In the music industry a music publisher or company is an entity that develops, protects and values music. Music publishers are responsible for the development of new music as well as taking care of the business side allowing songwriters and composers to concentrate on their creative work. The artist and the publisher share a symbiosis relationship because most artist or starting up composers do not comprehend how copyright laws and royalties work so music publishers act on behalf of artist to collect royalties and administer any copyrights the artist might own when their compositions are used commercially.
Royalties: When an artist’s song or composition is played on the radio or used in any other means of broadcasting communication the artist is entitled to royalties. The publisher does this by obtaining ownership and administrative rights to some or all of the artists’ copyrights through deals and contracts (publishing contract).
The artist’s strength generally lie in the creative domain (composing and song writing), and the publisher’s specializes is administrating the artist’s catalogue, not only collecting royalty monies (except performing royalties) but also plugging and promoting their songs or compositions (TV, Movies or other forms of broadcasting) and making copyright deals and paying the artist royalties from all sources of income.
Publishers will spend a great deal of time trying to exploit and sell the artists’ work.
They will approach advertisement companies and television producers to try and include their songs. Usually movies and TV shows will try and find songs that sound similar to very popular hits. The publisher will then look through its catalogue and find a song that is suitable either resembling a hit or appropriate for the mood of the movie or TV show. Music publishers will vary depending on the size of the company and resources. For example a small individual publisher will mainly take care of royalty monies and copyrights but will do no more.
A bigger music publisher that might be affiliated to a record company such as Sony or Warner Chappel will have enough resources to support the new talent while they develop their skills, this can either come as a form of financial support for living expenses. This includes paying the artists accommodation, utilities and meals. They can also polish the new talent by providing them with facilities and equipment to produce their music.
An independent music publisher will analyse the genre of music the new talent offers and will orient the artist’s writing through guidance and advice towards a specific market be it bubble gum pop or melodic death metal. Independent publishers such as Wipe Out Music work a lot closer with artists and will usually have more song writers and producers in their ranks than other publishers. Upcoming artist may sometimes prefer big household publishers because of the financial support they might receive but I think in independent publishers are better as they have a wider creative scope with out forgetting the business essentials.
Once the artist signs a deal with the music publisher, the publisher will then register the song (lyrics, composition) in all the appropriate collecting societies such as the PRS (Performing Rights Society), PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) or the MCPS (Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society). The PRS will not only collect royalties for the artist but also ensure that the music is treated properly and not used in inappropriate material such as background music in a pornographic low budget film. The MCPS refers to mechanical royalties which the artist is entitled if his song is included in a commercially released album e. . a dance compilation album. In order to receive royalties for mechanical rights the song must be licensed. The licensing process is also done by the publishers; they inform the record labels about the artist’s song and all relevant information. Then a license is issued from the publisher to the record label for a particular song. Now that the song has been cleared the record label can produce the dance compilation album and pay the artist royalties. If the royalties go towards a band then the money is split equally amongst members although in many cases the songwriter will have a major percentage.
Another priority for the artist after royalties for his work is copyrights. Usually a publisher and an artist will register their work to obtain copyrights (USA). In the UK there is no official form that registers your work for copyrights. Instead all original music is protected by copyright from the time it is recorded or written down in some format. However it is important to be able to prove that you are the sole owner of you work. This can be achieved by storing a copy of your work with a solicitor or by uploading parts of songs or ideas to servers such as you tube thus showing evolution in your work.
As a publisher you will be at the edge of new music. As in you have the chance listen to an artists’ music before its release to record labels or radio. A disadvantage of being a publisher is that you can never guarantee success for you artists. You can invest a lot of time polishing their skills and helping them create music but you may not be able to successfully plug or sell your artist’s work. This can be very frustrating. Record companies: Record companies are huge corporations that own a variety of record labels. For the most part, these companies are located in London, New York or Los Angeles.
These corporations usually consist of a parent company that owns more than one record label. For example, Warner Brothers Records owns Reprise Records and Maverick Records. BMG owns Arista Records, RCA and J Records. In today’s economy, most large record companies are actually huge conglomerates that own a variety of subsidiary record labels. Often, the subsidiary labels are each mini-companies operating under the control of a larger corporation. A typical record company has a CEO (chief executive officer) at the top; he is in charge of the business of the whole company. Also, each affiliated label also has its own president.
Under the president of the individual label, there are vice presidents in charge of different departments. Here are a couple of the departments found in a record label: A&R – The A&R (artists and repertoire) A&R is in charge of discovering new talent. A&R people work very hands-on with the artists that they sign. They do everything from assisting with song selection to choosing the people that will produce the album to deciding where the album will be recorded. The people in this department work as the link between the recording artist and all the other departments of the record company.
