Which Music Industry Job Is Right for You

Producer and musician in recording studio
••• Getty Images/UpperCut Images

If you love music and know you want a music related job, the hardest part might not be committing to going for it but choosing your perfect music career. There are tons of different ways you can get involved in the music industry and lots of different music jobs you can do.

This guide should help you narrow things down and figure out which part of the music biz suits you best. Below you'll find some common music careers and pros and cons for each that you should consider before making the leap. You'll also find links to more information about each career. Don't miss Part One of the music job pros and cons list!

Record Producer - The Pros

  • Get a hand in the creative process with lots of different artists.
  • Get a lot of credit - great producers are recognized for their artistic achievements in the same way great musicians are.
  • Can work for a studio or independently
  • Can pay well, especially if you get points on a record that sells a lot of copies.

Record Producer - The Cons

  • Hours are long and irregular.
  • Getting started can be tough - you may have to work for free for awhile to build up a reputation.
  • Need to learn about studio equipment/recording techniques, so there is a time investment in training.
  • Need to stay on top of new technology all the time.

Music Journalist - The Pros

  • Get to interact with some of your favorite artists.
  • Always have the inside track on what new releases are coming up.
  • Have a hand in shaping trends and a venue to share your thoughts about the music industry.
  • Good for guest list spots!

Music Journalist - The Cons

  • Hours can be long
  • Lots of competition - you have to fight hard to get published and to be the one to get the interview, the story, etc.
  • If you freelance, pay can be sporadic
  • Need to be able to work independently and manage deadlines.

Cover Art Designer - The Pros

  • Get to play an important role in creating to overall "feel" of an album - great album artwork images are remembered as music as great music and help give an album an identity
  • Get to work closely with musicians and labels
  • Every job is different, so you get to experiment with different styles and techniques

Cover Art Designer - The Cons

  • Easy to get ripped off - many designers see their images used in merch and without a good contract, they may not make a penny from those sales.
  • Work (and pay) can be sporadic
  • May have to spend some time working for free to build up a reputation
  • As music goes online, artwork becoming less important

Music Distributor - The Pros

  • Get to work closely with lots of different labels
  • Get exposure to tons of music you might not otherwise hear
  • Can be good money - you don't have the overhead costs of labels, yet you share in the profits of their releases

Music Distributor - The Cons

  • Can be very frustrating - labels miss release dates, stores get orders in late and then want to return them all - you're stuck in the middle
  • Difficult to start independently