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Careers in Music Industry: Composer / Arranger / Producer jobs

Music Careers & JobsIn our ongoing attempts to uncover and present unconventional jobs and careers, this time we focus on careers in the music industry. Jobs like music composer, arranger and producer can be creative and rewarding.

After completing his engineering degree in Computer Science, like a good, obedient IT professional, Vijay Krishna worked in software jobs for close to a decade. As a loyal soldier of his tech employer, he also served his time in USA.

But along the way, he realised that his real passion was in the music industry. He yearned to get his fingers tapping on a different type of keyboard. He carved his own career path and took up various music jobs as a composer, arranger and producer.
Vijay covers his musical journey and shares tips on how you can break into the music industry, the qualifications needed, the investment in software/hardware (if you decide to take up the freelancing route), the salary you can expect and more.

Jobs and Careers in the Music Industry

by Vijay Krishna (Music Composer / Arranger / Producer)

I am a B.E (IT Architect) and been in IT industry for than 9 years. I had worked in US for more than 5 years for Healthcare Industries helping them to build their Data warehouses from scratch and providing consulting.

It all started when I bought my first flute at the age of 10. I started learning to play the flute and got some basic Hindustani Classical training. Making music always inspired me back then, may be because I grew up listening to Euphoria, Parikarma, Indian Ocean. These are Indian bands and were very popular in the 90s. Some of them are still popular.

But coming from a non-musical background, I knew that it would be really a daunting task to enter into the music field. The first thing I did after getting my maiden job was to get myself associated with different kinds of bands. It didn’t work out as expected due to the mismatch in wavelengths.

I always felt there is so much parallel original music which can be created and decided to learn and persue this hobby on my own.

I started learning different processes that go behind recording & composing music and the technologies associated with them (different music software / VST plugins / A/D cards ( Audio-to-Digital).

I spent hours on Google. In fact in my initial days whatever I was able to find out I read, and read it all. It took some 2 years for the whole process to complete. Meanwhile I shifted to US for an IT assignment. I bought some basic musical gear there during the Thanksgiving sale and started implementing all my knowledge.

It all started sounding good now. I composed my fist song for which I wrote the lyrics, made the tunes & arrangements and recorded them. I posted them on a audio hosting site. It was appreciated well and I started getting connected to music circle.

All my music which I compose is done through internet collaboration and I have never seen the faces of my singers who might be sitting in India while the lyricist is in Singapore.

I send them the reference track (which is my singing and basic arrangement for the composition to give them the idea of what they need to sing) through email. I send them the karaoke/minus track as well.

They send back their vocals (multiple takes) after singing songs and I do the vocal comping (i.e. take out the best part of their singing from multiple takes) and then re-arrange, mix and master the track.

In a typical day, I used to work till 6.00 PM – 7.00 PM for office work and the same laptop would turn into my musical instrument by 8.00 PM for composing music. My weekend night-outs are generally for music, as long
sessions are usually required to get into the zone of composing. The quiet night time helps to focus.

Job Skills & Qualifications for Music careers

To become a composer you need to have a good ear for music. That is must.

Besides, any kind of formal classical training is a big plus. However, if you don’t have any, you can still enroll for some online classes and get things moving. Remember the end goal, whatever is required, learn it.

There are online course which help in getting a good understanding of the Western orchestration. There are tons of video tutorials available for mixing and mastering your song. All you need is a strong desire and a clear goal. The rest will fall place.

The good thing in this industry is there is not much focus on what kind of education or degree you have. The bad thing is if you are not good enough most likely you are not going to survive!

There are guys without any formal training who are doing great. However any formal training always helps and I would advice to have some kind of formal training if you are seriously thinking of pursuing a career option in the music industry.

Opportunities & growth potential in a music industry career

Everything you see in Movies / TV / Games needs some kind of music. The growth potential is tremendous depending upon one’s skill. It’s a perfect combination of science and art, as you have to be good at the technical aspects like understanding various sampling rates, bit depth or understanding your core software (Pro Tools 10.x, Logic Pro, FL Studio, Cubase) or playing instruments where only your creativity is the limit.

Also, in the beginning you can start working part-time if you have any day job and starting looking for some gaming companies to provide background music. These will be a contract to hire services.

There are lots of ad agency who look for music for their ads and you have to contact them with your show reel to get the work. You can also look beyond the typical markets and try to come up something new like creating some techno tracks, some fusion or anything which appeals and sound good to the ears. Upload and share them among your friends.

