7 Jobs in the Music Industry That Make $100k+

Brenna McFarland

Brenna McFarland

Content Specialist
440 Industries

Introduction

The music business is well-known for its difficulties — it is no secret that funds are tight for many musicians trying to “make it big” as performers. Societal stereotypes of life as a musician dictate that if you want to make money, you should get a business degree at university, work in a stuffy office, and have a job that sucks away your creativity and passion. But what if your path did not have to be this way? 

What if there are careers where you can be both involved in music on a daily basis and make a sturdy income? I am here to tell you that this can be a reality. These jobs are not what one would traditionally think of when thinking about a musician’s career, but they are full of possibility and financial stability. 

Sure, it may be difficult to make a sustainable paycheck at first within the music industry, but there are multiple niche fields that have job opportunities available which come with both monetary and career security. For every one performer on a Top 100 chart or a Broadway musical, there are hundreds of musicians honing the talent, writing and recording the music, booking the gigs, and producing the shows. Each of these subfields requires many skilled workers in order to function — and most of them are musicians themselves.

So how, you ask, can you break into these fields and get on your way towards $100K? Look no further! Follow along for a comprehensive list of 7 lucrative professions within the music industry.

1. Film Music Supervisor
2. Orchestral Musician
3. Music Therapist
4. Video Game Audio Creator
5. Producer
6. Music Attorney\Lawyer
7. Booking Agent
8. Conclusions

1.Film Music Supervisor

Are you skilled in management, seeing the big picture, and leading a team? Do you have a good ear for catchy tunes that could set the mood for a scene on TV? Well perhaps a career as a Film Music Supervisor is right for you!

This career requires prior knowledge in legal idioms, including that of copyright, limitations, and more. In order to acquire this job, one must have a master’s degree and be well-versed in the business and marketing world. Beyond this, responsibilities include communicating between and connecting the label, recording studio, and composer with the musicians. Lots of consistent communication and management is necessary for this career!

2. Orchestral Musician

If you attended university as an instrumental performance major and could see yourself performing classical orchestral pieces in a professional setting everyday, auditioning to be an orchestral musician would be the perfect fit. The job market for orchestral musicians, however, is extremely and deceivingly competitive.

Most orchestral musicians hold their job titles for many years and are the best classically trained musicians in the world. Those who are lucky enough to score a prime seat in a large orchestra can make upwards of $115,000 per year.

3. Music Therapist

If you’re interested in both science and socializing as well as music, Music Therapy could be the right choice for you. Music Therapists work in healthcare and education and their “office” can be in hospitals, community mental health agencies, rehab clinics, prisons, disability centers, and more.

4. Video Game Audio Creator

There are many jobs available in this field — from a composer, sound engineer, or orchestrator. You could be taking home anything between $20,000 and $50,000 for a project, depending on the scale of it. Composers also earn extra from writer’s royalities if their music is bought or streamed.

5. Producer

Music could not be made and presented to the public if not for producers. But what does this role entail?

There are multiple different types of producers, but their responsibilities are quite similar — they plan and coordinate music recording as well as brainstorm concepts for the album or show that they’re working on and make it come to fruition. This requires strong leadership skills and an organized mental framework. A producer must have a clear vision of the goals they have for the project and laid-out steps to achieve the goal that both them and the people they are working with can follow. Multi-tasking is a necessary trait as well as concise, clear communicative skills. This role is indeed challenging and hands-on, but the salary can be extremely lucrative, with upwards of $200,000 per project for the most in-demand producers.

6. Music Attorney/Lawyer

According to Forbes Magazine, “Any successful musician needs a lawyer, and demand translates to high salaries in many cases. By covering all legal issues, often relating to copyrights, trademarks and contract negotiations for a major artist, a music attorney can easily pull in six figures—and in some cases, seven.” Copyright law and trademarking is an essential element of music production. Artists can be charged a grandiose amount of money for plagiarism, and this is where lawyers specializing in copyright come in.

7. Booking Agent

Forbes Magazine further details that “a booking agent secures gigs for acts by maintaining relationships with the right people: promoters, clubs, arts centers, etc. Commissions can range from 10-20% of an act’s gross income per show.”

This salary all depends on the income of the artists you book. Booking agents work with managers, venues, record labels and festivals to get the best shows possible for their artists. In return they work on a commission of between 10 and 20% of the artist’s fee. So depending on who you’re working with, you could earn a pretty major stack of cash!

8. Conclusions

Musicians often have fears about making substantial income in their career of choice — we have all heard the horror stories of wannabe rock stars still living in their parents’ basement and working three jobs just to get by. Although this is a common occurrence, working in the music industry does not have to mean acceptance of personal financial instability in order to create and share your artform. 

In fact, music can be extremely lucrative, making upwards of six figures per year — but in order to obtain this goal one must set themselves up within niche markets of production, audio engineering, music therapy, and more. Basically – gigging is often not enough unless you are one of the lucky artists to hit big. All performers love to gig — we want to show our craft to the world and move people with our music. That is achievable to keep doing whilst building a stable career through one of the options listed above. May your passion never fade!

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7 Jobs in the Music Industry That Make $100k+ Pursuing the arts does not mean that your income has to suffer. If you need some inspiration here are 7 jobs that make 100k+ in music.
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Brenna McFarland

Brenna McFarland

Brenna McFarland is a senior Communications Studies and Vocal Performance, concentration in Opera Major at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. She is both a professional opera singer with over five years of experience travelling around the United States and Europe to work with teachers and coaches from across the globe, and a future businesswoman looking to enter into the PR and Marketing sector of the arts and business world. Academically, she serves as the Vice President of the JMU Opera Guild, where she coordinates meetings, facilitates mentorships between teachers and students, and plans events with over 100 students who are looking for more opportunities in classical music. She is also a member of the JMU Speech Team and has been on the Dean's List for her academic accomplishments for the past two years. Brenna is passionate, driven, and a hard-worker who understands how to manuever the complexities of connect with others in a unique and sensitive manner.

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