For anyone looking to break into the music business, a passion for music is essential! Whether you’re a graduate or a self-starter, this is the one asset that potential employers will always look for. Due to the fast-changing nature of music consumption, the scope of roles is always shifting.

Jobs in music publishing tend to fall into a number of broad categories. The MPA itself does not offer internships, however, we do accept CVs for paid work experience and we encourage anyone in full-time education to join our Student Membership Scheme.

For more details, please email info@mpagroup.com. Recent graduates and newcomers to the industry may also want to consider applying for the Richard Toeman Scholarship – or by signing on for our Induction Course.

Job Seeking Ideas 

Then MPA encourages members to post any existing vacancies on our jobs page. You can also find regular listings across the UK’s music media, including Music Week, Record of the Day, Music Business Worldwide, Complete Music Update and MusicTank. Specialist recruitment agencies for music include Handle, The Music Market and Media Moves. All are worth checking out – as are the websites and social media of MPA members. You may also want to contact some of the music publishers directly and ask about vacancies. You can find a list of contact details for music publishers by going to our member’s directory. 

Do It Yourself

The music business has always attracted entrepreneurial self-starters, particularly in the digital era. The MPA fully supports anyone who wants to start their own music publishing business and will provide support and assistance where possible – as well as template contracts and other commercial assets. Our staff frequently appear at industry events and conferences to provide guidance for would-be music publishers, and we would advise anyone looking to start a business to attend the MPA Induction Course.

Although the industry does not employ a great number of people, it caters for a wide range of interests and, in many companies, staff flexibility is essential. Often, a lively interest and willingness to accept any job available may be the key. You can then survey the music publishing business from the inside, and learn which particular department best suits you. Practical experience, as well as formal education or training, is important in the majority of vacancies that occur.

Keep updated with the latest vacancies on our jobs page. Music publishing jobs tend to fall into a number of broad categories, the majority of which require musical knowledge/experience. The various activities generally covered by each category are outlined below:

A&R (Artists & Repertoire) / Promotion

  • Actively search for new talent at concerts and gigs
  • Listen to demos received and make recommendations
  • Match songwriters/composers and lyricists/librettists
  • Produce demos for promotional purposes
  • Develop and maintain wide-ranging music user contacts with a view to their exploiting copyrights, e.g. broadcasters, record companies, concert promoters, film/video production companies, performers and others
  • Develop and maintain press and promotional contacts with a view to encouraging coverage/performances.
  • Oversee the career development of composers/songwriters

Rights Administration – Copyright / Legal / Business Affairs Departments

  • Negotiate and draft publishing agreements with composers/songwriters
  • Negotiate music user licences Negotiate sub-publishing agreements
  • Register new works and catalogues acquired with the collecting societies (eg MCPS, PRS)
  • Oversee the protection of rights and taking action when these are infringed.

Production & Editorial

  • Consider manuscript scores received and whether revisions/rewrites are required
  • Convert edited manuscripts into printed music and oversee style, design and origination
  • Liaise with typesetters/designers and printers and deal with proofs
  • Proofread and edit music and text
  • Commission and publish new music
  • Contribute to and monitor catalogue development

Sales & Marketing / Hire / Distribution

  • Devise and implement retail/promotional campaigns designed to highlight new printed music products
  • Liaison (direct and indirect) with dealers and, in some cases, educational institutions
  • Attend and organise promotional events
  • Circulate information and product to media
  • Manage the hire library and its loan to performing organisations
  • Control and monitor the use of hire materials
  • Process orders and oversee the physical movement of product from publisher to customer
  • Handle invoicing, stock control and warehousing

Accounts / Royalty Administration

  • Track all uses of works and collecting in royalties and fees for such uses
  • Manage royalties collected and distribute onto composers/songwriters and sub-publishers
  • Prepare and analyse profit and loss statements and balance sheets
  • Payroll and credit administration
  • Provide statistics for a variety of purposes

 

  • PUBLISHER

    Richard King - CEO, Faber Music

    Where did you start/how did you get into the industry?

    I was first drawn in by the printed music publication process, particularly the conceiving and commissioning of new publications: turning a loose idea into a professionally produced, commercial book. I worked first as a freelance editor and proof-reader for a number of different publishers, later becoming Editorial Director at Faber Music, then into the Rights side of the business and running the company. Like many CEOs in knowledge/experience-based industries such as ours, I’ve stayed in one place and have no problem being labelled by my industry colleagues as ‘the Faber guy’.

    Your top tip for those wanting to get into publishing?

    If you’re a practical musician, remember that the representation of music in print – something with which you’ll be very familiar – is one of the most specialised niches in the industry, and opportunities are few and far between. In the end, publishing is about connecting music (i.e. the creative) with revenue. Not everyone can do it. But copyright legislation is the rock on which the industry is built, and therefore administration and legal are big drivers. Develop skills in these areas and you’ll be in demand.

  • PUBLISHER

    Tom Farncombe - Director, Product Creation, Music Sales

    Where did you start/how did you get into the industry?

    I studied Music at Goldsmith’s College; towards the end of my degree I responded to a job advert on the college notice board for a Production Assistant at Edition Peters, printing and making up performance materials in-house. This led to a junior editorial position, and I then progressed to become a full-time Music Editor. I moved on to Music Sales Limited and then made the switch from classical scores to rock and pop transcriptions. I now run the Product Creation division at Music Sales, publishing printed and digital music books.

    Your top tip for those wanting to get into publishing?

    Be prepared to start at the bottom. Use every opportunity to learn the business through your own research – there’s a lot out there online and no excuse for not investigating. See every event, gig, meeting and introduction as a way of expanding your knowledge. Network! Introduce yourself. You’re going to meet a lot of dedicated, experienced professionals – make sure you can match their work ethic, drive and passion for music. You’re not entitled to anything except what you earn for yourself. Be good, work hard, make yourself indispensable, make the tea, good things will come.