You can start assisting music composers for arrangement and that would give you the right contacts. This is very very essential for the music industry. And yes the end goal is to give music and score to Movies, to become a full time composer for any record label or having a full-fledged recording studio.

Initial investment: What (Software/Hardware) you need to get going

1. Any music recording software (Pro Tools, Cubase, FL Studio, Logic Pro).

2. A high speed computer having min of 2 GM RAM and 2 TB Hard disk with quad core processor (This will be needed as the software and plugins are powerful and you might get latency/performance issue if your computer is not a powerful one.

3. A/D converter: You need any M audio or other A/D converter which will convert the audio signal to digital one to process inside the above software.

4. Any good quality microphone (Dynamic/condenser)

Compensation & Salary for Music industry Jobs

Entry level work will be like arranging tracks for various composers and recording artists. Each track arrangement is typically being paid somewhere between Rs 5K-10K (INR) per 4-5 min track for entry level.

You can get many tracks if you have right contacts which again would depend how good your work are on the tracks/demo/show reels which you have made.

Any ad jingles work also will fetch you handsome money which varies from Rs 20K to 70K depending upon various ad agencies.

However, once you got the right contacts and exposure, you can get a full time job with any record label or can work as a freelancer which does pays some 10Lakhs – 18 Lakhs per annum which is a good pay for beginners.

In case you want to hear what kind and quality of music can be made at home without using any instruments. Yes, all instrument sounds are organic in nature and have been played/synthesized using software which we call as VST/RTAS (Virtual Studio Technology) plugins. Please listen to demos in my profiles to get the idea.

Vijay’s Demo tracks and Music Videos

We heard the tracks that Vijay has created and were blown away with the professional quality of the songs. Check them out. Virtual Studio Technology rocks!
Got questions about music related careers and jobs? Post them below.

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

37 thoughts on “Careers in Music Industry: Composer / Arranger / Producer jobs”

  1. Hii sir.
    Sir main pichle takreeban 9 saal se sangeet ki shiksha grehan karta aa raha hun.
    Abhi main ek engineering ka student hun.
    Prantu main apna aapko music industry mein delhma chaahta hun.
    Abhi tak maine apne seven songs banaaye hain.
    Jonko maine hi compose kiya hai aur maine hi likha hai.
    Inmein se ek song ko main release bhi kar chuka hun.
    Main abhi apni engineering k third year mein hun.
    Aur apne aapko ek acha composer bana dekhna chaahta hun.
    To kripya mere ucchit koi kaarya ho to usmein hissa lene ka awsar zaroor dein.
    Thank you.
    Himanshu Kanojia

  2. hey. i think this was a great write-up simple and flowing. we publish a hindi daily newspaper in Rajasthan. If you can provide us this article in Hindi, we would love to publish with your photograph. Thousands of readers can benefit.

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    Shiksha grahan karte rahiye, upar wale ki kripa bani rahegi.

    @Sourabh: Feel free to translate the content and use it on your site. Just give us the credit towards the end along with a link to this post.

  4. Hi

    I am a Computer Savy person and have good knowledge and understanding of Software/Hardware music student and learning Indian classical vocal music since last 14 months and learnt 11 Raag as such with taan, alaap and bandish etc.. My main interest is in making carrier as music Arranger/Composer to compose songs, jingles, and for digital games. Can you please help me and tell only online Training/Course for Arranger/ Composer..

  5. Hi

    I want to become a keyboard player. With no musical background, interest and time are my only investment. I am 33 years old and will my age be any barrier for career transition?

    Please Please Please advice!

  6. Hi , i m a 24 yr old doctor, graduate from AFMC, Pune presently working in the indian navy. I have a formal hindustani classical training and play keyboard guitar, flute , drums.In college i was a part of a rock band (vocalist). Since past one year I have assembled a small home recording studio, and learned the nuances associated with music compositions. I use Steinberg NUENDO software. I have also made a catalogue of few ads to which I have dubbed my music. Apart from that I have made 22 different songs and tunes each ranging from 2-3 min. Now I want to know how to get proffesional, whom to contact, whom to show my work. If you can please advice me in this step so as to how to go about it from here I will be forever greatful to you.

    • Hi Siddharth,

      Need a help from you.Please let me know if you have any contacts in Mumbai who is having a home recording.

  7. Sir just now I read your knowledgeable post. I’m a class XII pcm student in delhi. I want to begin my career with music industry. So i want to know how to take first stestep for it provided I’ve good music skills and even I’m a guitarist though I’d like to go for other music careers. Sir could you please enlist them all? I’ll be glad if you do. And please anser in detail. Thanks.