Art Department – This department is in charge of all the artwork that goes along with producing an album. This includes CD cover art, advertisements and displays at music stores. Artist Development – This department is responsible for planning the careers of the artists who are signed to the record label. It promotes and publicizes the artists over the course of their career. According to Music Biz Academy, many labels no longer have artist development departments. As record labels have come to see artists as products in recent years, some artist development departments have been renamed “Product Development. Many insist that this is because the emphasis in the current music business is to promote artists very heavily in the beginning of their career, as opposed to long-term planning. Business Affairs – This department deals with the business side of things. It takes care of bookkeeping, payroll and general finances. Legal Department – This department is responsible for all the contracts that are made between the company and the artist, as well as contracts between the record label and other companies. Any legal issues that arise like lawsuits between an artist and the company go through this department.
Marketing Department – This department creates the overall marketing plan for every album that the record company will release. It helps coordinate the plans of the promotion, sales and publicity departments. Promotion Department (Plugging) – This department’s main purpose is to make sure that an artist is being played on the radio. It must get an artist’s new songs on the radio in order to ensure the future success of the record company. This department makes sure that all the other departments are communicating about the best way to sell the artist to the public.
The promotion department may also try to get videos played on dedicated music channels like MTV or 4 Music. Publicity – This group is responsible for getting the word out about a new or established artist. It arranges for articles to be written in newspapers and magazines. They also deal with radio and television coverage of an artist. Many artists also have their own independent publicists who help coordinate publicity with this department as well. Sales – This department oversees the retail aspect of the record business. It works with the record store chains and other music stores to get new albums onto retailers’ shelves.
The sales department often coordinates these efforts with the promotion and publicity departments. A record company will provide the newly signed band with a budget which is used for studio musicians, studio engineers and studio time. The A&R executive then coordinates a time for the band to begin recording the album. (In the past, record labels had their own “in-house” recording studios, but today most record labels use independent recording studios. ) More budget is allocated for advertising, art, publicity and promotion. As graphic artists, designers and copywriters begin their work, the A&R epartment, as well as publicity, marketing and sales, decide on a release date for the album. The artist development department plans the live performances, promotional tour, radio and TV appearances. The record company must make sure that there is promotion for the band on the national, regional and local level but this will depend on how much money the label is willing to spend. Live Performance Live performance is an important aspect of the music industry because it is the best publicity and means of income and artist can have.
A well produced album can sell but if on stage the artist cannot perform as well as on the records (I personally regard them as studio artists) or at least half as good, the artist’s image and credibility are compromised. I feel that if an artist’s talent has to be manipulated heavily then the artist might not be talented at all. Case in point, Avril Lavigne, her first album features very melodic high pitched vocals but listening to her live performances her voice sounds nothing like the albums with a very low and limited vocal range. It is very clear that her vocal tracks were manipulated in the studio.
Personally I would not purchase an album where too much vocal manipulation has taken place. Live performance is comprised from the work of different people: Booking agents – Booking agents secure gigs and also work with the artist through there management. They establish contracts with promoters and send press releases to print media, radio, T. V and to industry trades such as pollstar, performance and billboard and work with record labels in order to arrange tours. Promoters – Promoters purchase acts directly from booking agents and are also responsible for organising gigs and live venues and also negotiate all the fees that need to be paid.
They also send press releases to all the meedia and print out and organise posters and flyers for all the up and coming shows and distribute them in the surrounding area of where the show is taking place. They may work with stores and other public places in order to arrange gigs for places in public such as shopping centres. They may also provide food and drink for the artists themselves when on tour. Venue operators – Venue operators provide space for live performances and provide security, merchandising space, box offices, stagehands, sond and lights and refreshment outlets to all of the gigs.
They also provide publicity to the artist. There are many different venues that artists can perform many are dedicated music clubs, taverns, bars, coffee houses, festivals, fairs, concert halls, schools, churches, and even record stores. Along with all these there are also the traditional club type gigs which are where most bands will start out. Artists who are just starting up in the musical scene will find it hard to get there first show because many clubs require a demo or some form of recorded music.
Venue managers might also require references from past gigs or some gigging experience. New bands will have to play for free in pubs or small venues usually as background music in order to get experience and references. Venue bookers will go around the local scene to see what acts are up and coming. They will also listen to new or “underground” material. Once the venue bookers have booked the band or artist they will then add them to a schedule (line up) and include them in their publicity for upcoming events which can include calendars, posters and flyers.
The band is also involved in the promotional of their gig date; they will put bills posters themselves, feature dates on their website or in current gigs or simply word of mouth. During the first gigs of a band their will not be any sort of written agreement as its mostly a verbal arrangement with a pub manager or small club owner. This works best as usually there are no earnings for the band, with time as the band gains experience and the venues grow bigger there will be need for written contracts as their will be a financial aspects that need to be clear as well as times, dates and what is expected from the band (duration of set).
