Music Career Paths

It is important to consider your next move, once you have completed your studies at Riverside. The technical and transferable skills that you will gain will enable the immediate entry into employment and also allow articulation onto university level degree programmes.

The main aspect of this role is to look to find new artists for the label. The Artist and Repertoire Coordinator works with the artist and repertoire director. As well as being able to communicate with the artists, the role includes administration and budgeting for recording and creative assets. The A&R Coordinator should be keeping up to date with the latest artists and listen to different genres of music.

A main aspect of the Artist and Repertoire Director’s role is to source new up and coming artists, which can involve attending gigs, festivals and listening to tracks. From finding the right label, to sourcing the right producers and studio engineers, the director’s decisions will help the artist to achieve their creative vision for their album or single.

The Artist is the musical performer, and they are the creative drive behind their work. This career involves touring, promoting, writing and collaborating with other musicians. They might write their own compositions or work with a songwriter, and their music can be recorded and released either independently or through a label. Music is their source of income, so it is useful for musicians to have a knowledge of music business, especially when negotiating contracts with labels. Music labels can help with organising album recording and promotion, for a negotiated percentage of the profits.

The Artist Liaison works closely with the artist and oversees their day to day schedule. This role requires strong organisational skills, as they must liaison with the artist’s associated organisation and other outside organisations. They are responsible for making sure that the artist is where they are supposed to be according to their schedule, and that they are prepared for any events, appointments and meetings.

The Artist Relations Manager usually works for a record label, and they are employed to work with the artist to finds opportunities to enhance their career. This can be through methods such as endorsements, collaborations, and growing their fan base.

The Backline Technician is responsible for preparing the artist’s instruments for their performances. They will have the knowledge to tune, maintain and set up a range of different instruments for the band, and they will also pack them away at the end of each performance.

A Commercial Band is a group of musicians who perform for private functions. The groups might be suited to different events such as ceilidhs, weddings, parties and corporate functions. Their repertoire is tailored to these events and could include covers of popular songs and melodies.

A Games Composer writes musical scores for video games. They must have a strong understanding of the game and the storyline and use this to create music which adds to the players game experience. Games Composers can be paid royalties after the release of the game, so profit can be made from royalties by writing a memorable game soundtrack.

Instrument Manufacturers design and make instruments, and usually specialise in making certain ones, such as stringed instruments, drum kits, etc. Some manufacturers also offer restorations, instrument repairs, and commercial products such as strings and rosin. The production scale can range from a small independent workshop to a larger manufacturer.

The Label Manager’s role is to oversee all album production at their label. This can include making key decisions about several albums being made at the same time, so they must be able to multi-task different projects and work to deadlines. The Label Manager will be involved in areas such as recording, contracts, album design, and the budget.

The Licensing Rep’s role is to pitch music from their associated music publishing company or record label to media industry contacts, especially in the television and film industry. Licenses are required for music in film trailers, television shows and adverts etc, so once a pitch is chosen, the Licensing Rep would coordinate with the artist and their label to arrange a license for their music.

A Lyricist’s role is to write lyrics for songs. This could involve writing songs with or for an artist, for which the lyricist would need to have a strong understanding of the artist’s style and brand. This role isn’t just to write for artists, it can also involve writing lyrics for television, film, musicals and adverts.

The mastering engineer will be the last person adjusting audio for an album, and their role is to process the tracks so that they can be played on multiple platforms. Technology is the music industry is constantly changing, so the mastering engineer must be able to prepare the album for release on several formats from vinyl to online distribution.

The mixing engineer works within the recording studio, and their role is to take the recorded tracks and balance the overall sound into a final mix. They will be making sure that the different tracks are suitably balanced, and they will be working with the artist and the producer to achieve the desired overall sound for the track.

A music blogger writes about music usually from a specific genre and with a focus on new artists, albums and events. Artist’s management look to invite music bloggers to events for free, with the hope that their blog will expand the artist’s fanbase. Music bloggers will have a good writing style, a strong understanding about their music genre, and be up to date with new releases.

As the title suggests, the musical director’s role is to lead the musical performance of a group of musicians of a group or individual. They usually have experience on several instruments and have a strong understanding of the musical score or piece that is going to be performed.

A music journalist covers any stories relating to the music industry. They write articles that can feature new album releases, music awards and concert reviews, so they need to be keeping up to date with industry events and plan ahead where possible. This role can involve working with photographers, publicists, artists and their management, and the publishing editor. Music journalists can write articles as a freelancer, or for outlets such as websites, podcasts and print.

The music producer works with the artist throughout the creative process for their new music. Their role ensures that the overall sound is on-brand for the artist and that the record reaches its potential. They advise and make decisions for the structure and content for songs and pieces, and how this is recorded in the studio.

