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Performing & Writing Careers

Careers in Music Producing, Performing, Writing, and More.

Music Producer

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

Nightclub DJ

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: $500 to $1,000+ per night.

Become a DJ (Nightclub DJ)



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

Rock Star

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: 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



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

Recording Group

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)

young trumpet player in dark

Jazz Musician

Alternate Titles: Musician, Instrumentalist

Job Description: Jazz Musicians are highly trained artists who perform original or repertoire jazz works in concert and in the recording studio.

Salary: $9.20 to $68.98+ per hour

Become a Jazz Musician

Background Singer

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

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

Jingle Writer

Jingle Writer

Alternate Titles: Commercial Jingle Composer, Jingle Composer

Job Description: Writes music for commercials.

Salary: $500 to $15,000+ per commercial

Become a Jingle Writer

Playing Piano


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

Session Singer

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

Job Description: A Session Singer sings backup with artists or provides vocals for movie, commercial, and TV scores.

Salary: $15,000-$65,000

Become a Session Singer

Session Musician

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



Alternate Titles: Collaborative Pianist, Accompanyist

Job Description: An Accompanist is a pianist who accompanies singers, dancers, and instrumentalists for performances and rehearsals.

Salary: $30,000 to $45,000+

Become an Accompanist

Show Band

Show Band

Alternate Titles: Show Group, Floor Show Group

Job Description: Professional musicians who perform at corporate events, charity galas, holiday parties, weddings, and other private celebrations.

Salary: $250 to $15,000+ Show

Start a Show Band

Dance/Cover Band

Dance/Cover Band

Alternate Titles: Bar Band, Tribute Band, Lounge Band, Production Show

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

Average Annual Salary: $200-$300 per person, per show

Salary: $50 to $1,000+ per person, per show

Start a Dance/Cover Band

Cruise Ship Musician

Cruise Ship Musician

Alternate Titles: Cruise Ship Entertainer

Job Description: Cruise Ship Musicians perform a wide variety of music to entertain guests on board a cruise ship.

Salary: $24,000 – $54,000+

Become a Cruise Ship Musician

Video Game Composer

Video Game Composer

Alternate Titles: Video Game Music Composer, Composer

Job Description: Video Game Composers create musical scores for video games.

Salary: $30,000 to $75,000+

Become a Video Game Composer

Sound Designer

Sound Designer

Alternate Titles: Audio 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 a Sound Designer

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