Artist Management: Managing an artist or a bands career is a tricky process which you will consume most of your time. To be a manager you should know your way around the industry or at least have basic knowledge of business and law. The manager will be responsible for day to day duties keeping the artists career running smoothly and soliciting any projects that may gain more money and exposure for the artist. Being a manager is a job like many where you get better with experience, going through many different situations and learning how to make the outcome of those events a positive one for you and your artists.
The manager is not a booking agent, as many people think the manager is not responsible for getting an artist or band shows and tours. Now the manager is supposed to help in the negotiating and process of getting the tours and shows set up, but the manager is not responsible for booking. This job is for the talent agent or booking agent or agency. The pay of the manager depends on the salary of the artist as most managers’ payments go by percentage. The industry standard for a manager is 20% of the gross monthly income of the artist meaning for every ?100 the artist makes you take ?20 of that.
In some cases managers will receive a salary per gig. When paid by the gig the percentage the manager receives is usually around 15%. There are different types of managers. Professional managers make a living solely from artist management and often have many clients working professionally or affiliated with a major record label. Touring managers are hired by the artist or the personal manger to deal with the day to day management functions when on the road. This may include getting the band from gig to gig to collecting fees, booking hotels and flights.
Unlike a personal manager they are usually paid a straight fee. There are also “amateur” managers. Amateur managers are usually freelance workers who tend to manage up and coming bands. Most amateur managers are looking to gain experience more than anything else. Their service rates are usually a lot cheaper in comparison with a professional manager and may sometimes be free. Amateur managers will in some way or another be involved in different areas of the music industry such as promotion or A manager is not like most normal jobs, you do not have set work hours and you do not have set vacations.
The working pattern can be very tedious stressful and require a great deal of stamina and character. Maybe this is the where the manager stereotype (loud & grumpy) comes from. Managers are important for the business because they take care of paperwork, keeping with commitments and other menial tasks thus allowing the artist to focus completely on music. Since managers and artists spend so much time together it comes as no surprise that with time they forge deep bonds. Roles in the Music Industry A&R (artists and repertoire)
The A&R department of a record label are often regarded as the gatekeepers of the record company. A&R departments have a powerful reputation because they have the important job of finding new musical talent. In major record labels there will be scouts, A&R managers, senior A&R managers and head of A&R department. A&R people don’t just sign bands to the record labels they also work very closely with the band throughout their entire musical career. Without being noticed or discovered by A&R people, there is almost no way for an artist to get signed by a major record label.
In the past artists would send unsolicited demos (tapes that were not requested by the record company) to A&R departments, and the executives would listen to the tapes and hope to find the next big thing. Over time, so many artists were sending demos that it became impossible for A&R people to keep up. Because of this and other legal issues, labels, stopped listening to unsolicited material. It is so difficult for the average musician’s demo tape to even make it to the desk of the powerful A&R executives. Scouts will listen to some tapes and CDs and will normally be the first people to approach the band.
If the scouts feel they have found something interesting they will notify the A&R manager. The A&R manager will listen to the material and decide whether to go see the band play and offer them a deal. A&R people are always showered with new material. They often barely have time to listen to the numerous demo tapes given to them by friends, agents, managers, attorneys and other reliable sources. With only a few people serving as the gatekeepers and thousands of aspiring bands and singers out there, it is difficult to break into the record industry. Several A&R look at the demos given to them by trusted business sources.
Other executives examine the music industry itself to see if there is a void in the market. They may seek out a certain type of artist that is doing a different kind of music than what is already in the stores. Working for the A&R department will expose you to a lot of new music as well as making connections within the industry. You are always meeting new musicians and A&R people are amongst the best paid in the industry. It is also important to remember that when A&R executives discover and promote a particular artist, they are putting their own name on the line.
If the artist fails an A&R executive’s job might be at stake. Something to keep in mind about this industry is that while a lot bands get rejected some still make it through the gates of A&R. When an artist is discovered by a record company all of the departments of the record company (promotion, marketing, legal, etc…) will begin work in order to sell the new “product” to the masses. Record Producer Record producers will work very closely with the artists and help them create a new album or a promo CD. What record producers do does vary thought but there is general job pattern.
Producers are commissioned by a record company’s A&R department to join a band or artist in a studio and produce an album or single. Depending on creative flow and inspiration producing an album or single can take weeks to even months because as it sometimes happens, bands and producers may not be happy with the results and might decide to rerecord material. In most cases the record producer is also a competent arranger, composer or songwriter who can bring fresh ideas to the tracks. As well as making any song writing and arrangement adjustments, the producer is also in charge of the creative mix.
