The music business is a term that covers the business side of the music industry. However, as a whole, the music industry is a business, and just like many other art industries, it is competitive. There are many music business players; there is a major league that contains all of the biggest names, labels, and companies. But, there are many other leagues too, and regardless of where you go in the world of music, you will come across business-related activities.
Unlike, in football, for example, there is no tangible league; it is more of an imaginary league in which categorisation occurs. There is no premier league of music, but most likely, you will know who the big players are, and with hard work and determination, everybody has the opportunity to make it into the top tier.
Ever since the creation of music, there has been a business surrounding it. Nevertheless, many players in the game do not see it as a business, it is often where they fall short. The moment you realise that it is a business is the moment you will take giant leaps forward. The music business has many areas. We discuss each area in detail in our expert training sections. Also, we provide a basic overview within this page to provide a foundation of how the music business operates.
Musicians are the heart and soul of the music industry. They keep the cogs in motion. Many may say that the industry would not exist without musicians, but software can create music these days, so it is not entirely accurate. Nevertheless, without musicians, the music business would undoubtedly gradually vanish into the ether.
Record labels are responsible for releasing music, and they work with musicians creating singles and albums, which then become available to music consumers. It is a record labels job to manufacture recordings, and they market music to increase streams, sales and downloads.
Over the last few years, there have been many questions raised as to whether record labels are still relevant at a time when independent musicians have been thriving. However, record labels are still important, and there are many reasons why getting signed to a label is advantageous.
Promoters work with new releases to get music out to the public. They work closely with radio stations, magazines, blogs, playlist curators and more. They are often the gatekeeper to getting releases in the most sought after places for increased music consumption.
The advantage of working with a promoter is that they will take on the growth tasks which you may struggle to manage by yourself. Also, they will have close personal contacts with the industry, which will give you access to the best opportunities. For promotion, click here.
Music publishers are responsible for creating deals for songwriters. They work closely with the movie, tv and game industry as well as record labels. Ultimately, they are there to bring new opportunities to songwriters, and they also ensure that the songwriter receives the money owed to them through royalties.
As a songwriter, it is invaluable to sign a deal with a reputable publisher. Furthermore, they can take a songwriter to incredible new heights. But, as with a record deal, it is wise to check the agreement with a meticulous eye.
Distributors are responsible for getting music out to music consumers. Without a distributor, it is challenging to give people a method of listening to music. Distributors come in many forms, including physical distributors who look after physical products, e.g. Vinyls, CDS. Also, digital distributors who are responsible for getting releases into DSP’s (Digital Service Providers), e.g. Spotify, Apple Music, etc.
Choosing a distributor requires research, and you should work with a distributor who best suits your requirements. Although there are many online distributors, they have different features and benefits, and it is wise to compare each before proceeding to work with one.
Managers work closely with musicians, and they dedicate their time to managing daily activities and opportunities. They are often the musician’s front, with all incoming requests going directly to them instead of the musician.
Often managers work on a fee basis, and they take a cut based on earnings. The average fee a manager takes is around 15-20% of revenues. Although every management deal is different, it is best to check the fine print before signing a management contract.
Merchandisers are responsible for creating merch products. They take control of producing designs, manufacturing material, and they provide you with stock to sell at your gigs and in your online stores.
Artists with a loyal fan base can earn tremendous income from a merch line. As a result, it is often an invaluable method to finance other growth areas such as recordings and marketing.
An accountants job is essentially to look after the finances. Some accountants specialise in the music business, but many musicians and music companies have more generic accountants (They do not specialise in music but finance as a whole). There are benefits to working with a specialist accountant because they may know more about music industry dealings. Still, most accountants bring invaluable skills and knowledge and are essential parts of the industry.
When finding an accountant, you should check a list of their previous clients and ask them for feedback. A good accountant can save you money in the long run and vice versa.
A digital marketer is primary responsible for growing, building and marketing using online methods. They carry out tasks including SEO, social media, online advertising, plus lots more. Digital marketing is an area that is fast evolving due to the development of new tools, platforms, and trends.
Many digital marketers work in a broad market as opposed to concentrating solely on the music business. Nevertheless, it can often be advantageous to work with a digital marketer who specialises in music, given that they will know the best techniques in the music realm.
