Ideally, as a performing singer-songwriter, the majority of my time and effort should be focused on (1) writing the best songs possible, (2) continuing to develop my musical abilities, (3) leading productive rehearsals with my band and (4) giving memorable live performances. But recently I started thinking about all the additional jobs I've had to learn, over the past 20 years, in my effort to maintain and build my music career.
For artists at the top of the food chain, these other jobs are often filled by outside professionals, each facet of their career carefully managed to its fullest potential. Even regionally successful musicians will often outsource a few of these jobs to specialized companies. So what are the 30 jobs that an independent musician has to work? I've put together a list along with a short description of the goals for a job well done.
1. Songwriter - write good songs
2. Musician - improve at your instrument(s)
3. Band Leader - lead productive rehearsals, nurture bandmate relationships
4. Performer / Entertainer - connect with audience, deliver memorable visual and audio presentation
5. Booking Agent - book the right venues on the right nights with the right supporting acts, negotiate fair terms
6. Tour Manager - create tour budget and itinerary, arrange lodging and travel, oversee all concert operations, collect payment
7. Concert Promoter - obtain venue, set ticket pricing, advertise the show
8. Street Team - spread word about artist through posters and flyers
9. Live Sound Engineer & Lighting Engineer - operate lighting and sound at concert
10. Stage Designer - design and build visual presentation of concert stage
11. Instrument Tech / Repairs - keep instruments in working order, troubleshoot problems
12. Merchandise Manager & Merch Seller - order and maintain inventory, setup displays, interact with customers
13. Roadie - load in/load out all equipment and merchandise
14. Record Label - advance funds for recording, market album, get songs on radio and streaming playlists
15. Record Producer - find best arrangements for the songs, coax best performances from musicians
16. Recording Engineer - capture desired sound of instruments
17. Mixing Engineer - mix all recorded elements together
18. Mastering Engineer - make overall sound quality of recording match other professional recordings
19. Manufacturer - manufacture merchandise and recordings
20. Distributor - make recordings available for purchase in stores and online
21. Web Developer - design the visual look and functionality of the website
22. Graphic Designer - design posters, flyers, web graphics, album artwork, etc.
23. Videographer - capture live concert footage, create music videos and promotional videos
24. Photographer - capture energy of live concerts, shoot promotional photos
25. Music Publisher - pitch songs to tv and movies
26. Accountant - advise on financial matters and investments, verify income and expenses, file taxes
27. Attorney - manage all legal matters including contractual agreements and copyrights
28. Publicist - compose press releases, gain positive media coverage
29. Manager - look at the big picture to find the best path toward goals
30. "Real Job" - Oh yeah, and you probably have a day job to pay the bills while you're pursuing your dream
I'm sure you know a local artist that remains under-the-radar despite their obvious talent. It's possible that either by choice or necessity they are only paying attention to a few of the jobs listed above. It seems that no matter how determined and hardworking an artist is, expecting anyone to handle 30 jobs, and do them all well, is a bit unrealistic. What do you think? What roles should be outsourced to external help and what roles should remain DIY? Are there any jobs that can be completely dismissed from this list? I'd love to hear your comments below.