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Music Business

A Music Gateway Guide to Navigating the Music Industry

Photograph of the blog post author, Annika Hope

Annika Hope


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Navigating the music industry can be tough sometimes. Music has and always will be such a vital part of people’s lives. There are plenty of opportunities for you whether that be front and centre on stage in your band, or if you want to work more behind the scenes. There are roles such as singer, songwriter, music teacher, music producer, sound engineer – more specifically either a mixing engineer or a mastering engineer, a roadie, etc. The list goes on and you can even find yourself working for some large music companies if this is the career you have chosen for yourself. You could ultimately work on a recording session with one of the top names in the business if you put all your effort and passion into working in the music industry. We are here to tell you everything you need to know about the music industry, so keep reading. 

First things first, if you are personable, you are talented, an excellent communicator and are willing to be open to every music opportunity that comes to you, then you will go far. That is the same for whether you are the front man or woman of the band, the band’s manager or the roadie helping to unload the van and set up and dismantle the equipment for the last gig of their first tour. People will want to work with those who they like and trust to get the job done in a professional manner.  

Careers In The Music Industry 

In terms of music industry careers, the list is endless. But maybe you feel like you want to get a firm footing in the music business by taking a degree in music production? There are different types of courses, which may concentrate on the business side of the industry or you may choose to focus on music theory if you are a musician. 

We know that as a musician, you may be able to enter the industry without a degree, but if you are looking at more business, educational or technical music-related jobs, a degree is more likely going to help you progress further. 

And if you want to take your music career even further, then you can choose to take on a MA degree. There are many avenues you can specialize in and these may include; music education, musical theatre, composition for film and television, music psychology etc. 

Music Industry Jobs 

Here are just some of the jobs in the music industry you might be interested in:

A&R (artists and repertoire) Manager – you would be involved in sourcing the new music talent for a record label and signing them up. A talent agent if you will. You will be in charge of the artist’s growth across their music career; overseeing recordings, press, marketing etc. You need to have business savvy and an extensive knowledge of the music industry. 

Mastering Engineer – you will ensure that the song sounds smooth on all sound systems and that the volume is at the right level before you release it. Thereby consequent copies will be made of the final piece of music. 

Mixing Engineer – a sound mixer or audio engineer is in charge of making sure all the different sounds come together in a harmonious way. You will take audio from multiple sources and then balance their volumes, so in effect create a pleasing audio for your event.

Music Magazine Writer/Journalist – As a music journalist, with extensive knowledge, you will need to write about just about every topic, whether that be the latest gig, music awards, interview artists and musicians and other professionals on the music scene. There is so much scope for the topics you will be able to cover and it all depends on the style of the publication and what their niche is. 

Music Producer – You are the glue that holds a new piece of music together, as you will liaise with the artist, recording, sound engineers, singers and the A&R managers and record label execs. You will write, arrange, record songs for the artists you are working with, so it is a very collaborative job. You need to be an excellent communicator and be able to work under pressure. But if you love your job, then the less it would feel like work. 

Working for a Performing Right Society – These organizations act on behalf of musicians or publishers to license songs and issue performing rights licenses. 

PromoterPromoters work alongside publicists and other marketing professionals in order to create promotional opportunities for an artist or project.

Music Publisher – publishers deal with the copyright when music is distributed. They ensure that the artist is paid correctly when their music is used commercially. 

Working For A Record Label – you will help to market recorded music and corresponding videos. You would be involved in A&R, music publishing, and copyright enforcement. You will also sell the brand of the artist and each department works hard to market their artist within the industry. 

Marketing & Promotion In The Music Industry 

As an artist in the music industry, you need to be able to market yourself properly. You are a brand. See yourself as something you can sell to others and ensure that what you are selling is of the highest quality. This means that you have to be out there showcasing your talent at every opportunity. If you are asking yourself how does the music industry work, this is a very large part of your job as an artist and the sooner you are on board with this, the better. For and for your music. There are experienced marketing professionals who will get your name out there and are business savvy enough to create a brand that is synonymous with you as a person to reach a larger number of people. You can watch your streams soar and your earnings too. Marketing in the music industry is key. 

