High-Paying Music Careers: Options and Requirements

Sep 22, 2019

High-paying music careers are fiercely competitive and require industry connections and experience, in addition to varying degrees of formal education. Learn about education, career options and job outlook to see if this is the right career for you.

There are numerous high-paying professions that work behind the scenes of the music industry, including lawyers and public relations specialists. Lawyers play a crucial role by creating contracts to protect artists and other businesses involved in the production, distribution and sale of products. Public relations specialists schedule shows and public appearances for musicians and seek out opportunities where their client can reach their intended audience.

Essential Information

Within the music industry, several high-paying careers don't involve performing music. The infrastructure of the music industry includes lawyers, administrators and public relations specialists. Higher-paying careers in this industry can involve long hours and extensive travel. Obtaining insider knowledge about the music business through internships and entry-level positions is essential.

Career Lawyer Public Relations Specialist
Education Requirements Law degree Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Bar exams, experience and industry knowledge Experience and industry knowledge
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 6% (all industries) 6% (all industries)
Average Salary (2018)* $144,230 (all industries) $68,440

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

High-Paying Music Career Options

Music Business Lawyer

Lawyers are generally trained to help protect the rights of citizens and corporations. In the music industry where business and entertainment intersect, lawyers use their skills to advise their clients in business dealings, such as contractual agreements. Sometimes contracts are breached or need to be renegotiated in court. Music business lawyers would then represent their clients during the process. As of 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that lawyers, in general, earned an annual average salary of $144,230.

Public Relations Specialists

Professionals in the music industry rely on public relations (PR) specialists to set up appearances, write press releases and maintain the public image of a client. Many specialists spend time researching their clients' demographic to decide on the best ways to connect the client with the public. For example, if a country musician's demographic supports the military, a PR specialist may set up shows at military bases. Specialists in public relations earned an annual average salary of $68,440 in 2018, per the BLS.

Requirements for High-Paying Music Careers


Lawyers must earn an undergraduate degree as well as a law degree. Prospective music industry lawyers may major in music, or any one of many undergraduate majors that can help prepare students for law school, including criminal justice, English, philosophy or communications. Most law schools also require students to pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) prior to enrollment. Prospective law students may choose a Juris Doctor program with a set music and entertainment law focus, with courses related to the music business, such as intellectual property, contracts, international copyright and entertainment law.

Most organizations that hire PR specialists prefer applicants who possess a college degree related to communications or journalism. Someone who wants to work in the music industry might consider earning a minor in a music or music-business area. Bachelor's degree programs in communications include coursework such as mass communications, public speaking, media technologies and writing for the media. Prospective music PR specialists may choose electives geared toward public relations in the entertainment industry.

Licensing for Entertainment Lawyers

Lawyers can not legally practice law unless they have passed the state bar exam to earn their license. Some states require lawyers to take additional exams. Those practicing law in multiple states may need to pass each state's bar exam.

Certification for Music PR Specialists

After gaining work experience, PR specialists can earn industry credentials. For example, the Public Relations Society of America offers the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential program. Applicants must pass an exam that covers ten areas, including crisis management, ethics and media communications. After passing the exams and earning the APR, specialists must participate in continued education coursework to renew their credential every three years.

To prepare to work in the music business, lawyers may opt to take copyright law classes and studies related to intellectual property rights, while public relations specialists can opt to pursue APR certification. Lawyers are required to have a bachelor's degree, graduate from law school and pass the bar exam. Public relations specialists typically have a bachelor's degree in journalism or communications.

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