the Music Industry Without Musical Talent

July 15th, 2014 by

Music Industry CareersMusic is the universal language that brings people together like nothing else. While you may have a passion for all things music, you might not have the talent to be on stage yourself.

The reality is that there are many types of career opportunities in the industry, many of which can fall under the category of music and entertainment management. You don’t have to be a musical genius to find a way into the world of music.

Artist Manager

When people traditionally think of a career in music management, this is often the job that comes to mind. An artist manager, often called an agent, is the person responsible for the overall management of the careers of their clients.

An artist manager might be solely managing a single performer, an entire band or a whole roster of different artists and entertainment personalities in the entertainment industry.

One of the primary responsibilities of an artist manager is to negotiate contracts on behalf of their clients. For example, a famous singer ready to sign to a new record label might have to meet and discuss payment before settling on a deal.

Her manager will work hard to negotiate the best possible rates and potential for growth in the future with the music company and to best meet the needs of the client.

Booking Agent

Just like the name suggests, a booking agent handles the booking aspect for musicians, performers and actors. A booking agent working with an up and coming band might spend his day calling around to different venues in the local area to put together a gig schedule for his clients.

In exchange, the agent typically receives a set percentage of the total payment for the concert performance. A booking agent often works very closely with the artist’s manager to ensure that each booking and performance reflects the artist’s genre and overall goals for his career.

Some booking agents do not work with bands and artists but instead at nightclubs, arenas, annual festivals and other concert venues. Their job is to contact various artists to see if they can play at their events or venues at a set price.

Music Supervisor

This career is a niche part of the entertainment industry, and many people don’t even know that such a job exists. The role of a music supervisor is to contact and license the use of music for various television shows, films or video games.

When making a movie, there may be as many as 30 different pieces of music included in the final cut, and each of those needs to be licensed and possibly paid for.

A music supervisor takes the suggested songs, which are often picked by directors and producers, and finds out who owns the rights to each. Then, they negotiate the cost of using the licensed song in the final production.

Artist Publicist

For successful artists who are able to make millions of dollars a year from acting, singing, dancing or any other aspect of the entertainment industry, publicity is often a necessary part of the career.

Good publicity and a positive reputation can make an actor hugely successful while a bad reputation may discourage record sales, acting jobs and paid appearances.

An artist’s publicist might release quotes to certain magazines and newspapers on behalf of his client, write press releases before the filming of a new project or the end of a long personal relationship and send out copies of an artist’s work to the right people who can review and publicize it.

A publicist in the entertainment industry needs to be an excellent communicator as well as someone who is comfortable working long hours around the clock. Publicists have to be on call and ready to answer the phone at a moment’s notice, which means that it is definitely not an ordinary 9-5 office job.

A&R Scout

Artist and repertoire, commonly known as A&R in the music industry, is a division of a company responsible for finding and developing new artists who can be signed to their label or publishing company.

An A&R scout, therefore, is someone who actively searches for these potential artists. Although the hours are nontraditional and can consist of late nights and weekends, it can be a dream job for someone who loves music.

An A&R scout might spend the day reading music blogs, listening to music online, calling new artists or attending local concerts to get a feel for the potential of a band or singer.

Music Tour Coordinator

When successful bands go on tour, they might be setting off for a whirlwind journey lasting several months that could go to several different counties around the world.

While artists focus on their music and their performances, a music tour coordinator handles the day to day planning for the group and anyone accompanying them along the way.

A music tour coordinator is often someone with some travel background as much of the work revolves around knowing various destinations and having the right contacts in different cities.

Some of the tasks of a music tour coordinator might be crafting travel itineraries, booking flights, reserving rooms in hotels at each stop of the tour, arranging for any services needed in a new city and creating a per diem budget for each artist along each leg of the tour.

Tour Road Manager

While a music tour coordinator works from a home office to organize an artist or group’s travel for a tour, the tour road manager travels with the artists to handle the day to day tasks that pop up on the road.

Before each show, he might be tasked with checking that the lighting, sound and instruments are ready and installed properly before the band or performers arrive for a sound check.

He might also be responsible for the safe transit of key instruments along the way. A tour road manager should definitely be someone who is passionate about music because otherwise it can feel lonely and unsettling to be on the road for long stretches of time.

For music lovers, however, it can be a dream come true that lets you get up close and personal with some of your favorite acts.

An associate or bachelor’s degree in music and entertainment management – earned online or on campus at an accredited college – can be the right step toward a hip career in the music business.

About the Author:

Sandy Davis

Sandy Davis is a long-time educator who holds a Master’s Degree in Education, having taught English, writing, and communication on the secondary and college levels. With ten years of experience in blogging, social media and content management, she is a freelance writer and content marketing specialist for a diverse range of clients.

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