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Become a Music Executive: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn about a career as a music executive in this video. Discover the job duties, education options and training requirements to make an informed decision about starting a career in the field of music business management.

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Should I Become a Music Executive?

Although music executives complete many different tasks, one of their main duties includes producing chart-topping music. To accomplish this task, music executives must understand and keep up with the ever-changing music industry. They must also be able to find and motivate upcoming musicians.

Most music executives perform many managerial duties. For example, they find new talent and set-up recording schedules. They may also offer musicians advice on song choice and style. Music executives often reserve sessions with recording studios, arrange for backup musicians and participate in the editing process of each song. Many music executives also work on marketing campaigns to increase record sales.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Associate's or bachelor's degree depending on access to internship opportunities or other experience
Degree Field Business, music technology
Key Skills Entertainment law, musical styles, recording equipment, talent management, marketing
Salary (2014) $173,320 yearly (mean salary for all chief executives)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Obtain Education and Training

According to the Princeton Review, there are not many degree programs that provide adequate training for this profession (www.princetonreview.com). Music executives need business training to learn about legal contracts, negotiations and communication strategies, and different music styles. Music executives generally require some technical knowledge about recording equipment, such as synthesizers, mixers, microphones and recording software programs.

Individuals can choose to earn an associate degree in fields such as business, talent management, music business and music technology. Earning a bachelor's degree in any of these fields may help music executives get job opportunities, but experience with finding and marketing new talent is paramount in progressing in the music industry.

Step 2: Obtain an Entry-Level Position

Besides going to college, individuals can also gain training in the music industry through entry-level positions. Intern positions might be an easy way to get into the business, but not all internships are paid. Music executive assistant positions can provide ample training with becoming a music executive, but the work environment may be fast-paced and stressful.

Step 3: Gain Experience

After getting into the industry through entry-level positions, workers need to be willing to take on new projects and gain more experience. By working with seasoned music executives, individuals can develop the skills they need to identify good investments, communicate with musicians and promote new albums.

Step 4: Consider Additional Training

Graduate degree and certificate programs related to the music industry or music business management may help music executives obtain more training. Coursework may include music acquisitions, artist management, production process strategies, merchandising and legal issues. Executives should focus their growth on areas such as tour management, music licensing, public relations and global music management. Most importantly, music executives must continue to gain experience in the field, network with other top executives, and develop successful artists who will help further their careers.

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