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Composers and Arrangers

Earnings

A few composers make huge annual incomes, while many make little or nothing. Some make a very large income in one or two years and none in succeeding years. While many composers receive royalties on repeat performances of their work, most depend on commissions to support themselves. Commissions vary widely according to the work and the industry for which the work will be performed. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that the median yearly income for music directors and composers holding salaried positions was $49,820 in May 2015. However, earnings range widely. The lowest paid 10 percent of this group made less than $21,070, while the highest paid 10 percent earned more than $101,150.

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