A University Student’s Quick Guide to Jobs in the Music Industry


Photo by: Victoria Walenga


You’re fresh out of college, or in your senior year and you have to start worrying about finding a job post-graduation. You know you want to work within the music industry, but you’re torn between what capacity. This guide is here to quickly inform you on some of the jobs that are present within the music industry in hopes of guiding you to your dream job.

  • Tour manager: 
    • Tour managers are in charge of scheduling, managing transportation for the band and crew, and some financial aspects of the artist’s time while out on the road. The main purpose of a tour manager is to ensure everything runs together seamlessly — along with communicating with promoters and those who work at the venues.
  • A&R coordinator:
    • There are many different job variations within the A&R field, but basic duties include: finding talent for the label, overseeing the completion of the signed artists’ albums, all while maintaining budgets for artists, etc.
  • Promoter: 
    • A promoter typically works for a venue or an independent agency that focuses on organizing and booking talent for shows. A promoter typically focuses on getting bodies into the door, securing the venue, and marketing the event to the public. This is usually done through social media, flyers, videos, and other tactics.
  • Booking agent & Talent Buyer:
    • Similar to a promoter, a booking agent focuses on setting and negotiating deals and planning tours for bands on their roster — or negotiating deals to get a tour to come to a certain venue.
  • Publicist: 
    • A publicist focuses on certain bands and carefully filters the information that is released to the public. Along with handling press conferences, press releases, and typical tour information. This job is more focused on PR and the impression of the band that is perceived by the fans.
  • Event Photographer:
    • An event photographer can be freelance, work for an independent agency or a label. The purpose of an event photographer is to capture every moment of the tour in order to engage the fans and provide documentation that can later be used as tactics.

These are some of the most popular jobs in the music industry today. Sadly there isn’t a step-by-step guide to assist you in landing one of these jobs. Hard work, determination, and knowledge of the industry can position you in front of your peers who are seeking the same position.



Band into Brand: DIY Music Public Relations

To many people, the music industry PR world might seem a bit intimidating, fast-paced and overall, scary. Don’t get me wrong, it is all of the above– but in order to take a step out of the norm, you need to take creative risks to develop your band into a brand. There are many artists out there who don’t have the support of a label behind them, along with money to pay a professional publicist. This leaves the band to promote and create content themselves, and sometimes, that can be very daunting!

Four years ago I started my endeavor in the local music industry: hanging flyers, promoting shows, writing blogs, reviewing albums, interviewing bands, photographing shows etc. Ever since I’ve been mentally compiling a list of my personal (and other’s) advice on how to promote yourself/your band to the music industry world. Don’t be fooled, I’m not a music industry “know it all” but I do know a few things here and there, hopefully, these three tips help you develop your brand into something you are proud of.

Social Media Presence:

Make a social media account on all platforms possible, this includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Snapchat, Flickr, Bandcamp, and Soundcloud. The main content should concentrate on your story and your overall brand. What makes you different than the other local bands in the a

Photo by: Victoria Walenga

rea? Your content should have a personality and a sense of humor, don’t be afraid to engage with your listeners through these platforms. According to a study by Salo, Lankinen and Mäntymäki (2013) content is key when driving artist awareness and user engagement: “Access to content is an extremely important consumer motive for using social media in the music business.” (p.37) You should include pictures that have been taken at shows (professional or from the crowd, personalized videos of your band while practicing or backstage at a show, positive messages about your music genre, or post a letter from a fan). Though, content is broad and exciting, sharing your brand story should be at the top of your list (Friedman, 2014). Utilizing these platforms is important to engaging all listeners and gaining new fans through a personable and positive social media presence.


Media Relations: 

Media contacts are very important when you are releasing new material, going on tour, making a music video or if you want to be featured for publicity. When sending emails and messages proof-read, proof-read, proof-read before you hit the ‘send’ button. This is very important, and it only takes one mistake for an occupied staff member or writer to delete your message. When contacting make sure to include some information about your brand and why you are reaching out to them (interview, review, feature story, new material etc.). Developing relationships and networking with media writers/staff members are very useful once you get to know each other.. one relationship leads to another.. and another and another.

Low-Budget Show Promotion:

Finally, you’ve landed a show opening for a touring band that is coming to your town. Months of practice and writing has led you to this point– and without cash. Promoting the event almost seems impossible, but have no fear! There are effective ways to promote the show while on an artist budget. First, postering, yes, I said it, postering. They are relatively cheap to print and very effective if the design is good-looking and has all the necessary information (Trumbull, 2016). This can be the difference between someone looking at the poster for a split-second, or actually stopping to take the event into consideration. Next, social media, create an event and promote, promote, promote, but don’t waste all your efforts on Facebook, jump on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr! The goal is to attract anyone and everyone to attend the show– choose your favorite content and create something unique to make people clear their schedules to join you.

Sure all of these methods won’t help you become a top-40 band overnight, but when combined and utilized together they have the potential to expand your audience and bring a couple more bodies to the venue door. Be creative with your messages, research what some bigger bands are doing and apply your own spin off their content. Don’t get caught up in the do’s and dont’s because at the end of the day this is your brand, and it’s important to take risks and build something you are excited about.

Friedman, S., (2014, December 29). How to perfect your band’s social media strategy: the 70-20-10 rule. Retrieved March 21, 2016, from http://blog.sonicbids.com/how-to-perfect-your-bands-social-media-strategy-the-70-20-10-social-media-rule

Salo, J., Lankinen, M., & Mäntymäki, M. (2013). The Use of Social Media for Artist Marketing: Music Industry Perspectives and Consumer Motivations. JMM: The International Journal On Media Management, 15(1), 23-41. doi:10.1080/14241277.2012.755682

Trumbull, T., (2016, March 11). 5 effective ways for cash-strapped musicians to promote their gigs. Retrieved March 21, 2016, from http://blog.sonicbids.com/5-effective-ways-for-cash-strapped-musicians-to-promote-their-gigs