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The Highest-Paying Music Jobs and How To Land Them

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

What are the highest-paying music jobs?The highest-paying music jobs

Guide Overview

The highest-paying music jobs

The highest-paying music jobs tend to be careers that require both formal education and experience. But, if you have a passion for music and want to earn a good income, you can find music industry jobs that pay well. Evaluating the highest-paying music jobs, as well as the requirements of each, can help you plan your career in music. In this article, we discuss the music careers that pay well, with steps you can follow to pursue each one.

What are the highest-paying music jobs?

Not all music jobs pay high salaries. But, if you have a passion for music and know where to look, you can find a job doing what you like while also earning a nice income. The highest-paying music jobs are often in high demand, so once you develop the necessary skills and training, you can find a career that is both fulfilling and rewarding.

Learn more: 18 Songs, Artists, Playlists, & Albums to Get You in the Zone at Work

The highest-paying music jobs

The best-paying music jobs often require you to have certain training and experience. Here are some of the highest-paying music jobs:

Audio engineer

Average base pay: $34,922 per year

Audio engineers are responsible for ensuring audio sounds good, whether they are working for a live performance venue or creating sounds for a video game. They work with machines to record sounds, add special effects, and overlay voices or words. They might also manipulate sounds to meet the needs and purpose of the performance or video.

Becoming an audio engineer usually requires individuals to have at least an associate degree. However, many audio engineers pursue a bachelor’s degree to improve their earning potential. Classes in sound engineering teach aspiring audio engineers how to improve sounds and videos. Many aspiring audio engineers begin their careers working as assistants to established audio engineers before eventually working alone.


Average base pay: $40,801 per year

Singers can work in many areas, including at concert halls, in bands, or at nightclubs. They might work on a contract basis or part-time for a venue. Singers use their vocal skills to perform before audiences. They might perform their own songs or cover well-known tunes. Some singers work primarily on their own as solo performers, while others choose to sing as part of a band.

Becoming a singer and its associated requirements vary depending on where you want to work. Some singers get discovered while volunteering or working in small venues. However, to work as a singer at a large concert hall, you might need formal training. While some aspiring singers choose to enroll in an associate or bachelor’s degree program, others opt to take formal singing lessons.

Music director

Average base pay: $41,783 per year

Music directors direct upcoming musical performances. They work with each of the members of a musical group to lead them in a collaborative, synchronous performance. They might also be involved in designing performances and casting performers. They schedule auditions and evaluate the performer’s potential skills to choose the best talent. Some directors are also involved in promoting the upcoming performance to attendees.

Becoming a music director requires at least a bachelor’s degree. Many aspiring music directors pursue studies in music theory or composition. Some choose to pursue a master’s degree. If you want to work as a music director in a school or college, then you might also need teaching certifications, which require a bachelor’s degree.

Music teacher

Average base pay: $43,740 per year

Music teachers teach music lessons to children (and sometimes adults) of all ages. They might teach young students to recognize music tempos and types. With older children in middle or high school, they might teach music history or instruct students to work with different instruments. Some music teachers might also offer their services by leading the vocal club or choir.

Becoming a music teacher starts with completing teacher education. This requires a bachelor’s degree in education. During a bachelor’s program, an aspiring music teacher will complete an internship in music. They might work closely with another music teacher. Once they have completed all teaching requirements and certifications for the state in which they want to teach, they are eligible to work as a music teacher.

Learn more: How to Increase Your Income as a Teacher

Music therapist

Average base pay: $44,577 per year

Music therapists use their musical skills to help patients overcome or manage mental health difficulties. They might help patients use music to improve their mental health, communication skills, and cognitive abilities. They assess a patient’s needs, determine a treatment plan, and then work with them while guiding and showing them how to implement music into their overall recovery.

Becoming a music therapist often requires at least a bachelor’s degree. Some therapists might also pursue a master’s degree in music therapy. Then they complete an internship, specifically working with patients in a clinical setting using music therapy. Many employers also require music therapists to pass a test prepared by the Certification Board for Music Therapists.

Artist manager

Average base pay: $46,292 per year

Artist managers work closely with performers to help them land musical jobs. They often have good connections with other professionals in the music industry, so they can easily book clients. They are also often involved in the marketing of artists. They might create flyers and help local venues advertise upcoming performances at which their clients are performing.

Becoming an artist manager requires good networking skills. For this reason, some artist managers have formal training, whereas others might have a background of working in the music industry. Some artist managers have an associate or bachelor’s degree in music. Others come from a background in promoting.

Learn more: Are You Ready to Become a Manager?

Music professor

Average base pay: $56,481 per year

Music professors teach music at the college level. They might teach a wide variety of topics, including music history, the psychology of music, musicology, or genres of music. Some professors might also specialize in certain types of music, such as opera, orchestra, performance, or general music topics. Professors will plan lessons and teach students through instruction. They might work with students who are pursuing careers in music or with students who are taking music lessons as electives. Some music professors might also oversee performances.

Becoming a music professor requires a minimum of a master’s degree. However, some colleges require professors to have a doctorate degree. Many have a degree in music, followed by internship experience in the industry.

Music producer

Average base pay: $74,627 per year

Music producers work closely with performers to create songs. They spend most of their time in the studio, collaborating with singers to combine sounds and audio cues to create appealing soundtracks. They are responsible for creating content and fine-tuning performances to ensure they sound clear and pleasant to the audience.

Becoming a music producer requires good musical skills and formal training. Some music producers choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree while working in an entry-level position in the music industry. During school, they will pursue an internship working with the type of music they want to produce. In the meantime, they will continue to work on their music-producing skills.


Average base pay: $83,046 per year

Choreographers create dance routines for performances. They work with dancers, singers, or other performers to create performances that are visually and audibly appealing. They might also work with other team members, such as voice coaches or sound engineers, to improve the overall performance. A choreographer might find employment planning dance routines for ballet musicals, concerts, band performances, or even corporate events.

Becoming a choreographer often depends on the industry in which you want to work. Some choreographers can find employment with years of choreography experience. Other hiring managers, however, might require formal training. Aspiring choreographers can enroll in an associate or bachelor’s degree program. They might decide to receive specialized training in an area of interest such as ballet or lyrical.

Band manager

Average base pay: $103,124 per year

Band managers oversee bands of other artistic professionals. They manage day-to-day aspects of the band, including scheduling tours, creating practice schedules, and organizing travel plans. They might also negotiate compensation for tours and performances. Some band managers are also involved in seeking and signing record deals for the band.

Becoming a band manager requires individuals to have a good understanding of the music industry. Bands often turn to their managers to maintain an organized and efficient schedule. They might also look for consultation regarding payment fees and contracts. Some band managers have a bachelor’s degree. However, specific requirements will vary based on the needs of the band.

Whatever your musical passions and interests, you can find the perfect high-paying career to pursue. Check out the Glassdoor job search to find some of the highest-paying music jobs.

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