Music Jobs in the Film Industry

Jan 19, 2020

Most, if not all, films include music of some kind and require several different individuals working music-related jobs. Learn about a few music careers in the film industry, including their job duties, education requirements and median salaries.

Music Career Options in the Film Industry

Music is an important part of the storytelling process in film productions, and therefore this therefor there are several different kinds of musical job options in this industry. These careers vary in how they use or involve music, but all come together to make a movie with great music and sound effects. Here we discuss some of the available music career options in the film industry.

Job Title Median Salary Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Musicians and Singers $28.15 (median hourly wage, 2018) * 0% (Little to no change)
Music Directors $39,841 (2019)** 1%
Choreographers $47,800 (2018)* -3% (Decline)
Sound Engineering Technicians $52,390 (2018)* 2%
Composers $40,963 (2019)** 1%

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics **

Career Information for Music Jobs in the Film Industry

Musicians and Singers

Musicians and singers are the professionals who perform and/or record the music for films. They may sing or play various instruments, like piano, guitar, violin or trumpet, to perform music in a variety of styles, such as classical, jazz, hip-hop, rock and country. These artists must practice their instrument and participate in rehearsals to ensure a quality performance. Musicians and singers do not need a formal education, but many, especially those who perform classical music or opera, hold at least a bachelor's degree.

Music Directors

Music directors, also called conductors, lead musical groups, like orchestras, during recording sessions or performances for films. They may help select musical arrangements for the production, review the musical scores, choose soloists and oversee rehearsals. Music directors must practice their conducting to ensure that the musicians or singers can follow their lead through a piece. Music directors may need a bachelor's or master's degree, as well as work experience, depending on the position.


While not as directly related to music, music is still an important part in a choreographer's job as these professionals must create intricate dances and movements to music in a movie. They may have input as to what music is used and then interpret the music to create dances that help tell the story of the film. Choreographers audition dancers and then teach the dancers the various steps and routines. They typically begin their career as dancers who undergo years of formal training and education requirements vary upon position.

Sound Engineering Technicians

Sound engineering technicians are an important part of the music included in films, as they edit and mix the music. These technicians use computers and complex sound equipment to record the music and then edit it and add sound effects as needed. Sound engineering technicians also have to synchronize the sounds and voices with what is visually happening in the movie. They usually need a postsecondary certificate or associate's degree.


Composers may be called in to write original music for films to be performed by orchestras, choirs or other musical groups. They may also be asked to rearrange existing music and/or write lyrics for songs. Composers are usually well versed in a variety of musical styles and may be present during recordings or performances of the music to offer advice and ideas. Classical composers typically have a bachelor's or master's degree, but other composers may not need a formal education.

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