  8. Hi,
    My name is trideev.I am a music composer/singer/music arranger.
    I have made lots of hindi songs which are composed and arrange by me.I kept it for mumbai industry.
    And ryt now i working with assamese music industry.So if have any exposer then please let me know.
    CONTACT :[snip]

  9. Hi everybody, I am Venkatesh (Keyboard player) from Hyderabad. Done with 5 private albums as an music composer. I am planning to do the direct films and I need a team , if any body intersted please call me. We are the freher face to the Music Industry. So we have to prove ourself.

    • Hey Venkatesh , This Is Siddharth From New Delhi . I Am A Vocalist And Arranger . If You Need Me In Your Team , Then Please Do Reply , I’ll Show You Some Of My Stuff . Thank You

    • Hi Venkatesh

      I’m Ankita pursuing pgdm from delhi but I want to start my career in music. Right now I’m working with ngo ie Sambhav foundation society where I composed songs and scripts for underprivileged kids. I can sing as well.
      What r u looking for in ur team plz send me d details

    • hi sir, i’m a clg student & also a good rapper, i want to work in music field,so if u need me in ur team

  10. Hallo sir,my self Tanumay Chakraborty from West Bengal,Howrah; I am 26 year old,I use to work in a private tv news channel as an assistant sound recordist. I am composing my own music from almost 7 years ego.I want to make my carer as a professional towards music industry but lack’s of my contacts I cannot do further progress.Kindly Sir, please guide me .

  11. Hello sir Im roy vardhan rap prince and im from new delhi
    I want to become a music director please give me 1 chance

  12. Namsste sir my name is rahul.m.k and me pichle 11saal se singing karraha hu and pichale 4 saal se music compose kar raha hu
    Me mumbai me hi rahta hu
    Me ek baar addition me bhi gya tha lekin select nahi ho paya
    Me life me apni family ke kuch sapne pure karna chata hu music composer banke agar aapko lage ki me mere hatose kuch aache kaam ho to plses sir call mi 8652762983

  13. Jay sharshvati ma,…,namaskar sir mere papa 40 yer se music line me he unhone kai,,film,,siriyal,,album,or natako me music diya he or wha khu bhi singar he voice of mannade par unhe jo bhi produser,,director,,ya koi bhi party mili he to bus dhoke baaj mile ya to adhure kaam atkane vale mile or unhe abhi bhi ummid he k wah goo music composer he bus unhe producer beat milne chahi ye or sir me khud bhi music composer hu meri khud ki ummid ye he me or mere papa indistry me naam kamye or best music banaye ,,,,thanks

  14. Sir mujhko musice ka bahut saukh h koi song bjta h to mai apne mouth se hi us song ka sangeet bjata hu acha lgta h jo v sunta h hmko v lgta h ki hm acha bja leta hu
    Sir mai chahta hu ki mai ek achsa sangeetkar bnu bpl btaeye kya kru mai
    Waesi hm Software Eng hu bt mera mn music me lgta h plz help me reply mereemail id pe kareyega sir

  15. Don’t just say that you want to work in the music industry – identify the skills you have and the way in which you could apply those to a job in the business. The earlier you decide what role you specifically want to do, the more time you have to build up a portfolio of experience.

  16. Hi sir I am Vikash from jind haryana. I am a song writer. At this time 57 hindi, Punjabi, dj, romantic or emotional songs completed. Abi m mumbai me Powai me Renisens hotel me job krta hu. Please help me sir. Thanks

  17. Sir, i am narayan(Ryan). I am song writer , composer& singer. At fthis time i wrote many Bengali song.

    • Hi. I m mehdi from Iran . Singer musician .have a good musician band. If you want we can do some.

  18. I interest in music industry specially in musical keyboard. Any help or information to helpful for me or my careear

    thanks Vijay sir.

  19. sir am Rahul I am 17 years old I wrote and composed sad songs please listen my songs and gave me one chance please sir

  20. Hello sir,
    I am abhijit am Mech. Engg
    But want to grow career in music field I play music in college level and have some basic knowlege of all instrument … and and i wrote song and compose it .
    I want to learn a music recording software and want to be music composer …please give me suggestion sir..

  21. Hi Sameer, iam looking for someone to create a corporate jingle for our company. Please let me know if you can be of any help here.

  22. Hii myself is harshal wagh. By profession i m software engineer bt singing is my passion. And i want a start to my singing career, can you please help or suggest me the way.
    I also have some of my recordings whi i can send you so that you can judge on its basis.

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