Music Publishers create music for commercial use. Songwriters are hired to create demos, which are then pitched to artists and their labels. Licensing reps are also employed to pitch the music to media organisations such as for adverts, television and film.

A Music Sync Editor is responsible for syncing music for film. They will work closely with the director, composer and producers to ensure that the music enhances the action on-screen. Click Tracks can be designed by the Music Sync Editors to keep the musicians at the right tempo to accompany the film.

Private music tutors are specialists on their instrument, and they will be able to teach individuals at a range of abilities and ages. Teaching may be one-to-one or in a group, and the tutor will plan lessons to gradually improve their pupil’s playing ability. This role can involve lots of travelling and also working during the evening and weekends.

The Production Manager oversees the production of a performance or tour. This can involve arranging contracts for areas such as transport, staging, lighting and rigging. They will be responsible for the technical crew and will travel early with them to venues to set up the stage and technical equipment.

Production Writers create music and write songs to be licensed or bought by a production music library for commercial use. The production writer will share a percentage of the profits with the production music library, and their music will be used in media such as film, television and advertising.

Artists tours and performances are organised by promoters, from small venues to stadium tours. The promoters will work with the artist’s management to arrange a contract, and from there they will book a venue and advertise the event.

Radio broadcasters hosts their radio shows, and usually play a selection of music with chat in-between songs. Depending on the type of show, they might also include interviews, live music sessions, news and travel updates, and competitions. Some broadcasters look to play new releases, so emerging artists can send in tracks to be played to a wider audience.

A recording engineer is responsible for how a track is recorded in the studio. They will have the technical knowledge to use the best microphone set up and positioning to capture the best sound for each instrument. They will also make sure that instruments are being recorded at the correct level, and that the quality of the recording is the best it can be.

Rehearsal rooms can be hired out by the owner for musicians to practise in. The quality of facilities can vary, but rooms usually include sound equipment and additional equipment to hire. It isn’t always easy to practise music at home, so the rooms are usually sound treated which allows the musicians to rehearse in an environment similar to being on stage without receiving any complaints from neighbours!

Music Teachers are employed at primary schools and high schools. They will usually be able to play several instruments and teach both theory and practical music skills. This role involves teaching a range of ages, and they prepare students in later years of high school for their music exams (Nat 5, Higher or Advanced Higher in Scotland). They might also organise extra-curricular activities for the students such as a choir, string group or orchestra.

Session musicians are hired to accompany an artist for a performance or recording session. They will be experienced musicians who can learn quickly and perform arrangements with limited rehearsal time. Production companies, music producers and labels are some of the businesses that regularly employ session musicians for their music.

Songwriters write the lyrics for new songs, either for themselves or for a publisher. Whether it’s for a new hit song or the backing song for an advert, the songwriter will have a creative talent to write for about different subjects in a way the public can relate to. They might work individually and write the melody too, or with others who will work on the music for it.

Sound designers create sounds for a variety of productions such as theatre, video games, and film to make it as immersive as possible for the consumer. It might relate to locations, dialogue, actions, transport, animals, and weapons. The sound designers will record original sounds and mix them with a digital audio workstation to create the desired effect.

Sound engineers work on live music performances to set up the sound equipment and control the audio levels from a sound desk. The music from the speakers can be affected by things like the position of the microphones, the type of microphones, and how much of an echo there is in the venue. They adjust elements such as the EQ and balance sound levels between instruments on stage to create the best possible sound for the audience.

The stage manager is responsible for any activities on the stage. They are present at performances and rehearsals, and they work with the technical crew and staff working backstage to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Performances, especially for music festivals, run to a tight schedule and part of this role is making sure that everything happens on time. Stage managers could be employed by a theatre, music venue or music festival.

The Systems Technician will be employed by an indoor or outdoor venue to ensure that their PA systems and technical equipment is running smoothly. They are also responsible for the maintenance and testing of the equipment. System technicians often work closely with the sound engineers for setting up and using the equipment.

Hire companies rent out a range of equipment such as microphones, speakers, monitor, and sound desks. It is especially useful for musicians who need to rent equipment for one gig or a tour without needing to purchase the equipment. Depending on the size of the company, they may also offer instruments, sound engineers and tour buses.

The Tour Manager oversees all the logistics on tour such as the schedule, transport, liaising with venues, and the budget. It is their responsibility to make sure everything happens to schedule and running smoothly. It helps to be highly organised and able to foresee any problems that could arise.

Further/ Higher Education Music Tutors work within colleges or universities and usually for a specific course. They will already be experienced musicians and may have completed a degree related to music or teaching. The tutors could teach a range of different subjects or modules, including music business, performance, history and music theory.

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