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What's the Current Job Market for top Music Professionals Like?

What's the Current Job Market for top Music Professionals Like?

A musician's passion is to play music. Musicians may perform as solo artists, in bands, ensembles, choirs, and orchestras either in front of live audiences or in the recording studio. There are many kinds of roles that can come with being a professional musician including Session musician. Career Definition for Professional Musicians. Musicians, including members of bands and orchestras, perform and record music for live or remote audiences. In addition to classical music or jazz, some musicians may specialize in hip-hop or rock and roll.

It really depends on where you live and what sort of job you're trying to go for. However, well over 50% of the jobs in the music industry are strongly desired. That means you're going to have to work really hard and expect to be underpaid. 

Is there a demand for musicians?

It is a career that, typically, pushes more than pulls. You really have to have narrow-minded goals and rapid success.

If you’re into business: It’s about being better than the competition. Why are you a better writer, negotiator, designer than the others? What do most people do that you can do better?

If you’re into making music: It’s about fighting through the waves or other artists, rejection, and negotiations. A lot of bigger venues, i.e Sinclair in Cambridge MA, want you to have a decent following and loyal fans who will attend every show. Because your fans are your biggest promoters. It’s not about being better it’s about finding the right crowd in the right town, more or less.

It’s an 80 hour a week job with bad benefits, constant rejection, and plucks on your personal beliefs. However, if you work hard you can be successful.

Employment of musicians and singers is projected to grow 6 per cent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. ... However, there will be tough competition for jobs because of a large number of people who are interested in becoming musicians and singers.


Required Education

Many musicians begin their training in elementary and high school. While a formal education is not required for a career in popular music, aspiring classical performers may benefit from bachelors' degree programs in musicology. Admission requirements can include an audition or an audio recording, after which, students may pursue training in music history, performance and theory. Additional training can be found through fellowships or music camps; master's degrees in music are also available.

One of the musicians mentioned on reddit that: "7 years into freelance bass playing and I’ve had to pick up work as a tv extra, and now trying to write library music. I spent £15k on a degree and learnt one valuable lesson from it.

You can play like hot shit, but if people think you’re weird, creepy or just don’t like you, you won’t be very successful. The music world is the ultimate popularity contest."


Skills Required

In addition to talent, musicians must have the physical stamina necessary to perform for extended periods of time and go on tour. Dedication and discipline are key; interpersonal and promotional skills can also be helpful when it comes to working with other industry professionals and attracting a fan base.


Career and Economic Outlook

The BLS reports that job opportunities for musicians and singers nationwide are projected to increase by 3% between 2014 and 2024, a slower-than-average figure in comparison with all other occupations. An increased demand for musical entertainment is expected to contribute to higher numbers of singers and musicians being hired as backup artists for tours and recordings. In 2015, according to the BLS, musicians and singers earned median hourly wages of $24.20

What is your postgrad in?

If it's a field other than music, and you can afford the degree, strongly consider sticking it out. Most people who leave a degree program never go back.

Being a professional musician will make it really hard to pay back any student loans, if you have them, though.

I would consider something like a 5-year plan. Where do you want to be?

Would it be better to be a struggling musician with student debt payments and a degree or a struggling musician with student debt payments and no degree?

How much money does a professional musician make?

The average salary for a Musician is $33.20 per hour in the United States. Salary estimates are based on 487 salaries submitted anonymously to Indeed by Musician employees, users, and collected from past and present job advertisements on Indeed in the past 36 months. The typical tenure for a Musician is 2-4 years.


Below are few example of industry standard salaries for musicians:

  1. Orchestral musician Salary: $28,000 - $143,000 
  2. Video game sound designer: Salary: $40,000 - $120,000+ 
  3. Recording engineer: Salary: $25,000 - $150,000+ 
  4. Music therapist: Salary: $20,000 - $135,000 
  5. Road manager: Salary: $25,000 - $125,000+ 
  6. Booking agent: Salary: $20,000 - $3,000,000 
  7. Session musician: Salary: $100 - $2,500 per day or up to $100,000+ 
  8. Music attorney: Salary: $70,000 - $150,000+ 

I have asked the same question on different communities. One of the musicial replied back with following:

"I play in 2 major theme parks, run a successful musical instrument repair business, teach lessons, and pick up gigs with artists that come through the area.
You're an independent contractor unless you have a gig that allows you their freedom to not have to take other work. Unless you organize it to your needs, it's rough.
Let this sink in: There will be somebody with no training, who works fewer hours than you, has better health/retirement benefits, and gets paid more than you. Depending on how you feel about that, let your decisions be based on your patience and will toward a lessened sense of security in life.
Is it fun and rewarding? Yes, unless it's not. A lot of people with gigs everyone thinks are great, have retired to do something else. The market is flooded with more new people every year, and economically, it does drive the value of labour down from the client's end."