MUSIC INDUSTRY CAREERS RESOURCES

This list is the beginnings of a resource for anyone thinking about a career in UK music. It is by no means exhaustive and we will be adding to it over the coming weeks and months so come back regularly for updates.

UK MUSIC INDUSTRY JOBS

A&R

An A&R generally works for a record label or publisher and is responsible for scouting new talent, signing it and then overseeing all aspects of the process that leads up to the delivery of musical recordings. This is one of the most sought after & competitive of all music jobs so training is hard to come by and positions are rarely advertised. Even if this is the only job you want in music, it is often easier to start elsewhere in the music industry before transitioning to A&R when you have some experience.

Links to major and larger indie record label career pages:

Beggars Group

BMG

Domino Records

Kobalt

Sony Music

Universal Music

VLF Records

Warner Music

Warp Records (jobs sometimes posted here)

AGENT (AKA BOOKING AGENT)

A Booking Agent is the person who actively seeks gigs for an artist or band across their territory, negotiating the artists’ fee for each gig. This is another competitive job & one where you would be expected to work long hours, however no formal training is necessary and trainee/assistant jobs do come up regularly.

Links to larger booking agencies in London:

CAA

Earth Agency

Echo Location

Paradigm Agency

UTA

William Morris Agency

 

ACCOUNTANT

A Music Accountant helps artists and artist managers with their touring accounts, tax returns, business management and other financial matters. This is a job a lot of people don't realise is central to the music business and one of the best ways to work closely with artists.

Links to larger specialist accountancy firms in London:

CC Young

Gelfand, Rennert and Feldman (PKA Skeet Kaye Hopkins)

Hardwick & Morris

Hentons Panayi

MSE

Prager Metis

LAWYER

A Music Lawyer negotiates contracts, helps with business strategy and acts as a last line of defence for the artist. They are a critical part of music and often one of the closest members of an artist's team. However you do generally need a degree in law (or the willingness to study for one) to work as a music lawyer.

Links to larger music law firms in London:

Clintons

Hamlins

Lee & Thompson

Reed Smith

Russells

Shoosmiths

Statham Gill Davies

TSPM Law

LIGHTING DESIGNER

A Lighting Designers designs, sets up and operates lighting for concerts & festivals. A good LD can be the difference between an average show and a brilliant one so talent is highly sought after. It is a very creative and interesting job but does require quite a lot of specialist technical knowledge so be prepared to study at college or start at the bottom as an assistant (you may have to do some research and simply try and contact LDs who work with artists you like) and learn as you go.

Links for more info:

The Stage (courses)

A List of Online Courses

LIVE SOUND ENGINEER

A Live Sound Engineer controls audio equipment (such as a front of house and monitor mixing desks) at concerts and festivals. They are responsible for sound checks, equipment placement and the quality of the sound, either going to the front of house speakers or the monitor mix on stage. This is one of the more competitive jobs in music as there are a lot of graduate engineers competing for very few jobs. However it's by no means impossible to make it and you don't necessarily have to have a degree. A shorter course may be enough to get started. The career path often involves starting as an assistant or in-house engineer at a small venue before meeting a band who likes you and taking on their tour yourself.

Links for more info:

Degrees (there are loads)

Digico Courses

London Amp Short Courses

Point Blank

SAE Institute

MANAGER

A music manager is the primary representative of an artist and often their closest team member. Their job is to agree a set of objectives with the artist and assist them in every area of their career. This often includes establishing and running an artist’s business and co-ordinating all the specialist professionals that interact with that business (for example their record label team, publisher, booking agent, promoter and tour manager). As with A&R, jobs in management are quite rare as people often transition from record labels and other music jobs. However there are a few larger management companies and it's never hard to track down the managers of acts you like and contact them directly. There are also some great training courses and events run by the MMF.

Links to larger management companies in London:

ATC

Disturbing London

#Merky

Native Mgmt ; )

Red Light Management

Roc Nation

September Management

TAP Mgmt

MARKETING MANAGER/DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER

Marketing Manager and Digital Marketing Manager are two different jobs at many record labels but they shouldn't be, they're essentially the same job. A Marketing Manager helps define the artist brand, pull the physical and digital product together (record sleeves, videos, websites, social media profiles etc) and organises the scheduling, marketing and advertising around a release. There are more Marketing Manager positions at record labels than any other so it is a reasonable job to target if you're determined to work for a record label. Many record label A&Rs and artist managers begin working as marketing assistants before transitioning once they have built up their knowledge and network. 

Links to major and larger indie record label career pages:

Beggars Group

BMG

Domino Records

Sony Music

Universal Music

VLF Records

Warner Music

Warp Records (jobs sometimes posted here)

MERCH SELLER

A Merch Seller (or Merch Person) sells merchandise for touring bands and artists. They travel with the artist crew, set up the merch stand at every show, retail the products and often get involved with designs and management of stock. Despite being known as an entry level position in music and not the most rewarding job financially it is an awful lot of fun working as a merch seller and can be very valuable in terms of contacts. Most tour managers begin as merch sellers. The way into merch selling is very simply to contact the managers and tour managers of bands you like and offer your services (say you're happy with modest fees to begin with and you'll put yourself in the best position). 

PLAYBACK TECHNICIAN

A Playback technician manages the computer and software (mostly Ableton Live) for acts who use a backing track or any kind of midi/sequenced electronic setup (i.e. any dance music, rap or hybrid pop act working today). They help the artist and MD design a setup to meet their creative needs, build a playback rig (inc soldering electronics), attend rehearsals with the artist and often cue up music from backstage at the show. It is quite a specialist role and certainly not one you will see advertised but increasingly it is the most in-demand of touring roles. It is often engineers or people who produce music themselves and understand music sequencing software/hardware who transition into the world of playback but the skills can be taught. The way into this career is to contact tour managers and ask if you can shadow on a few shows as they will probably say yes as they need more Playback Techs!

