5 jobs in Music

Apart from a musician and performer, what jobs can you go into? Here are five of the unsung heroes of the music industry and how you can pursue it as a career choice.


The music industry is a fast-paced, exciting place to work, but there is so much more to just live performances on a stage. In order for that to happen, musicians need the assistance of those working backstage.

Here are five areas you can work in within music, without being a talented musician. 

Sound engineer

What is a sound engineer? 

There are a variety of different pathways that a career as a sound engineer could open, from live sound engineering at concerts, to television, film and studio sound engineering. 

Conveniently, a well-trained, qualified sound engineer can work across all mediums.

Do I need a degree? 

Most engineers start by taking a college course to develop their skills before looking for work, or higher degree-level education. Below are some of the courses available at Oaklands College that will provide you with the knowledge, skills and understanding to begin your career pathway.

What will I do? 

You might:

  • discuss the production’s sound needs with the director or sound designer
  • identify places in the script where any sound effects, music and changes in sound level are needed
  • pre-record any sound effects and music
  • position and rig up microphones
  • complete sound checks before a performance
  • plan recording sessions with producers and artists
  • set up microphones and equipment in the studio
  • make sure the volume and recording levels are set correctly
  • operate recording equipment and add effects
  • operate the sound desk during shows
  • follow a sound plan (known as a ‘plot’) and cues from the deputy stage manager
  • look after and repair equipment
  • unload, set up, dismantle and load equipment at each venue when on tour

What salary could I earn? 

The average salary for individual sound engineering roles within the music industry vary on both the employer, and the role. However, the average UK salary ranges from £15,000 as a starter, up to £40,000 as an experienced technician. Typical hours within the sector again vary on the numbers of events you are working, but the average is 39 to 41 hours a week, spread across evenings, weekends and bank holidays in-line with customer demand.

Radio broadcast assistant

What is a radio broadcast assistant?

Radio broadcast assistants help make sure that live and recorded radio programmes run smoothly.

Do I need a degree? 

Yes – In order to venture into a career as a radio broadcasting assistant, you will need to demonstrate you have the skills, knowledge and understanding required to effectively fulfill the role.

You could do a higher national diploma or degree in radio or media production, both media and music courses at Oaklands College can be explored here

Degree courses that include practical broadcasting experience through industry placements or internships may give you an advantage. You could also volunteer to work on your university radio station during your degree. 

What will I do?

In this role you could:

  • research guests and topics for programmes
  • book guests, prepare contracts and arrange payment
  • book studio time and equipment
  • type scripts
  • produce programme logs and running orders
  • operate technical studio equipment to play pre-recorded items
  • keep track of costs
  • update the programme or station’s website, blog or social media
  • archive programme material
  • arrange and send out competition prizes

You could expect to work either at a recording studio or within a broadcasting centre office.

What salary could I earn? 

The starting salary for a newly-qualified radio broadcast assistant starts at £16,000 and above. Experienced individuals with a strong CV and experience across a variety of industries and broadcasters could expect to earn upwards of £30,000 per year.

The average working week will range from 39-41 hours, with the role spread across evenings, weekends and bank holidays. 

Music promotions manager 

What does a music promotions manager do? 

Music promotions managers publicise recording artists or live music events.

Do I need a degree? 

No – Usually you will progress into this role after a number of years as a music promoter for a record label or events company. You can get into the job through college courses, apprenticeships, voluntary works and applying direct. In order to be eligible to apply for salaried roles, applicants would be required to hold qualifications within the industry as well as have experience working and promoting for local bands at a minimum. 

What will I do? 

As a music promoter your day-to-day duties may include:

  • writing press releases to publicise your client’s music or tour
  • organising publicity events like media interviews and personal appearances
  • going to publicity events with clients
  • getting airtime on radio and TV shows
  • networking with contacts in the music industry
  • organising tours
  • dealing with designers, printers and marketing staff
  • negotiating contracts
  • listening to new acts and deciding whether to offer them a contract

As a promoter for a live music venue your day-to-day duties may include:

  • choosing and booking suitable acts
  • dealing with agents, caterers and suppliers
  • arranging a full programme of gigs
  • identifying suitable audiences
  • organising marketing and publicity
  • arranging entertainment licences

What salary could I earn? 

The average salary for a music promotions manager depends on the size of the company, record label or artist you are promoting. However, according to the National Careers Service, the average salary for a starter is around £12,000. This could rise to upwards of £60,000 with experience. A typical working week would be around 38 to 40 hours, spread across evenings, weekends and sometimes bank holidays.

Mixing engineer 

What is a mixing engineer? 

A mixing engineer is responsible for combining all of the different sonic elements of a recorded piece of music into a final version.

Do I need a degree? 

Ideally – In order to become a mixing engineer, you would usually start out as an assistant engineer in a recording studio or similar alternative. Employers prefer to hire degree graduates, as opposed to an individual who has just completed a college course. 

What will I do? 

A typical day to day as a mixing engineer could include: 

  • Mixing tracks and sounds in a recording studio 
  • Producing and editing music through production software
  • Recording artists
  • Analyse and make judgements on the style of recording the artist/client envisages 
  • Add, remove or distort sounds to meet the requirements of the song
  • Work with artists to produce tracks and edit full albums 
  • Oversee basic sound adjustments and quality control

What salary could I earn? 

According to PayScale, the average salary for a UK-based mixing engineer is around £25,000 per year. Employees could expect to work between 38 and 42 hours per week on average, often working late into the night to perfect a certain track or album. 

Tour manager

What does a tour manager do?

They say in the music industry that you are only as good as your management team. Often working behind the scenes, a tour manager ensure that their artist or band have everything they need to enjoy a smooth, professional tour/concert, by managing transportation, scheduling, and the financial aspects of an artist’s time on the road. 

Do I need a degree? 

Not necessarily – However, a tour manager is expected to have a wealth of experience managing events, tours and concerts, so a degree in event management or qualifications within the music industry would help you stand out from the crowd. 

What would I do? 

Your role as a tour manager is vital in ensuring a music tour is a success. According to Careers in Music, a typical day to day consists of moving artists and the band around the city, ensuring travel documentation, flights, accommodation and transportation is all pre-planned. 

Despite being a fast-paced and sometimes stressful role, it is also incredibly fulfilling when a concert or tour has been a success. In addition to this, the perks of travelling with and managing to transport of a band or artist is that you will experience different countries, cultures and be able to enjoy live music! 

What salary could I earn? 

Starting salaries for tour managers in full-time employment typically range from £15,000 to £20,000. Experienced tour managers can expect to earn anywhere between £25,000 and £30,000 – With senior level or those with extensive experience averaging above this figure. 

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