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Musician - Popular

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Popular musicians play in bands or as soloists or session musicians. The styles of music they may perform include: pop, all forms of rock, country and western, easy listening, jazz, folk, blues and world music.

The Work

You could be:

Pay

Income varies with skill, experience, and the amount of work you can get.

The Musicians' Union website shows recommended minimum pay rates (updated every year) for a range of musical performance types, including gigs and live engagements, recording and songwriting. For example, rates agreed with The British Recorded Music Industry (BPI) for session musicians currently range from £90 (2 hour session) up to £180 (4 hour session). Additional fees are paid for live recordings and commercial use of material. For casual gigs in pubs and clubs, the rate is £114 per musician for a three hour slot.

Rates can depend on a number of factors including location, type of venue, type of performance (live or recorded) and even the time of day you play.

With any income you earn there may be expenses and fees to pay, such as a manager’s fee, publicity and transport costs. You may share the income with other band members.

A few rock and pop musicians are seriously rich, but most have to take on a second job to make ends meet. You may be out of work much of the time. It is common for back-up acts or warm-up acts to perform unpaid or in return for expenses in the hope of establishing themselves.

Conditions

Employment Status UK %

Past Unemployment
Scotland


Year Unemployed

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Getting In

There are many different ways into this career. Talent, perseverance and skill in making contacts are more important than formal training, but some rock and pop musicians do have music qualifications.

Most jobs are in cities, but there are also opportunities in holiday resorts and on cruise ships.

Predicted Employment in Scotland

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What Does it Take?

You need:

You need to be:

Training

Getting On

More Information

If you join a performing rights collection agency, such as Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), or Performing Rights Society (PRS), the collection group will keep track of public performances of your material, collect payment, and pass the royalties on to you.

The Creative and Cultural Skills website has a careers section called Creative Choices which has information on working in the music industry.

Contacts

The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

BPI - The British Phonographic Industry
Tel: 020 7803 1300
E-mail: general@bpi.co.uk
Website: http://www.bpi.co.uk
Twitter: @bpi_music
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebpi

Creative and Cultural Skills
E-mail: edinburgh@ccskills.org.uk
Website: http://www.ccskills.org.uk/
Website (2): https://ccskills.org.uk/careers
Twitter: @CCskills
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ccskills

Creative and Cultural Skills is the Sector Skills Council for advertising, crafts, cultural heritage, design, music, performing, literary and visual arts. Creative Choices is their career information website.

Equity
Tel: 020 7379 6000
E-mail: info@equity.org.uk
Website: http://www.equity.org.uk/
Twitter: @EquityUK
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EquityUK

Membership of Equity is open not just those in the acting profession but to anyone working professionally in the field of entertainment.

Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM)
Tel: 020 7221 3499
E-mail: membership@ism.org
Website: http://www.ism.org/
Twitter: @ISM_music
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ISMusicians

Musicians' Union (MU)
Tel: 0141 341 2960
E-mail: glasgow@theMU.org
Website: http://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/
Twitter: @WeAreTheMU
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Musicians.Union

Rockschool Ltd
Tel: 0345 460 4747
E-mail: info@rslawards.com
Website: http://www.rslawards.com
Twitter: @RSLAwards
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rslawards

Scottish Drama Training Network
Tel: 0141 270 8349
Website: http://sdtn.org/
Twitter: @SDTNtweets
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sdtnofficial/

StarNow
Website: http://www.starnow.co.uk/
Twitter: @StarNow
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/starnow/

Website where performing artists, bands and promoters can get in touch with each other.

Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland (TMSA)
Tel: 07922 533915
E-mail: office@tmsa.org.uk
Website: http://www.tmsa.org.uk/
Twitter: @TMSAScotland
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TmsaScotland

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Career Area

Performing Arts

Career Sectors

Arts Administration

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