Careers in music publisher or record company management steer companies with strategic business decisions.

At the head of every company, there are a few key players responsible for making choices that will benefit the business. Those who work at the executive and upper management level in the music industry might focus on any aspect of it, from distribution to talent discovery to financial planning. There are a lot of perks to working a high level job in the music industry, but the responsibilities associated with these roles can be numerous and difficult to navigate. Managers and executives lead teams, ensuring that everyone plays their part and handling formal operations. The higher on the ladder someone is, the more likely it is that they'll be the public face of a record label or publishing company division; this means talking to people, making industry connections, and maintaining an image consistent with a company's brand.

Work in music company management may include...

  • Overseeing and directing a company or division's business operations
  • Making choices that influence a company's direction
  • Pitching deals to companies or artists
  • Approving, adjusting, and signing off on creative decisions
  • Representing the company and its best interests

Being at the top of the music game has its price; most high-level workers in the business work around the clock. Sometimes new business arrangements call for last-minute meetings or endless phone calls; executives will often prepare presentations or pitch decks that must be accompanied by a thoughtful speech. Long hours mean a lot of working meals and nonstop people who need a few minutes. On the flip side, some of the work can be exciting - there are industry events to attend, connections to maintain, parties to throw, people to meet, and deals to make. If this nonstop lifestyle sounds impossible to keep track of, it is - most company leaders have top tier assistants who coordinate their schedules and streamline their workload, cutting out and redirecting anything non-essential.

A great assistant is a valuable asset to a busy executive, and for those who want to learn how things are done in the music industry, observing a master at work can be a path to their own management career. With the exception of a few founders who hit the big time, most music company managers and executives started in other areas of the music industry and climbed their way to the top over the years. That being said, there are two ways to go about becoming a boss: by being the best in the business at a niche job, or by demonstrating competence in a wide array of industry skills. While a specialist is always valuable, there's something to be said for leaders who know the ins and outs of every role they supervise. Formal education and training in music, business, or both can be a helpful starting point, and many managers start their journeys in undergraduate programs that teach them the basics of the industry before gaining years of field experience or pursuing a higher degree. Internships, networking, and hard work often combine to produce industry movers who know the game and are ready to win it.

If you want to take your passion for the music industry all the way to the top, start now and get on the path to company management.

The National Association of Record Industry Professionals promotes career advancement, education, and good will in the record industry and related music fields.

The Recording Industry Association of America is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies.