Employment Prospects


Approximately 175,600 singers and musicians are employed in the United States. There are many different environments in which singers can be employed, including local lounges, bars, cafes, radio and television, theater productions, cruise ships, resorts, hotels, casinos, large concert tours, and opera companies.

Many singers hire agents, who usually receive a percentage of the singer's earnings for finding them appropriate performance contracts. Others are employed primarily as studio singers, which means that they do not perform for live audiences but rather record their singing in studios for albums, radio, television, and motion pictures.

An important tactic for finding employment as a singer is to invest in a professional-quality recording of your singing that you can send to prospective employers.

Starting Out

There is no single correct way of entering the singing profession. It is recommended that aspiring singers explore the avenues that interest them, continuing to apply and audition for whatever medium or venue suits them. Singing is an extremely creative profession, and singers must learn to be creative and resourceful in the business skills involved in finding opportunities to perform.

High school students should seek out any opportunities to perform, including choirs, school musical productions, and church and other religious functions. Voice teachers can arrange recitals and introduce students to their network of musician contacts.

Advancement Prospects

In the singing profession and the music industry in general, the nature of the business is such that singers can consider themselves to have "made it" when they get steady, full-time work. A measure of advancement is how well known and respected singers become in their field, which in turn influences their earnings. In most areas, particularly classical music, only the most talented and persistent singers make it to the top of their profession. In other areas, success may be largely a matter of luck and perseverance. A singer on Broadway, for example, may begin as a member of the chorus and eventually become a featured singer. Other singers tend to enjoy working in local performance centers, nightclubs, and other musical environments.

Also, many experienced singers who have had formal training will become voice teachers. Reputable schools such as Juilliard consider it a plus when a student can say that he or she has studied with a master.

Tips for Entry

Keep developing your vocal talents by taking music classes and practicing your singing.

Create a demo recording of your best work and submit it to music companies and agents, or start a Web site that spotlights your talents, or post videos of your performances on YouTube.

Audition for spots in local musical groups, church choirs, and other organizations. 

Participate in casting calls and auditions for theater productions.