The Music Business

How do you know that music is your calling?

  • How often do you listen to music, attend concerts, think about music, talk about music? Every single day? Your interest should tell you something.
  • Do you spend money on CDs, have an iPOD or other music device? Do you already seem to know a lot more about your favorite genre than your friends?
  • When you watch a movie, do you hear the music? Do you remember the sound track a month later?
  • Does music affect your mood, work on your emotions?

If you are answering yes and nodding your head to the questions listed above, then obviously music is an important part of your life already. But is it enough?

  • Do you know enough about music? If your knowledge extends to one or two pop bands, then you haven't studied enough. You have to know about music from the past, different kinds of music, music you might not enjoy terribly, but you still have to know it anyway. You never know where your career might begin. Knowing about music over a broad range is important for you. Borrow music from older family members and ask them to tell you about it.
  • Do you realize the pay isn't very good? You will have to live on very little. You will be sacrificing evenings with friends because of work, and your friends will start having success in their jobs. They will show off a new car, new clothes, the trappings of a full blown career - while you are still struggling to get ahead in the music business. Do you have the patience?
  • Do you know how hard the work is? Working overtime without extra compensation is one thing. Working late into the night and then starting all over again at around 10:00 a.m. with no time for yourself. You start at the lowest rung of the ladder and have to prove your worth, prove yourself every step of the way. There are deadlines and frustrations galore. And somebody - the one at the bottom - usually gets picked on the most.

Some music professionals get their start at college or university. Take advantage of the opportunities on campus to advance your own experiences. You can:

  • Promote a local group.
  • Organize an on-campus concert.
  • Form a fan club using the Internet.
  • Join a band or start one of your own.
  • Attend concerts yourself.
  • Listen to music, know at least one genre.
  • Be a disk jockey.

To prepare yourself at college or university, it is important to take the proper classes. The above-listed, while capable of opening some doors for you, are not a good substitute for scholarly study. However, it is actually the balancing of the two - scholarly study and real world experience - that will make the biggest impact.

  • Those interested in the business end of the music business should be taking a business course of study.
  • Those interested in the technical side of the business should be taking a proper technical course of study.

Beginning with the business end of the business, here are some jobs:

  • Music marketing - preparing ads, brochures, posters, CD covers, and other such materials.
  • Music ad sales - selling ads for tickets, CD sales, television spots, magazine ads, basically an ad in any medium required.
  • Music representation - being a business agent for a performer, orchestra, or other musical group.
  • Legal representation - being an attorney for a performer, label, orchestra, or other musical group.
  • Accounting representative - being an accountant and tax advisor for a performer, label, orchestra, or other musical group.
  • Studio manager - running the studio, booking its use, overseeing maintenance on equipment, overseeing the billing.

The music business has a technical side of it. Almost everyone has seen the huge sound boards that are used in the studio. This is just one of the many jobs:

  • Sound engineer - running the sound board in the studio, concert hall, or studio.
  • Sound technician - overseeing maintenance and installation of equipment in studio, in concert hall, or on tour.
  • Mixing expert - providing the mixing of tracks that are recorded in studio.
  • Staging expert - providing expertise in how the stage is erected and set up. Might include overseeing special effects.
  • Filming expert - provides expertise for filming an event, concert, or digital images in the studio.