Music Video Directing Job Outlook & Career Info

Mar 01, 2019

Music video directors produce films used by musicians to highlight songs. Read on to learn about the training and skills requirements, along with the salary expectations and employment outlook, to see if this profession is the right one for you.

Career Definition for a Music Video Director

Music video directors conceive and produce short films used by musicians and music groups to showcase their songs. Most music video directors start off small, producing videos for local or independent music groups; in doing so, one can amass a highlight reel and make connections that can lead to jobs with a higher profile. Degree programs focusing on film and video direction teach the basics needed to work as a music video director.

Education Film and video production programs at the associate, bachelor's or master's degree level
Job Skills Visual artistry, computer expertise, strong communication
Median Salary (2017)* $71,620 for directors and producers
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 12% for directors and producers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Most music video directors attend a film studies program at a college or university. Degrees of interest include an Associate of Science in Film and Video Production, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a focus in film and video production, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Video Production, and a Master of Fine Arts in Film and Video Production. In these programs, those interested in music video directing will learn about film history, photography, lighting, sound, screenwriting, computer science, and digital editing. The Director's Guild, a trade union, which represents film and video production employees, offers further training that may be useful for music video directors.

Skills Required

Music video directors must have a natural talent in visual artistry; being able to combine images with sound is an ability few have. Expertise in computers is also needed for a music video directing career, since almost all post-production work is now done by digital editing programs. Good music video directors are also strong communicators; giving direction to crew members and explaining ideas to musicians are the primary tasks in this profession.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 134,700 jobs existed for producers and directors of all kinds in May 2016. The BLS estimates that, from 2016 to 2026, job growth for producers and directors will be faster than average, at about 12%. As of May 2017, producers and directors who worked in motion picture and video industries earned a median annual salary of $71,620.

Alternate Career Options

Take a look at these other options in the film industry:

Film and Video Editor

Most of these editors have bachelor's degrees in fields related to broadcasting and film, in order to secure employment organizing images caught on film for final productions. Projected growth for this profession, from 2016-2026, was much faster than average, at 17%, the BLS reports. The median annual wage of film and video editors was $61,180 in May 2017.


Choreographers who create dances, choose music, audition dancers, teach complicated dance moves, and study new types of dances normally begin their careers as dancers, with many years of formal training. Slower-than-average job growth of 3% was expected for choreographers during the 2016-2026 decade, according to the BLS. The median hourly pay for these professionals was $23.28 in 2017, per the BLS.

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