Your guide to jobs in UK radio and audio

Music Team

Head of Music

Career Level: Management


What Do They Do?

The Head of Music in radio station manages the music policy and strategic direction of the stations they’re responsible for.  They ensure that the station is adhering to their OFCOM licence in terms of the music they play.  They are also responsible for ensuring the station is well-connected in the wider music industry, ensuring that they get the right access to artists, music and any exclusive events or live performances.

A Head of Music’s daily tasks may include:

  • Managing the playlist process for new music
  • Working with commissioning team to make sure that all the relevant genres are covered in terms of any new programming
  • Working with music team members on specific projects, tasks or staff development
  • Forward planning around the station’s music policy, live events and live performances
  • Liaising with labels and other external partners such as the Music Managers Forum (MMF), Association of Independent Music (AIM), and Performance Rights Organisations (PROs)

Who Do They Work With?

  • A Head of Music will work with the station’s programme teams, producers and production companies so that the music output of the station is what is expected.
  • They will also work within their own team which may include an Editor, Music Producer, Assistant Producer, or Music Coordinator.
  • This is a senior role, reporting directly to the Head of Station or Network Manager.
  • A Head of Music is the station’s representative within the music industry, so they will also liaise regularly with label managers, agents and pluggers.

What Skills Do I Need?

  • The Head of Music is responsible for the music output of the station at any given moment, so they need excellent editorial judgement and to have detailed knowledge of the station’s music policy, Editorial Guidelines and the content of the station’s broadcasting license.
  • The Head of Music needs strong interpersonal skills, as they are likely to manage a team and will regularly liaise with show teams, network heads, presenters, label managers, agents and pluggers.
  • The Head of Music needs to be a confident communicator as they need to connect their station’s programming teams with music labels and other external partners.
  • The Head of Music will have excellent forward planning and organising skills, and will have a thorough understanding of network strategies, with the experience and knowledge to bring them to air.
  • The Head of Music will be an expert negotiator, persistent and diplomatic as they need to get the best music talent on their station, at the right time, with the right support, in a way that also fits the label’s needs.

How Do I Get This Job?

You don't need to have any particular qualifications for this job - but you will need a huge amount of experience either in radio as a producer or within the wider music industry.  It is likely to be helpful if you have worked in different companies and areas – such as in other networks, digital teams, or music label – as this will give you a broad base of experience and a wide network of relationships with managers, agents and pluggers.  Music team members are passionate about music – they live and breathe it and are able to share that love with the station they work for.