Job Description: Music executives work in recording companies or own their own companies. They find and mold talent, arrange recording “deals,” schedule concerts for their artists, write press releases, prepare radio and other artist promotion packages and manage all the ins and outs of the business that supports their talent.
Training and Educational Qualifications: No formal training is required for starting a business; however, entrepreneurs starting businesses in the music industry usually have training in music or a bachelor’s degree in music. Individuals seeking employment in the recording companies usually have a similar background and sometimes have done internships in the music industry.
Job Outlook: Keen competition is expected for top executive positions because the prestige and high pay attract a large number of qualified applicants. Employment of top executives including chief executives and general and operations managers is expected to have little or no change through 2016.
Salary: Top executives are among the highest paid workers in the U.S. economy. However, salary levels vary substantially depending on the level of managerial responsibility length of service, and type, size, and location of the firm. For example, a top manager in a very large corporation can earn significantly more than a counterpart in a smaller firm.
Median annual earnings of general and operations managers are $85,230. The middle 50 percent earn between $58,230 and $128,580. Because the specific responsibilities of general and operations managers vary significantly within industries, earnings also tend to vary considerably. Median annual earnings of chief executives are greater than $145,600 although chief executives in some industries earned considerably more.
• Many jobs in the music industry are in cities in which entertainment and recording activities are concentrated; these include New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago and Nashville.
Do you know which companies have the best internships in this field that are known to help launch a successful career?
SONY, EMI, IMG, Universal.
Where are the best cities to live to find jobs like yours?
New York, Los Angeles.
What is your typical day like?
I get into the office at 10:00 a.m. and read through about 75 emails that all need action. Then I meet with my employees and get an update of the progress of our projects. I make calls from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and then take a break for lunch. Coming back to the office means making more calls. I usually answer inquiries about our clients until 7:00 p.m. Then there is always a concert or music event to attend for one of our clients or another new artist we are considering working with. It’s not uncommon for me to stay out until 1:00 a.m. and then get up the next morning and do it all again.
What are your job responsibilities?
In any business there must be attention given to day-to-day management. I am responsible for three employees who are actively soliciting new business; writing press releases; preparing radio promotion charts for record label clients; answering to clients on the daily, weekly and monthly progress of their public relations accounts; putting out fires both literally and figuratively.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Getting press and radio spots for a new client that is very talented and has never worked with a professional PR house before.
What do you dislike about your job?
Trying to promote music or careers of artists who are not very talented but who will make it because we do our job extremely well. There is always a little guilt with this type of account.
Have you had any turning-point or “light bulb” moments in your career that have helped you get to where you are today?
The light bulb came when I had a meeting with my first client. He offered me more money to work for him than he offered my employer at the time. And he only wanted me to do consulting work for him. I knew right then and there that if I could strike the deal with him, I would leave my job with two weeks notice and never look back.
How did you know you wanted to pursue this career?
It combined the two things I love the most in life classical and jazz music and the ability to verbally communicate enthusiasm and excitement to others when discussing music. I also had a great advantage coming from a large company in the music business that opened the doors to all the music writers in the United States and all the music directors at over 500 radio stations.
How did you get into this industry?
I was a musician who found my way to music composition. I continued my education in that field and even worked other jobs to support my music composition. Eventually my background in music became a key component when being hired to work for media companies. When I had my own not-for-profit performing arts group, I did all the publicity work for them and began to learn the craft of public relations. I eventually was hired by a large company that gave me the education and experience I needed to start my own company.
What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment?
Hiring my first employee and creating a sustainable business.
To what professional associations do you belong?
American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
What advice do you have for others who would like to pursue this career?
I think you must be able to work with people who are very passionate about their careers and who will expect results for the money they pay you. If you do not have good writing and verbal skills, a publicity and promotion career is not for you. You have to be able to discuss the finer points of classical music and jazz with some very smart writers, editors, and clients as you progress in this profession. If you are unable to pick up a phone and call someone you never have spoken with before, you will not be able to do public relations. Email alone will not make it happen. If you can’t do this, you will not be able to represent these artists competently.
You should also have a passion to discover new ideas and trends and be very computer literate. And most of all, you must be able to “bill” for your time with confidence. Being a natural sales personality is a great asset. You must possess the ability to sell especially “intangibles” (e.g., your concepts and ideas) to writers, editors, and the media, as well as clients. Otherwise, you will not survive and certainly cannot thrive.