The UK’s music publishing sector is hugely dynamic – covering a wide range of roles (from creative to legal) across all genres of music.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Then MPA encourages members to post any existing vacancies on our jobs page. You can also find regular listings in 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 Career Moves Group. All are worth checking out – as are MPA members’ websites and socials. 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.
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 to 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:
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.
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.
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.
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