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NYC metro area tops in employment of musicians, singers, and related workers

August 03, 2016

In May 2015, approximately 60,000 people were employed as musicians, singers, music directors, or composers in the United States. Roughly 37,000 of these workers were musicians and singers and 22,000 were music directors and composers. The median wage was about $24.00 per hour for both the musicians and singers and the music directors and composers—meaning half of these workers earned less than that amount and half earned more.

Employment and median hourly wage of musicians and singers, by area, May 2015
Area Employment Median houly wage

New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

5,560 $39.97

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

3,600 32.78

San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

1,300 40.84

Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN

1,040 30.65

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

1,000 20.92

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

820 26.54

Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

760 19.45

Nassau County-Suffolk County, NY

720 40.42

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

710 35.43

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI

600 13.45

Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH

560 36.84

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL

480 25.85

Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY

470 22.52

Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley, CA

440 52.11

Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

430 27.99

Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL

420 16.28

Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

410 32.29

Pittsburgh, PA

410 43.21

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

390 23.17

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

380 22.26

Providence-Warwick, RI-MA

350 9.39

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO

330 26.86

San Diego-Carlsbad, CA

320 20.51

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI

310 27.17

New Orleans-Metairie, LA

310 11.29

Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD

300 22.39

Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI

290 24.91

Rochester, NY

280 21.62

St. Louis, MO-IL

270 20.21

Columbus, OH

260 12.60

Newark, NJ-PA

250 27.46

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

250 25.72

Eugene, OR

240 39.87

Urban Honolulu, HI

220 23.44

Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY

210 9.82

Oklahoma City, OK

210 52.50

Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA

210 23.68

Over 13 percent of all musicians, singers, and related workers were employed in the New York-Newark-Jersey City, New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania metropolitan area. There were 5,560 musicians and singers, with median hourly wages of about $40.00, and 2,280 music directors and composers, with median hourly wages of about $31.00 in the Big Apple.

The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California, area ranked second in the employment of musicians and related workers. The 3,600 musicians and singers in the L.A. area had median hourly wages of roughly $33.00, while the median wage of its 980 music directors was nearly $26.00 per hour.

The San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California, area was home to the nation's third largest number of musicians and related workers, with 1,300 musicians and singers (median hourly wage, $40.84) and 520 music directors and composers (median hourly wage, $29.20).

Employment and median hourly wage of music directors and composers, by area, May 2015
Area Employment Median houly wage

New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

2,280 $31.22

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

980 25.97

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

730 24.39

San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

520 29.20

Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH

430 29.73

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

350 30.33

Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

320 18.17

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI

290 23.49

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA

280 27.86

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

280 25.69

Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC

280 29.28

Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT

250 9.60

Rochester, NY

250 24.30

Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY

240 11.14

Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI

240 12.47

San Diego-Carlsbad, CA

230 25.65

Cleveland-Elyria, OH

220 35.79

Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI

210 27.82

Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN

200 31.80

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL

200 23.84

Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

200 20.90

The only other metropolitan areas with musicians and related employment over 1,000 were Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois; Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, Tennessee; Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Oregon-Washington; and Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV. The Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, Massachusetts-New Hampshire, area had combined employment of musicians and singers and music directors and composers of just under 1,000. Median hourly wages for musicians and singers in these areas ranged from about $19.00 to $36.00. Wages of music directors and composers ranged between $18.00 and about $30.00 per hour.

These estimates are from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program. For more OES estimates, see Musicians and Singers and Music Directors and Composers. The Occupational Outlook Handbook also has information on Musicians and Singers and Music Directors and Composers

Note that OES estimates include only people who are private sector and civilian government workers. Self-employed people and military employment are not included. The number of people working as self-employed musicians and related workers is larger than the number of people that are employed in these occupations. The U.S. military is often called the world's largest employer of musicians.

A wage of $24.00 per hour is approximately $50,000 per year, however, many people working in musician and related occupations do not work full-time year round.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, NYC metro area tops in employment of musicians, singers, and related workers at (visited July 24, 2024).

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