Similar careers

How to become a Pop Music

pop music careers

What does a Pop Music do?

Popular musicians perform in a variety of styles to suit a particular audience. They could be involved in rock, pop, jazz, folk, country and western, world, or light music. Popular musicians can work as part of a duo, in small groups, or as soloists. It is common to hire the services of an agent, or manager, to find work and negotiate recording contracts.

Some popular musicians play one or more instruments, others sing. The ability to read music can be an advantage for musicians who want to pursue a career as a session musician.

Singers may include dance and movement as part of their performance. They might appear in videos or on television, if successful. Some popular musicians also compose their own work. They sometimes record music for albums or session work.

What's the working environment like working as a Pop Music?

Popular musicians work long and irregular hours, commonly working evenings and weekends. Time is often spent learning music, in rehearsals, or looking for new work. Recording in studios frequently takes many hours and can run until late at night.

Popular musicians perform in a wide range of places, from arts centres, restaurants, theatres and music venues, to hotels, pubs, and clubs, and some large concerts and festivals are held outdoors in parks, arenas or stately homes.

Musicians can spend considerable time travelling both around the UK or abroad, and can be away from home for long periods. Musicians usually need their own transport, and if in a group, might have a van and road crew.

What does it take to become a Pop Music?

To be a popular musician, you should:

  • be musically talented and creative
  • enjoy performing to an audience
  • have a lively and energetic personality
  • be resourceful, independent and disciplined
  • enjoy working as part of a team
  • have good health and stamina
  • have the self-confidence to accept occasional criticism, disappointment and rejection
  • have business, financial or marketing skills.

Pop Music Career Opportunities

Opportunities exist in musical shows, clubs, bands, film or recording companies. The majority of popular musicians are self-employed, as opportunities for full- time employment are fairly limited. Many musicians work on a part-time basis and combine performing with another job. Opportunities often depend on the success and reputation of the musician.

Some popular musicians progress to composing for other musicians or teaching music.

Much of the work is based in London or other major cities. Increasingly, there are opportunities to work abroad on cruises and in holiday resorts.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Pop Music that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

British Phonographic Institute (BPI)

British Actors Equity Association
Guild House
Upper St Martin’s Lane
Tel: 020 7379 6000


Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM)
10 Stratford Place
Tel: 020 7629 4413

Musicians Union
60-62 Clapham Road
Tel: 020 7582 5566

245 Sandycombe Road
Kew Gardens
Tel:020 8332 6303

Creative and Cultural Skills
Tel: 0800 093 0444

Creative and Cultural Skills
11 Southwark St