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Make It In The Music Industry Without Playing A Note

At some point in your life, you will probably want to be a rock star. For most people, however, those dreams will disappear along with the six pack, hairline, and ability to be patient with people.

But there are many ways to get into the music industry. It’s a huge machine that needs a lot of tending to, and it is a great way for music fans to stay in an area that they love. In this article, we are going to take a look at the many different types of career you can develop.



The Basics

Bear in mind that the music industry is incredibly competitive, even for non-musicians. You may find yourself w orking for less than peanuts on your way up, as intern jobs are so highly sought after. You will often find lower-level jobs taken by graduates with wealthy parents who can support them. But never let this stop you.

Do the right courses and qualify with good grades. Be prepared to work hard, make your face known, and develop a contact list as large as is humanly possible. Many successful people have worked their way to the top from nowhere and are now very powerful people. As long as you have the drive – backed up by some talent – you could have a piece of that success.


The band manager is a difficult job, and one that only suits a certain type of personality. You have to be bullish in putting your band’s name out, and controlling unruly musicians. It can be a nightmare, but pick the right group, and it could be lucrative enough to set you up for life.

If you are great at organizing everything and have skin thicker than an elephant’s, you could make a good career as a band manager. But there are risks. It will be stressful at times, and you will have a lot on your plate. You could even be dumped if the band get some success and want more experience. It’s important to be good with people, but also strong enough to impose yourself. Think you are up to it? Why not give it a go with a university band?


The most beautiful music you could ever hope to hear is probably lying somewhere on a DAT tape, listened only to a handful of people. The reason? The band never had a good PR person. No industry is driven more by PR than music. Everything you hear on the radio has been hawked around blogs, DJs, music magazines, and any other avenue of possibility.

To be a good music PR person, you will need to be bold as brass and have a contacts book larger than the President’s. You will need to find bands, and know exactly who to expose them to. It’s a great job, and if you are good enough you will meet some very interesting people. Before they make it as famous.


Bean counting has never been so cool. To be a good music accountant, you will need your traditional qualifications and an eye for detail you never believed was possible. Things will be more straightforward for you if you work for a major label. But if you work privately for a band, you will need a lot of patience. An awful lot.

Musicians are notorious for not caring much about anything other than music. And wading through their accounts could be an eye-opening experience. But they will need you on board to organize their financial lives, and the pay can be fantastic. Good with math and great with people? Then maybe accountancy in music could be for you.


According to intellectual property experts OneLLP, the music industry is awash with legal wrangling. And at the heart of them sits the music industry attorney. There are contracts to think about for every single release. There are tours to plan and legitimize. There are complex six-album deals to thrash out. And there are copyrights, usage rights, exit agreements and much, much more.

If you have an interest in music and the law, it is a fascinating area to work in. And one thing is for certain: you will never have a slow day as a music industry attorney.

Human Resources

You might be surprised to hear that the music industry needs HR professionals just like any other. When you look at everyone from the Rolling Stones all the through to Jay-Z, you aren’t thinking ‘personnel’. But the sheer number of people that work in the industry means they are an essential part of many entertainment businesses.

It makes sense when you think about it. Many of the greatest pop stars of all time were also great commercial people. And HR is there to protect commercial interests, along with the people that work in those environments. Try starting out with a local music label, before working your way up to the big time. You could even end up with your own specialized agency to provide services to the stars.


OK, so this one probably does involve playing a few notes. In fact, you’ll be playing quite a few during sound checks and tune ups. But you don’t have to play particularly well, and it will give you the experience of going on a major tour, albeit without the adulation.

Be careful, however. Becoming a roadie is more of a lifestyle choice rather than a career. If you are tempted by life on the road, there will be a lot of temptations that come with it. Not all of them will be healthy, which is why so many roadies end up quitting the game. If you can control your urges, it’s worth a shot while you still retain your dreams of being the front man on stage.

So, there we have it. Your dreams of a career in the music industry don’t have to die because you have the voice of a Hell’s Angel. It is tough to break into, and the more specialist areas such as law and accounting will take a lot of education. But it is a rewarding career that will help you meet talented and creative people throughout the course of it.