Careers in Music

With college starting in few months there may be some people that are thinking about a career in the music business. Some people will definitely try to get into this field. Others have thought about it and yet some don't realize it but they will end up with some form of major or minor degree in music.

Here's a little help from us at Rock House. Over the next several week we will be giving you some tid-bits about different career fields in music. I don't think there is anything more satisfying than music. Why not think about a career in a field that you get total happiness from.



Music law as it is practiced today involves a heavy emphasis on copyright and contract relationships between creative people and users of music in popular and standard areas. Typical of a day's work are the negotiation of a recording artist contract between an artist and recording company; a long-term management or agent agreement; a termination or amendment of a previous agreement; a musical synchronization license from music publisher to motion picture company; and assertion through audit (in conjunction with accountants) of royalty claims of a composer against a music publisher.

When considering the role of lawyers in music careers, it should be noted that the most problems and business opportunities involve the extension of the performer and creator beyond the setting of the concert hall. Most music lawyers express an ignorance of the musician's trade in the writing and performing of music, but those with some music training are obviously a step ahead. Most music lawyers spend little time in court. Litigation is but an extension of negotiation by other means. Music lawyers are a small community of specialists who exist in an environment where negotiated settlements serve client interests better than often costly and delayed litigation.

The small music bar is centered largely in New York City and Beverly Hills. Some music lawyers are in corporate legal departments such as those of record companies, licensing societies (ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC), and publishers, but most are in small firms or individual practices.


The basic challenge of the community arts manager is to integrate fully the arts into the social and economic fabric of his or her community. In a fiscal environment of competing priorities, the arts program must serve real needs and get a response from a strong constituency or it will not survive long. The manager must identify the various segment of a community, whether business, educational, youth, political, or religious. He or she must determine their needs and interests, and incorporate these values and needs into a viable program. The manager must, therefore, possess some working knowledge of governmental and community processes and be able to translate the benefits and the needs of the arts into concepts that are easily grasped by these community forces.

The job requires skills and knowledge directly related to the arts. A particular position, for instance, may require a broad understanding of music, a knowledge of the operational dynamics of a symphony orchestra, experience with artist and trade unions, and a working knowledge of stage facilities. It depends on the specifics of the job. Whatever the situation, the manager must respect his or her ultimate goal: to unite artist and audience.

Personnel supervision, marketing and promotion, community organization, fiscal management, and program development are all responsibilities that fall within the scope of this position.

The best preparation someone can seek, if he or she is anticipating a career in this field, is an active involvement in the arts, whether it be on an amateur or professional level, through direct participation, or as a supporter. It is essential to understand the creative process. Having this at one's command, a person can develop the requisite managerial techniques by means of education and experience.

Author: Rock House Staff

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