PUBLICIST

A Music Publicist uses public relations skills and media knowledge to help bands and artists promote their work and maintain their brand. Their duties include writing press releases, plugging journalists, arranging interviews, organising shoots and even writing speeches. It's a job that has been made harder recently by the closure of many music magazines/blogs and the reduction in space for music in newspapers but it is still a vital role in music promotion. Most record labels have an in-house publicity team but there are also some large PR agencies who specialise in music and entertainment. 

Links to major UK publicity agencies:

Dawbell

Hall Or Nothing

Imran Malik

Lucid PR

Purple PR

Satellite 414

Stoked PR

Toast PR

Wired PR

PUBLISHER

A Publisher scouts, signs and develops artists/songwriters and then licenses the use of an artist’s songs, collecting royalties on their behalf. People often get confused with the difference between the rights labels manage and the rights publishers manage. The way I think about it is an artist could write and record 1 song for their label then have 9 other artists/labels release cover versions of that song. A Publisher would collect money on all 10 of those recordings of the song, whereas a Record Label would only collect money on their 1 original recorded version. The Record Label collects royalties from the master recording they commission from their artist, the Publishing collects royalties from the song itself. Publishing is quite an admin-heavy job so there tend to be regular entry-level positions available. Working for a publisher is a good way to get into the music industry.

Links to major UK publishing companies:

BMG

Concord

Kobalt Music Publishing

Ministry Of Sound Publishing

Promised Land Publishing

Sony ATV

Universal Music Publishing

VLF Records

Warner Chappell Music

PROMOTER (AKA CONCERT PROMOTER)

The main job of a music promoter is to organise, book and publicise a concert or festival. Promoters are the people in charge of "putting on" the show. They work with agents and venues to arrange for a show to take place. This is a fun job if you enjoy events and socialising but it can also be stressful as promoters are the ones taking the financial risk on any concert or festival. Often the starting point for a promoter is to organise their own small scale events to gain experience before forming a company or joining a bigger promoter. 

Links to the largest UK concert promoters:

AEG/Golden Voice

Broadwick Live

Festival Republic

Kilimanjaro

Live Nation

One Inch Badge

SJM Concerts

PROMOTIONS/PLUGGER

Promotions is the third of the 'big 3 jobs (along with A&R and Marketing) at record labels and involves promoting (or plugging as it's sometimes known) records to radio, television and DSPs like Spotify, Apple, YouTube, Deezer and Amazon. It is traditionally a job for outgoing personalities who enjoy socialising and have the ability to sell a product but with streaming more and more the main focus of record labels it can also suit someone who loves statistics and data. 

Links to record label & indie plugger career pages:

Beggars Group

BMG

Brace Yourself

Plugged In

Sony Music

Three Thirty Music

Universal Music

VLF Records

Warner Music

Viaduct

Your Army

STAGE TECHNICIAN

A Stage Technician (sometimes broken down into guitar technician, drum technician etc) tends to the personal instruments and electronic equipment of the artist or band. They generally load the equipment from the van to the stage, set it up, tune guitars/basses/drums and see to every detail so that the artist or band can jump on stage and everything works. This job requires quite a broad range of knowledge on live music and musical instruments so that problems can be solved quickly but good stage technicians can expect regular work as it's not as competitive as front of house sound or monitor engineering. The way into Stage Teching is to contact the managers and tour managers of bands you like and offer to work as an assistant or trainee to begin with.

SYNC MANAGER

A Sync Manager works for a label, publisher or artist manager company trying to get music placed in TV shows, films and adverts. They are responsible for sourcing, developing and maintaining relationships with music supervisors and music agencies well as leading creative pitches and pushing for licensing work for their roster. Synch Manager is an increasingly important job at music companies but not one many people think of when applying to labels or management companies so it could sometimes be an easier way to get started than targeting A&R or Marketing roles. 

Links to major and larger indie record label career pages:

Beggars Group

BMG

Domino Records

Sony Music

Universal Music

VLF Records

Warner Music

Warp Records (jobs sometimes posted here)

TOUR MANAGER

A Tour Manager is the central component of a tour. Their job is to make sure everything runs smoothly, which usually means budgeting the tour, arranging travel plans, coordinating with venues/agents/promoters, managing money, facilitating media interactions and scoping out local services at each tour stop. Tour Managers work very long hours and are often the first up and last to bed on a tour so this job is not for the feint of heart. But if you find a band or artist you get on with it can be a hugely rewarding job for someone who enjoys project planning and looking after people. There is no formal training to become a Tour Manager, they often work their way up from Merch Seller/Technician or sideways from Engineer or Musician as their strengths as a touring professional become clear. 

OTHER USEFUL LINKS (more to be added):

Apprenticeships (Government Site where you can search for schemes)

BBC Introducing

BPI

CC Skills (Creative Cultural Skills training)

Cracking Ideas (A resource for intellectual property registration)

DiVA (Apprenticeships)

Girls I Rate (great resource and network for women wanting to get into the music industry)

Handle (a specialist music business recruitment agency)

Indaba X (An event series celebrating black excellence in the arts)

Internship Code of Practice

Music Business Worldwide (job listings)

Music Week (job listings)

PRS for Music (A songwriting collection society)

PPL (A performance rights collection society)

 

She Said (Women In Music Industry Network)
 

UK Music Apprenticeship Scheme

 

Urban Development (a great all-round music development organisation)

Women In Music (non-profit forum for women in music to network and connect)

Women In Live Music (resources and tools for women working in touring and live music)

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