Music Executive: Job Description, Duties and Career Requirements

Oct 04, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a music executive. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and prospects to find out if this is the career for you.

Music executives are producers, marketers, or managers, and they need to have skills in business and music technology. In general, a music executive should have some musical talent and industry experience, and a bachelor's degree may be advantageous.

Essential Information

Music executives may hold a variety of job titles in the music industry, including producer, marketer, talent manager, business manager or sales manager. Some may work in a studio to help shape an artist's sound through coaching and guidance, while those involved in the business side of music may handle financial transactions, marketing materials, concert promotions or copyright issues.

Required Education No formal required minimum
Other Requirements Bachelor's degree in music business helpful
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 6% for top executives
Median Salary (2018)* $189,600 annually for chief executives

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description and Duties of a Music Executive

A music producer is involved in discovering talent, choosing the songs that an artist records for an album, ensuring that recording projects stay on budget and scheduling studio musicians for recording sessions. Music producers work directly with artists in recording studios, while using technology to adjust the tones of voices and instruments. Music executives may also own their own record labels or be employed as presidents or vice presidents at record labels. A music executive involved in marketing may keep track of music markets and report record sales to record labels and trade publications.

Career and Salary Information for a Music Executive

Because of the wide range of jobs for music executives, it's difficult to pinpoint their average salary. An executive may work at a renowned record label, or they may own a small indie label with few employees and minimal sales. While a music executive in marketing and management may have a set salary, music producers make a significant amount of money from music and retail sales, according to The Princeton Review.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that jobs for top executives in general will increase 6% from 2018-2028 ( It also reported that people working as chief executives earned a median salary of $189,600 in 2018.

Career Requirements for a Music Executive

Music executives must have a combination of natural talent and professional training. Executives who search for musical talent should have a natural ability to spot marketable talent, as well as the creative ability to nurture talent. Those involved in the creation of music should have a good ear for music and the ability to play an instrument. They should also be proficient with recording equipment, sound-editing software and related technology. Business skills are valuable, because executives spend much of their time managing various aspects of the music business. Finally, a successful music executive understands consumer demand and recognizes music trends.

Education Requirements

Music executives come from a variety of educational backgrounds, since there is no minimum requirement to get started in the field, but they all need a solid understanding of music and business administration. At the bachelor's degree level, aspiring executives can enroll in a Bachelor of Arts program in music business, music industry management or general management with a concentration in music business. While each program differs, most will provide courses related to copyright laws, music publishing, branding, management and accounting. Most programs also offer internships - which are critical to finding work in the business - and many schools offer the opportunity to network with music industry professionals at music conventions, concerts and trade shows.

Aspiring executives interested in music production can enroll in a bachelor's degree program in music production or music technology. To enter these programs, students must submit what is known as a demo project to show their music skills, and they must have experience in musical performance. In these 4-year programs, students study music theory, music recording techniques, recording equipment and music production. Some schools have students work in groups to complete these projects. Additionally, enrollees may have to complete internships or perform in school-sponsored programs.

Music executives hold senior positions in marketing, producing, and talent recruitment, and require music skills as well as business experience. A bachelor's degree program can offer an education and internship that would be beneficial in this career, and would cover subjects like recording, branding and accounting. Top executives, in general, can expect as fast as average job growth throughout the 2018-2028 decade.

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