Key Careers in Entertainment Business: A Beginner’s Guide
Published on Jun 1, 2021 by Abby Stassen
You don't have to be a performer in the spotlight to work in entertainment: There is a wide range of careers on the business side of the industry. People with a variety of skills can make their mark in entertainment business, whether you're a skilled negotiator, a digitally savvy marketer, or an organizer with an eye for details. This guide will introduce you to just a few of the careers you can pursue.
Music Business Careers
A&R (Artists & Repertoire)
A&R Representatives work for record labels. They stay on top of the latest music trends to find promising new acts for the label to sign. Research is key for A&R reps — they need to listen to as much music as they can, look for trendsetters online, and go to live shows to find the next big thing.
An A&R Manager oversees the A&R representatives within a label. They take the leads found by A&R reps and work to sign new artists and give them support within the record label.
Publicists attract positive media attention for creative projects and manage any damaging media attention. They create media campaigns to drum up interest before an artist releases a new album or goes on tour. This can include updating an artist's website and social media feeds with new promotional photos, sending out press kits, and scheduling interviews and appearances.
If an artist makes a mistake and garners negative media attention, the publicist will help them manage the situation. They might help the artist write an apology or figure out a way to turn negative situations into positive opportunities.
Licensing Representatives pitch and field requests for copyrighted music. They help broker deals that get a song into a movie, video game, advertisement, or live performance, among other options. They might pitch their organization's catalog to a theme park or nightclub over the phone, or help professional creatives find the perfect tune to use in their TV show or digital project.
Product Managers work on the technical equipment that helps artists record their music, like microphones, audio editing software, instruments, apps, and more. They oversee every step of the production line, from the idea for a product to putting it in stores. They specialize in understanding customer demographics and needs, comparing existing products to the one they're developing, and figuring out how to market and sell a new product.
Concerts & Shows
Talent Buyers and Talent Bookers
Talent Buyers and Talent Bookers work for a venue or event production company. They find and book talent for concerts or other events and create the most appealing lineup possible to sell tickets and increase profits. Bookers who work for production companies may also need to locate a venue and negotiate contracts between the artists, venue, and their own company.
Concert Promoters independently plan and market concerts, from single shows to tours and festivals. They work out budgets, find performers and venues, negotiate contracts, set ticket prices, and design marketing strategies. They also work with Concert Producers to work out travel and lodging arrangements for the artist and crew and figure out a production schedule.
Concert Producers have a huge impact on an event's outcome. They need to manage everyone involved in the concert (like artist managers, crew, and publicists), determine a concert's technical needs, and create a final budget and timeline. Concert Producers also hire essential crew members, like mixing engineers and lighting techs. They might also oversee set production, costumes, and more.
A Tour Manager handles the daily needs of musicians and crew members throughout a concert tour. They manage the tour's finances, lock in transportation and hotel arrangements, organize the timing of sound checks and sets, guarantee that an artist's backstage rider requests are fulfilled, and make sure that everyone safely arrives at the next tour stop. They create day sheets that lay out each day's schedule and make sure that everyone is where they need to be when they need to be there. They also handle disputes on the road to maintain peace among the artist, crew, venue, and other players.
Event Management Careers
Event Planners take care of some of the first steps in event management. They help design events like conferences, product activations, and corporate retreats. They work directly with their client to create a cohesive vision and theme for the event, and they often suggest dates and budgets to help the clients make final decisions.
An Event Coordinator brings the Event Planner's vision to life. They lock down the budget, schedule vendors, and manage logistics like the event's schedule, seating, setup, and breakdown. They are also available during the event to help with immediate issues.
Event Manager/Event Producer
Event Managers oversee event planning and coordinating. They look at the big picture and focus on every aspect of the event, from initial brainstorming to post-event guest satisfaction surveys. Some event companies use the titles Event Manager, Event Producer, and Event Planner interchangeably.
Talent Agents represent professional creatives like musicians and actors. They promote their clients and help them find jobs, like concert opportunities or roles in movies. They also pitch their clients to industry leaders and negotiate pay once their client books a job.
An Artist Manager helps drive an artist's career by advocating for their success and weighing in on immediate and long-term decisions. They represent the artist's interests and make sure that clients are being treated fairly by people they are contracted to work with.
Artist Relations Manager
Artist Relations Managers are liaisons between professional creatives and the companies they work with. They are responsible for maintaining positive relationships with entities like record labels or organizations whose products the artist is promoting. They coordinate with the company's multiple departments and the artist's team to meet the artist's goals. ARMs might handle social media accounts and contracts; they might also schedule launch events or after parties.
Digital Marketing Careers
A Marketing Director oversees a brand's entire marketing strategy to increase brand awareness and improve sales. They pinpoint customer trends, create marketing campaigns, allocate the marketing budget, and make sure that all of the members of the marketing team stay on task to successfully complete the campaign. They also communicate with other departments, especially the sales department, to make sure their efforts align with the company's greater goals.
Social Media Manager
Social Media Managers oversee the strategy and campaigns for a brand's social media channels, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and more. They frequently work with marketing teams, sales teams, and design teams to create strategic plans and visually appealing content that will boost a brand's awareness and drive traffic to a company's website or increase sales. They also moderate audience comments and manage partnerships with other brands.
Digital Content Manager
Digital Content Managers lead content teams to develop and publish written, visual, and video content that's geared towards a company's target audience. They often work with other teams, like marketing and social media teams, to create and enact strategic content campaigns.
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