“Yay, I’m passionate about music, this career sounds perfect!”, I thought.
Thoroughly researching the music production career however made me see both sides of the story… There’s a very fine line between this career bringing you joy and success and it leaving you broke and turning you into someone as alone and depressed as Boo Radley. How you manage your career determines which side you end up on.
By some happy coincidence I met a friend today who is a part time aspiring music producer so he could give me a little more insight into this career.
A music producers main duties are: Recording, remixing or creating music on digital format, promoting their careers by maintaining a website or social media presence etc., and travelling to perform their music at venues such as night clubs or weddings.
Personality and skills required for this position:
Discipline, dedication, musical talent, creativity, interpersonal and promotional skills (this is important as you will need to promote yourself and develop good connections). Physical stamina is needed for performance. It’s very important that you effectively manage your time- a current music producer suggests getting out of your music studio/ bedroom often for breaks and staying faithful to exercise.
How to break into this career:
No specific qualifications are required. It is in a music producers interest to study and get qualifications. A sound engineering degree or a bachelor’s degree in music theory or performance are common qualifications a music producer would have.
Once job hunting, one is typically required to submit recordings or audition in person, and sometimes must do both.
Many music producers choose to be self employed and find success through promoting themselves digitally via websites, social media etc.
Either way building up a portfolio of your work is a crucial part to being recognized and finding success.
Music producers who wish to perform typically find jobs by attending auditions or arranging their own performances. They may employ an agent to help them find jobs and performance opportunities.
The working hours:
In studio production sessions are usually held during regular business hours, but live performances are most often at night and on weekends.
A highly varying statistic. However, in the United States the average annual salary was $48,330 or an hourly wage of $23.24. Where I live, in South Africa, the unfortunate average yearly pay is R 103,846.
-If you are self employed the hours are flexible.
-In many cases, especially as music technology is drastically improving, the only thing you need to use to produce is a laptop and you can do this anywhere. Fancy a restaurant/music production session?
-This job potentially allows you to travel, a lot.
-It is a very passionate career and you get to meet many passionate people.
-You have creative control
-Very high competition
-The projected job growth for this career is below average.
-If self employed not even the slightest bit of success is guaranteed.
-Work can be inconsistent, careers in music are notorious for being financially unstable.
My conclusion and rating on this career:
The possibility of financial instability is very daunting indeed… I think one has to have a true passion for making music to survive this career. One thing is certain though, if you’ve taken the risk in pursuing this career chances are you are following your dream instead of living in your comfort zone. I’m a sucker for following your dreams so I give this career an 8/10.