Career Info for a Degree in Musical Merchandising & Management

Sep 28, 2019

Musical merchandising and management professionals play a vital role in the promotion and sales of performing artists and their goods. They have several career options, in addition to working in retail sales. They can promote the professional musicians who employ them and secure recording contracts, schedule concerts, and arrange for vendors to sell merchandise.

Essential Information

The minimum requirement for those interested in studying musical merchandising and management is usually a bachelor's degree. After graduation, students can work as a retail salesperson and use their knowledge about different merchandise for their employer's unique product mix. Students wanting to advance in this industry can choose to train through NAMM or RPMDA organizations. These organizations give students access to conferences - helping them make important connections.

Career Artist Manager Promotions Manager Retail Salesperson
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Less than high school diploma
Job Growth (2018-2028)* 10% 3% 7%
Median Salary (2018)* $66,040 annually $117,130 annually $22,040 annually

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Students who get their bachelor's in musical merchandising and management can do many things in the music industry. Popular career options include roles as an artist manager, retail salesperson and promotions manager. Below are overviews and detailed descriptions of three possible options for musical merchandising and management majors.

Artist Manager

Managers who work with musical acts represent their clients to music venues and record companies. Job duties can include seeking work, negotiating contracts and collecting payments on their client's behalf. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 19,400 agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes were employed in the U.S., and these individuals earned a median annual salary of $66,040 as of May 2018 (

The North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents (NAPAMA) offers the Certified Performing Arts Executive (CPAE) credential. Pursing this credential takes 2-3 years and requires online studies, as well as on-site conferences at the University of New Orleans.

Promotions Manager

Promotions managers develop campaigns that seek to promote their clients or their clients' products. They work with designers, copywriters, sales staff and others to develop ways to introduce a musician or a music-related product to the public. The BLS noted that advertising and promotions managers earned a median annual salary of $117,130 as of May 2018. Jobs for advertising and promotions managers are expected to increase at a rate of 3% from 2018-2028.

According to the BLS, obtaining a bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for this position. Programs like the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Advertising Management or B.S. in Music Business can prepare students for this career. Promotions managers can also pursue the CPAE credential.

Retail Salesperson or Buyer

These professionals may work in stores that sell music recordings or musical instruments and sound gear. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for retail salespeople was $22,040 in 2015.

A buyer selects and negotiates the purchase of merchandise that wholesale or retail businesses sell to their customers. The BLS reported that the median annual salary of wholesale and retail buyers as of May 2015 was $52,940.

A bachelor's degree will prepare individuals for a career in musical merchandising and management. It's common for these professionals to study advertising management or to complete a degree in music business.

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