He will direct the sound engineer who concentrates on the technical aspects of recording, whereas the producer keeps an eye on the overall projects marketability. Some sound engineers also produce. Producers coach the artist and encourage best performance; they act as a go-between, translating your needs into the technicians’ point of view and protect the artist and record labels interests like ensuring that the studio time paid for is used appropriately with no time wasting. Hiring a producer for your album project should be considered if there is a reasonable recording budget.
The right producer knows the genre and is objective enough to offer constructive criticism. You need someone who will provide an honest opinion whilst offering viable solutions that you both feel comfortable with. An experienced producer (more expensive) can help shape the sounds that will make the band stand out, he may even help with contacts to help promote the band’s music and advice on publishing, royalties and other aspects of the music industry. Today, having a successful producer on board can also guarantee some attention or success (Produced by Timbaland)
Timbaland is the sort of producer that likes to collaborate with the artist as a creative partner to produce the best track possible. Phil Spector is the sort of producer that will take complete control of the project leaving very little room for negotiation. Producers such as Phil are usually commissioned by the big labels without any input from the band. The Fees that the producer charges the band varies in price depending on the producers experience or contacts. For instance, if the producer knows the artist and decides to do collaboration as well as producing a single. This might be cheaper because of friendship bonds.
Ultimately the kind of producer that you will be able to afford depends on the budget that the A&R department has allocated. Before signing up the producer will listen to the band either live or through demos and decide whether the project is right for him. Sometimes producers will have partnerships with sound engineers which the producer has a preference of working with. Being a record producer is a tempting job position as you feel in control of the project as well as having creative input, a hand in every aspect of the production, decent wages, travelling and working closely with artists.
The bad news is that it takes time before you can stand out from the other producers and you must make connections in order to succeed. Radio DJ Radio DJs are some of the most influential people within the music industry this is because of their potential audience reaching the thousands (BBC Radio 1). If there is a song the radio doesn’t like it then it will not get much airplay but if the DJ is keen on the song he can favour it over other tracks (more airplay instead of none) while trying to follow instructions from radio executives.
A radio executive producer will work with the radio DJ to compile a playlists with suitable music and featuring specific tracks (latest releases). The DJ will then select which songs to play. There are no set routes for radio DJs, they can come from many different types of backgrounds including journalism or office jobs, more than likely the big radio DJs will have worked their way up from some other role within radio production such as assistant or even sound engineering. Most big DJ’s have started out in local radio.
Successful DJ’s are able to fuse their personality with their work and sometimes becoming the “face” of a certain radio. DJ’s are big assets to radios because they attract specific audiences (appealing to different group ages). Commercial radio DJs get paid a lot of money because they are the “talent” that attract audience like TV presenters they are exposed to thousands of people who tune in. Being a radio DJ is a great job, there is not much work involved, all that is required is a great personality, strong vocal presence, good taste in music and some experience in the industry.
Depending on your success you may become wealthy and successful this opens the opportunity for other types of jobs such as presenting live events or festivals. Radio DJ’s expose you to such a great audience that it makes you vulnerable to criticism and scrutiny. The Roadie The road technician is an important role that is carried out by one or many people depending on the size and success of the band. Roadies are sometimes underrated; they are the people who do all the hard work they handle every part of the concert productions except actually performing the music with the musicians.
They tour with the band in sleeper busses and are in most cases musicians themselves. Roadies are usually able to multitask between lighting, guitar technician and even sound engineering. Besides setting up for a concert they are always next to the stage ensuring that everything runs smoothly. They will jump in to the stage at the sign of any technical problem such as a guitar lead coming loose or generally aiding the performer in whichever way possible such as getting them beverages or saving their life (When Gene Simmons of the band KISS attempted to blow fire for the first time on New Year’s Eve 1973, in New York City, he accidentally et his hair-sprayed hair into fierce flames, but was extinguished by a roadie with a wet towel. ) Being a roadie means leading a hectic and stressful life when on the road. Roadies are the first to arrive at a musical venue (8am) and will usually take hours setting up for a concert they will then be on standby waiting for the band to arrive. The band will sound check and the roadies will make adjustments as necessary. During the concert roadies must be by the stage in case anything happens.
After the show they will spend several hours taking the stage down and packing everything up. By the time they are done they will sleep on the bus (3am) on their way to their next destination and so the cycle repeats itself. Roadies will not earn much money; they are not credited for their work on the concert and are there usually just out of passion for music. However they do form tight bonds with the band. David Gilmour was a roadie for Pink Floyd before Nick Manson asked him if he would be interested in joining the band as a guitarist.
Cite this A Brief Look at Four Areas of the Sound and Music Industry
A Brief Look at Four Areas of the Sound and Music Industry. (2017, Feb 18). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/a-brief-look-at-four-areas-of-the-sound-and-music-industry/