A music producer is a vital part of the music production process. They are the ones who put everything together, and they use their experience and knowledge to create stand out tracks. Producers often specialise in one or many genres and are generally up to speed with current trends while also having a strong intuition about what a market will enjoy.
The music industry is full of complex parts, and many legal cogs keep the business flowing. It is the lawyer’s responsibility to ensure that all activities are in line with the law. They are an invaluable resource in many areas of the industry at all levels.
Due to the fast-evolving music industry, lawyers keep up to date with current and future legislation. Also, they dedicate their careers to lifelong learning researching new procedures that arise.
A designers job is to provide outstanding designs for new releases, social media and various other forms of content delivery. Designers can drastically improve results given that the majority of people are drawn in by visual content.
Generally, designers work on a freelance basis, and music industry professionals and musician often hire them externally. However, designers can also be part of internal teams, especially when their services are required regularly.
Website developers design and create websites providing fans and users with a central location for everything. A website is an integral component of a digital strategy, and it can be hugely advantageous when set up correctly.
In the modern age, websites are customary to the majority of peoples everyday life. However, websites can make or break the success of a project, and there are many factors to consider to ensure a great user experience while also achieving objectives.
Social media is a widely popular area of the online space. As a result, it is essential for a musician or someone working within the music business to have a solid social media presence.
There are many social media platforms available. Therefore, it is essential to work out which social media platform best suits the end goal before delving deep into the area.
Without photos, it is challenging for people to draw a connection with an artist. As a result, a photographers role in the music business is essential for many activities. Also, a powerful photograph can make all the difference when it comes to attracting a new audience.
Luckily, many modern-day devices allow most people to take great photos. Still, art is involved, and learning the subject can help aid growth within the music business especially given that social media is often a visual medium.
A music supervisor is responsible for finding and placing music into films and tv. Often companies hire music supervisors to oversee their music duties as and when they have a project. However, sometimes music supervisors are employed directly by media companies and look after all of their requirements for music.
Music supervisors are always looking for new music. Thus, their duties are somewhat akin to that of an A&R consultant. Furthermore, they are always looking for the best talent and most suitable music for their projects.
Arrangers spend their days planning and organising tracks. They often work for producers and are generally hired on a work for hire basis; thus, they usually do not receive royalties unless they write an arrangement.
Projects for arrangers often vary, and they usually work on countless projects throughout their career. Also, arrangers are often great visionaries, and they can envisage a result before they get to work. It is what makes them so invaluable in the songwriting and production process.
An admin team spend their days looking after administerial duties such as data entry, emails, making calls etc. The benefits of having an admin team are endless, given that they save time and enable musicians to work on tasks that are in line with achieving objectives.
Nevertheless, it is often the case that musicians spend many days working on admin duties. Therefore, it makes sense to improve overall admin knowledge to become more efficient.
A tour manager handles many aspects of a tour, including the logistics, schedule and general management. The tour manager’s role is to ensure that each show runs smoothly and according to plan. Also, a tour manager is accountable for managing travel for the artist, ensuring that musicians get to each destination safely and on time.
It is often the case that tour managers are flexible with their working hours, and they regularly work many hours a day before and event events occur.
A disc jockey (DJ) plays music to an audience, most commonly on the radio or in a nightclub. Some DJ’s specialise in one genre or style while others play a plethora of music. Dj’s play a huge role in the music industry, and they are often the tastemakers of new music.
DJ’s are also often highly personable people (especially radio DJ’s). As a result, the higher they go in the industry, the more chance their personality will play a role in achieving success. Examples of this are shows which feature a balance of music, humour and talk.
Radio producers ultimately produce and create radio shows for consumption by the general public. Their job varies, and they often work on discussion topics, music play-listing and ensuring that the radio show runs seamlessly.
There are many routes that radio producers take to get to their chosen position but the majority progress from assistant roles. These assistant roles are often hard to come by, but new opportunities do arise. If you are looking to get into production on radio, it is wise to learn the structure of the radio industry and the music industry to give your more advantage over your peers.
Royalty Collection Society
A royalty collection society does what it says; they collect royalties for you on your behalf. They are the middle man ensuring that music appearances are paid for and rightly so. There are many royalty collection societies in the world. However, the majority look after the territory/ country in which they reside.