There are many types of jobs available in the music business. Careers can be found in retail, working with individual artists, publishing, recording, and more. Those with a well tuned ear and a business or legal background are most suited to a profession in the music business. Many music schools now offer degrees in Music Business that give students the necessary skills to begin a career in the industry.
There are several careers that involve working with individual artists or bands. An artist manager handles all financial dealings of the artist as well as advises on creative decisions. They usually have a basic knowledge of accounting, negotiating, management, and legal issues. Contrary to popular belief, an artist manager does not always handle the booking of the band in venues. The booking agent works with promoters and venues to determine the price that an act can demand.
Other positions that are essential to the popular success of a band are those involved in touring. Touring coordinators handle travel, budgeting and lodging for the band. Road managers are specifically responsible for what happens on the road. They supervise equipment, sound, and lighting personnel. Sound technicians set up and place audio equipment and monitor it during the performance, often working the soundboard.
Those with a legal background have several opportunities available to them. An entertainment attorney handles issues like copyright, laws governing agreements and contracts between artists, managers, publishers, agents, and others. There are several capacities that they can work in within the music business as artist, record companies, and publishers alike all need legal advice.
There are numerous careers in the recording industry, aside from actually running a recording studio. Record company executives like presidents, vice-presidents and directors run the day to day business of the company. Artist and repertoire (A&R) coordinators find talent for the company. They are the people who visit clubs and look for new talent. They listen to demos and also scout songwriters to provide the music for the in-house talent. A&R administrators keep the coordinators within budget.
Promoters work with concerts or radio stations. Some specialize in performances, often paying for all expenses up front with the promise of a good repayment based on how well they can promote the event. A radio promoter brings new artists to radios in order to gain exposure for them. They are usually independent contractors who are paid by a record company.
Publicists communicate with the press to promote an artist. They promote to newspapers, magazines and television to get the artist in the news and arrange interviews in those forums. They also work closely with A&R departments to promote their artists to record companies.
There are many sales-related positions available as well. Salespeople work to sell albums to retail outlets and work as direct representatives of the record company to those stores. Field merchandisers distribute and merchandise the product once it is within the store. They deliver the albums and set up displays when needed.
The publishing industry is another industry than has various types of positions available. Publishers in general work to acquire copyrights to songs and publish and promote them. Much like the record industry, there are positions in management, promotion, copyrighting, sales, and scouting.
Retail sales and management is another area providing a wealth of careers for those interested in the music business. These stores usually sell retail band instruments and pianos, sheet music and accessories. Those in a music store usually are required to have a basic knowledge of many different types of instruments.
Like any other industry, there are starting positions in every facet of the business. Those with degrees often have to start at the bottom and work their way up in management just as with any other business. Entertainment in general is an extremely competitive industry and no one should expect to walk into a glamorous position right off the starting plate. For those with patience and diligence who are willing to work in basic positions to begin with, a career in the music business can be an excellent mix of business and art.