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Music Merchandiser: Overview of Music Merchandising Career Education

Sep 30, 2019

Music merchandising degree programs combine the study of music and business, and are geared toward professionals wanting to enter the music industry. Courses in music merchandising programs could include music history, performance, music theory, marketing, economics, or sales, among other topics. Graduates could pursue a career as a buyer or purchasing agent or sales representative in the music industry.

Essential Information

Music merchandising education programs offer aspiring music industry professionals the opportunity to study music while also developing an understanding of the business world. Academic programs may be found at the certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree levels, and they vary in scope; typically, they offer strong training in marketing and sales in addition to musical theory and performance. Some job options in music merchandising are described below, including one that requires a degree in the field and another that's more training-focused.

Career Titles Purchasing Agent or Buyer Sales Representative
Required Education Bachelor's degree is typical High school diploma plus on-the-job training at minimum; bachelor's degree programs available
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 7% decline for buyers and purchasing agents 2% for all sales and wholesale manufacturing representatives
Median Salary (2018)* $62,750 for buyers and purchasing agents $58,510 for sales and wholesale manufacturing representatives (except for scientific and technical products)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Music Merchandising Education

Music merchandising degree programs often combine training in music as well as business to prepare students for jobs in the music industry. These programs allow students to develop their musical skills and talent while also providing an education in business principles that they can use in a variety of music industry careers.

Curriculum

In addition to requiring students to complete general studies courses required of all college students, the curriculum for music merchandising degree programs are a blend of music and business courses. Schools differ in their course offerings and requirements, but courses offered as part of a music merchandising degree program may include:

  • Music theory
  • Performance training
  • Music history and literature
  • Economics
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Social Media

Career Options

Music merchandising professionals often work as buyers or sellers of music products and equipment. Both of the career options described below require an undergraduate degree or lower.

Purchasing Agent

Purchasing agents, also known as buyers, work on behalf of businesses to source merchandise and negotiate its purchase. Someone with a music merchandising degree may work for a retail music store or a music department within a larger retail establishment. He or she would be responsible for selecting recordings, instruments or other music-related goods that would be sold to customers. In addition, he or she would be responsible for negotiating favorable terms on behalf of his or her employer.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a job decline of 7% for buyers and purchasing agent jobs between 2018 and 2028 and also noted that growth will vary across the myriad industries in which purchasing agents work. Unfortunately, the BLS didn't have specific job growth data on buyers who work in the music industry. The median annual salary for buyers and purchasing agents was $62,750 as of May 2018.

Sales Representative

A sales representative works on behalf of manufacturers or wholesalers of goods, approaching retailers about selling his or her employer's products. In the music industry, this would include recordings, music merchandise, instruments and sound gear.

The BLS states that the median annual wage for sales representatives was $58,510 as of May 2018 and expects the number of sales jobs to increase by 2% between 2018 and 2028.

Working as a purchasing agent or in sales are two options within the music merchandising field. A degree in music merchandising, which combines the study of music with business, would be a related degree for entering a career along either of these paths.

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