So you want to work in music—performing, writing, production, business, education, etc—but you also want to take home some $krilla. Career conundrum! Mom might be rolling her eyes and telling you to get on the fast train to medical school, but the Career Development Center at Boston’s esteemed Berklee College Of Music has put together a comprehensive study as to how much bacon those in music-specific careers actually take home.
Rates for members for the NYC Musician’s Union ($252 for a two-and-a-half hour concert) as well as starting salaries for orchestral musicians in the Alabama ($33,328) and Boston ($112,840) Symphonies are among the performance salaries listed.
The study details hourly and freelance rates, too. To wit, non-classical musicians playing club gigs can expect to take home $75-$125 per person or a percentage of the door, while a music journalist will get about $50-$150 for a review (however, the study does not take into account writers “paid” in bylines, nor does it address the frequency of freelance payments received on time, a topic the New York Times recently tackled).
There’s a brief job description for each position—and audio lead for video games is “responsible for meeting the day-today deadlines of the project delivery cycle, which can last anywhere from one to three years,” and banks at least $60,000—that help clarify job duties. The blurbs even give helpful hints to securing each position (commercial jingle coordinators: “a good way to break in is to improve on a local jingle and bring your improvement to the company for comparison and review.”).
Some stats have misleadingly wide margins, though. For example, Berklee’s study states a booking agent’s salary rage is $20,000-$1,000,000, because, you know, someone out there is booking Lady Gaga.
See Berklee’s full salary rubric here.