Career Paths

Careers in Music

The music industry is constantly expanding in terms of what it offers and the careers that can be pursued within the industry. There are an eclectic array of options for those who want to work in music, including creating music with a multitude of techniques, working as a sound engineer, managing artists or promotions, and even being involved in playing or recording music.

Career Information

Learn everything you need to know about careers in music with our comprehensive career guides.

Degrees & Majors

What degree is best for a career in music? Explore degree and program options here.

Salary & Job Outlook

How much do artists in the music industry make? Explore salary and job outlook information here.

Using a computer and modern software programs, the digital artist may work on a wide array of projects such as video animation, developing a website user interface, creating artwork for the visual elements of a video game, illustrating a medical manual, creating two-dimensional images for fashion design, and more. Depending on the project, a digital artist may create a variety of digital assets, such as 3D characters and environments, storyboards, textures in artwork design, animations, and 3D effects. Digital artists also work with editors to produce visual effects for film and television.

Career Profiles

List of Careers in Music

Music production careers have changed dramatically in recent years. Traditional roles are often being replaced by specialized and skilled fields that require high-level skills and knowledge. With the advent of multi-track recording technology, electronic music production became a legitimate career path for anyone with a passing interest in sound design and engineering. As technology has advanced, so have the tools and techniques used to make music on the computer. Anyone with an interest in creating tracks in styles ranging from dubstep to jazz should explore these careers.

Disc Jockey

A disc jockey is a person who is responsible for selecting the songs and playing them for an audience at a dance party, nightclub, concert, or other event. The job of a DJ can also include scratching to create new rhythms from an existing song. DJs might use sound effects to create different styles of dance music like hip hop.


A musician is an individual who composes, conducts, plays or sings music in any form that can be appreciated by the listener. Musicians are distinguishedfrom other performers or groups of performers who do not produce music as well as musicians from non-musical disciplines such as visual performance orfilm scores.

Sound Effects Artist

Sound Effect Artist

A sound effect artist is someone who creates sounds for films, television, radio, video games, and the sound recording industry. This can range from the sound of a hand clap to an explosion. The tasks involved depend heavily on the project and where they work in the production process (sound post-production or Foley)

Audio Engineer

An audio engineer is a skilled technician who uses their knowledge of sound to enhance the quality of media, such as recordings, live sound, and television shows. They use a variety of specialized equipment, including computers, microphones, DAWs and monitors to mix sounds together, either to achieve a natural sound or create specific stylistic effects.

Foley Artist

A foley artist performs sound effects for films, television shows, and video games. These sound effects include things like the rustling of clothing, footsteps as someone walks, or even drinking from a cup. The foley artist hasa wide range of duties, ranging from matching sounds with a scene to creating a sound effect from scratch.

Music Composer

Music composers often work in collaboration with other members of a production team including songwriters, instrumentalists, lyricists, vocalists, producers and other music composers. They contribute to the creation of musical soundtracks for film or television as well as create original pieces for use in various media.

Voice Over Artist

A voice over artist is someone who is in the profession of voice acting, or providing the narration for various audio or video productions. This person is typically the "voice" of the characters while people are watching a film, a television show, an animated film, or other type of production.

Degrees & Majors

Best Degrees for Careers in Music

A degree in music production can be a good way to ensure success in the field. While there are degrees that are specifically related to music production, many of the courses within majors like audio engineering can also be applied. These include coursework in audio mixing, sound design, and project management as well as other skills required for various fields within music production such as synthesizer programming and digital signal processing. There is no one “best” degree for this field because it depends on what you want to do with your degree after graduation.

Popular Majors for Musicians

Salary & Job Outlook

Music Career Salary

The average annual salary of a digital artist can vary depending on the region and the type of expertise that is required. Salaries can also be estimated by an artist’s experience level and years of experience in the field as well as their expertise in a specific digital art program. For example, someone with over 10 years of experience and a degree in computer graphics design may earn more than someone with only two years of experience who is just starting out on these programs.

Highest-Paying Careers in Music

JOB TITLE50% (Median Salary)75th Percentile90th Percentile
Music Professor$93,576$145,939$193,613
Music Producer$70,326$83,000$104,000
Audio Engineer$51,774$54,500$92,500
Video Game Sound Designer$53,336$73,000$91,500
Orchestral Musician$47,706$58,000$78,500

Frequently Asked Questions

Music Careers FAQ

The idea of making music for a living may seem like an aspiration, rather than a viable career. But if you have the talent, skill, and dedication to learn everything you need to know, music production could be your dream job. There are three broad areas of work in which music production falls: recording, producing & engineering, and performing. It’s not too hard to see that this line of work offers plenty of room for growth & development as your career progresses.

Music is a universal language; it has the power to make people of all ages, genders, and races feel connected to one another. As of today, the music industry is worth an astounding $7.3 trillion dollars — more than the global beauty market and beating out the movie and gaming industries. With so much money to be made, it pays to have a job in music! Here are some of the highest-paying positions: Music Professor, Audio Engineer, Video Game Sound Designer, Orchestral Musician, and Music Producer.

Enrolling in a music production program can increase your career opportunities by expanding your skill set and making you a more marketable commodity in the music industry. Music production degrees vary in their focus; some programs are more vocal-driven while others may be more technical or instrument-oriented. However, the same skillset that produces a sophisticated string quartet, dubstep track, or an all-out rock anthem works in any context that requires an engineer, mixer, or producer. It’s important to choose a program that has the specific skill set you’re most interested in developing because the job market is competitive, and many people will have similar qualifications as you.