At Music Gateway, we create targeted music marketing campaigns for artists which can lead to increased sales and revenue via streaming, digital downloads, physical sales, higher-paying live performances, sync opportunities and other modes of income.

Here are a few quotes from clients of ours about our services:  

“They’ve really helped me develop as an artist and pull together all aspects to my career; my branding & personality are now all aligned.” Molly – Singer, Songwriter 

Music Gateway has helped me with my brand, music videos and production. It’s been a proper journey.” Calum Jones – Musician, Singer, Songwriter 

“I’ve been super happy with how my Spotify streams have hit over 1 million streams, which is crazy. They achieved over 20 editorial Spotify playlists and amazing traction online.” Georgia Box – Indie Artist 

What You Can Do To Build On Your Music Career 

Now it is easier said than done, but if you can listen to our advice below, it will be worth your while;

  • Constantly connect with other music creatives
  • Perform live as much as you can
  • Create an EPK and make sure it is up-to-date
  • Sell merchandise at your gigs or online
  • Create a website
  • Create a social media presence
  • Find a mentor 
  • Seek out internships 
  • Maintain your passion for music
  • Keep a sense of humor
  • Always be curious 
  • Don’t be a perfectionist, it kills creativity 

Music Industry News

In a way to keep up with the music industry, I would suggest reading online blogs – of course this one – but as a way to really get an understanding of what is going on around you. What new workstations are being made or who is recording their new album at which studio? Who is at the top of the charts or who is going to be headlining at music festivals? You have to be in the know and the more information you can take in, you will appear to be more well informed. And you should just do this for yourself anyway. 

You should be browsing music magazines which you can read online like; Mojo, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, The Quietas, Under The Radar, Spin, The Fader and The Consequence of Sound. I’m sure you can find many more, but get into the habit of reading up current music affairs. Everybody knows that if you are on the cover of Rolling Stone, you have made it. 

Music Week, Music Business Worldwide, Digital Music News are just a few notable websites, so not technically magazines like the ones above that discuss anything in terms of music news and analysis, including the latest in tech, legal, dealmaking, acquisitions, and broader industry trends. It would be a benefit for you as an artist but also a music creative to stay on top of these numbers. 


Music royalties are payments that go to rights holders. Such as songwriters or composers for the right to use their intellectual property.

We can define royalties in music as the fees paid to rights holders for each use of their music.

For example, royalties will be generated when a song is streamed on Spotify. Spotify has to pay rights holders for various different types of royalties.

Royalties make up a significant slice of the music industry, as a kind of passive income. Learning how to earn money from the usage of your copyrighted music can significantly increase your earnings.

Sometimes you can get fees instead of/on top of royalties, however. You can read more about that in our article about Music Licensing Fees.

Women In The Music Industry 

There certainly has been a lack of female musicians in the industry for a while and in every field of music, men have been at the forefront. But there is change occurring, even albeit at an incremental level.  Empowerment of women in the industry needs to be championed much more, and there are females out there, but as of March 2022, 78.2% of artists were men and 21.8% were women. And we have seen women representing 21.8% of artists across ten years and 1,000 songs on the Hot 100 Year-End Chart. 

Women In Music

There is a website called ‘Women In Music’ which is a national membership organisation that celebrates women’s music making across all genres of music. They raise awareness of gender issues in music and support women musicians in their professional development. They inform and encourage women composers and musicians.They have a page on their site, called Competitions and Opportunities, which is regularly updated with details of a variety of opportunities for you to create a profile for your work. 

How Big Is The Music Industry? 

‘Music streaming accounts for 65% of the global recorded music industry’s revenue. 82.1 million Americans have paid streaming subscriptions. From 2021 to 2026, the global music industry is expected to see a CAGR of 8.5%.’ Zippia 

The global music market was worth $26bn in 2021 as of April 2022. So for all intents and purposes, yes the music industry has a large stake in the world’s economy every year. It is said that the US music industry remains the largest biggest market for recorded music and music streaming makes up 84% of the U.S. music industry revenue and Americans stream on average 75 minutes of music per day. 

Closing Thoughts

So you are now ready to navigate the world of music and become a sensation. Remember if you need some extra support, the team at Music Gateway are always here to help you. We champion artist and want to see them succeed. So join today, using this link. We can’t wait to hear from you.


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