Music Careers: Berklee Shows Us the Money
No one should ever get into the music business for money. If you don’t believe that, think about the most soulless music you’ve ever heard and decide if it was made out of passion. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with doing what you love and getting paid for it. I don’t think you should be motivated by money when you’re ostensibly making art, but if you’re doing work, get that paper.
No matter what you’re doing in or out of the music business, if you don’t have an idea of what you’re “worth,” someone, somewhere will try to pay you less than that amount. So it’s always fascinating when the Berklee College of Music Career Development Center puts out its Music Careers in Dollars and Cents report. The 32-page 2016 Edition just arrived, and it sheds light on the expected salary ranges for the entire spectrum of music industry careers — everything from a big Las Vegas casino residency ($360K-500K per year) to a Social Media Specialist for a digital/streaming media company ($60K-80K).
|Salary ranges are always voyeuristic fun, even when it’s for something you never intend to do, like being a roadie for club-level touring ($700-1000 per week). However, this Berklee report also includes some very helpful practical information for people who are currently in or are looking to enter an aspect of the music business.The page on Negotiating a Job Offer should be required reading for almost anyone who isn’t self-employed. There are also some very useful resource pages at the end of the document with information such as employment statistics for musicians and singers, and a long list of career development-oriented Music Organizations and Associations.
This report is well worth a look, but if you’re just curious about the fresh amounts that professionals in the Electronic Musician demographic may be reporting to the IRS every year, here’s a sampling of relevant salary ranges for you to mull over. Of course, what you get paid for a job is only a fraction of the battle. This PDF says nothing about the hard work, determination, connections and sprinkling of luck that it will probably take to land any of these jobs. All that is up to you.
– Club gigs in Boston and New York (non-classical) $75 – $125+ per person for club date. (Depends on reputation of the band, how many people attend, size of the club, etc.)
Touring Acts (assumes a sold-out show at $50 or more per ticket):
– Festival Act (new act at a music festival): $3,000 – $7,500
– YouTube Star: $250,000 – $300,000 (ad revenue for mid-level YouTube star with followers in the millions and views in the hundreds of millions)
– TV Show Composer
– Competition Prizes: $150 – $15,000 per competition and possibly performances, national publicity, and recordings.
Songwriter/Lyricist Music/Song Licensing rates:
Composing to Picture
– Music Editor: $1,000 – $5,000 per week
Download the Berklee College of Music 2016 Edition of Music Careers in Dollars and Cents