Performing & Writing Careers

Careers in Performing & Writing

Music Producer

Alternate Titles: Producer, Beat Maker

Job Description: A Music Producer writes, arranges, produces and records songs for other Artists or for their own projects.

Salary: $25,000 to $1,000,000

Become a Music Producer

DJ (Nightclub DJ)

Alternate Titles: DJ, Deejay, Disc Jockey

Job Description: A Club DJ plays songs at a nightclub, bar, rave, or party using vinyl records, CDs, or MP3s. The traditional DJ setup includes a mixer, two turntables, a sound system and headphones, although many now use CDJs or digital mixing software.

Salary: From getting paid in drink tickets to millions of dollars a year. $300/night is normal.

Become a DJ (Nightclub DJ)

Rock Star

Alternate Titles: Rocker, Frontman, Frontwoman

Job Description: A Rock Star is the performer in the band who commands the most attention onstage, plays a key part in writing the band’s songs, and serves as the group’s spokesperson.

Salary: $100k-$1 million+ per gig

Become a Rock Star


Alternate Titles: Writer, Lyricist

Job Description: A songwriter crafts songs for another Artist in hopes of creating a hit.

Salary: $0-$1,000,000+

Become a Songwriter


Alternate Titles: Songwriter, Lyric Writer

Job Description: A Lyricist writes song lyrics for performance in songs, musicals, film/TV, and commercials.

Salary: $0-$100,000 per project

Become a Lyricist


Alternate Titles: Vocalist, Pop Star

Job Description: A Singer performs the lead vocals of a song. Although he or she may have a backing band, the Singer is the star of the show.

Salary: $17,680-$40,000,000

Become a Singer

Recording Group (or Band)

Alternate Titles: Band, Recording Act, Recording Artist

Job Description: Records tracks that are released on albums and as singles.

Salary: The SKY is the Limit!

Start a Recording Group (or Band)

Background Singer

Alternate Titles: Singer, Studio Singer, Session Vocalist, Vocalist, Background Vocalist, Chorus Member

Job Description: the Background Singer performs solo or with other Singers and Musicians in a recording studio or live performance.

Become a Background Singer

Production Music Writer (TV Music)

Alternate Titles: TV Music Writer, Commercial Music Writer, Film Music Composer, Music Producer, Jingle Writer

Job Description: Writes music that is usually licensed or sold to a Production Music Library. This music is then placed into TV shows, commercials, and films. The music composer generally splits their earnings with the Production Music Library that owns the rights to the music.

Salary: $6,000 to $240,000

Become a Production Music Writer – Write Music for TV & Commercials


Job Description: Composers create musical scores for TV, film, and computer games. They use live musicians and sampling to evoke the intended mood or emotion to mirror what’s happening onscreen.

Salary: $0-$2,000,000+ per film

Become a Composer

Session Singer

Alternate Titles: Background Singer, Backing Vocalist, Backup Singer, Studio Vocalist

Job Description: A Session Singer provides vocal accompaniment for a performer either in the studio or onstage.

Salary: $15,000-$65,000

Become a Session Singer

Session Musician

Alternate Titles: Studio Musician, Backing Musician

Job Description: A Studio Musician performs a backing track for another Musician, while performing onstage or recording in studio.

Salary: Varies widely, can go up to $100,000

Become a Session Musician

Show Band

Alternate Titles: Show Group, Floor Show Group

Job Description: Entertainment performers who work at hotels, casinos, halls, clubs, and more.

Salary: $250 to $15,000+ Show

Start a Show Band

Dance/Cover Band

Alternate Titles: Bar Band, Tribute Band, Lounge Band

Job Description: Performs music so the audience can dance and have a good time at clubs, bars, casinos, lounges, and schools.

Salary: $250 to $15,000+ Show

Start a Dance/Cover Band

Cruise Ship Musician

Alternate Titles: Orchestra Musician, Piano-Vocalist, Guitar-Vocalist, Lounge Band, Cover Band, String Ensemble, Cocktail Pianist, Lounge Duo, Lounge Trio

Job Description: The Cruise Ship Musician works for the cruise line, performing music in several areas of a cruise ship, including its main theatre, various lounges around the ship, and even by the swimming pool areas.

Salary: $24,000 – $54,000+

Become a Cruise Ship Musician

Audio Designer

Alternate Titles: Sound Designer, Sound Engineer, Audio Engineer, Audio Artist, Sound Artist, Creative Sound Designer, Technical Sound Designer

Job Description: Provides audio support for the interactive entertainment industry.

Salary: $40,000 to $120,000+

Become an Audio Designer

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