Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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Areas of Music Business
General Areas of the Music Business include: Artist Management - Artist managers assist musicians and bands in planning their careers and they may be in business independently or work for established organizations. They serve as the liaison between record companies and artists, look out for and protect their interests and are generally paid a percentage of the overall income the artist generates. They need to be the artist’s number one supporter, be well-organized and have access to contacts in the field. Additional positions that make up an artist’s “management team” can include a lawyer to negotiate contracts, a talent agent to find and book performing opportunities, a business manager to oversee the financial side of things and a publicist who promotes the artist using a variety of media tools such as press releases and press kits to gain positive public feedback in the form of press, interviews and additional engagements. Arts Administration - As opposed to the for-profit commercial side of the music industry, arts administration focuses on the nonprofit side of the music industry featuring repertoire and organizations associated with the symphony orchestra, opera, ballet, chamber and chorus music, and additional performing arts. There is a continual need for individuals to apply sound business practices within these 501(c)3 organizations in which all of the income generated goes back into the mission of the organization. “Nonprofit” does not mean these organizations do not make money, however in addition to receiving some income from ticket sales; they are heavily supplemented with income from individual and corporate donations, foundations and state and federal grants. Therefore, arts administrators must be skilled in fundraising, possess strong writing skills and a keen understanding of their audiences and continually develop programs and activities to build their audience base. Music Products - Many individuals who love music choose to enter the music products industry. They may work at a manufacturer, a retailer or print publisher. The music products industry and music education are closely linked because without actively playing musicians who must purchase instruments, accessories and take lessons to increase their skills, the industry would not grow. This is why so many retailers also offer lessons to increase foot traffic. Individuals who work for large music products manufacturers may sell instruments to several different markets such as colleges and high schools. They may also work with musicians directly to establish good artist relations and solicit artists to endorse their line of product. The internet is transforming how business is done in this industry, most specifically within print publishing as print folios are available now online for individuals to print out at home and the internet allows consumers to find out detailed pricing information on any product available. Depending on the product, they may choose to purchase it online, or they may still want the tangible experience of a store. Music Publishing - At the root of every piece of music is a set of copyrights; one for the underlying song (usually owned by the songwriter/composer and/or the publisher) and one for the recorded performance of the song (usually owned by the recording artist and/or the record label. Music publishing most directly follows how money is generated through the uses of songs. Publishers’ main job is to acquire copyrights through signing songwriters or purchasing established catalogs, administer those copyrights through registration processes, and exploit those copyrights through issuing licenses for different uses of the compositions. Such uses include reproduction and distribution, preparation of derivative works, public display, public performance, and performance via digital audio transmission. Fees are either set or negotiated; publishing is considered more recession proof than other areas due to the income generated through using copyrighted music. Recording Industry - While the music business industry in general is an area of ongoing change, nowhere is this more felt than in the recording industry. Peer to peer downloading has forever changed the recording industry and record labels are in the middle of a major transition from an industry that predominantly manufactured and distributed physical product to a digital one. The internet has allowed more musicians to create, distribute and promote music themselves. There is still a need for recording professionals in studios and executives to scout talent and work in promotion and distribution at record companies, but consolidation of organizations is a trend. Students may be interested in recording engineering, producing or record promotion via traditional and web-based media outlets. To thrive in this industry individuals must be open-minded, competitive and easily adjust to change. Concert Promotion - Touring is an important way for musicians to make money throughout their career. Those in the concert promotion business either work for a facility or a national or local promoting company that rents out facilities, hires acts, markets the acts and collects income. The field is an exciting and risky one, as expenses must be balanced according to what promoters expect they will take in from ticket revenue. Promoters are in charge of organizing ticket sales, sales of merchandise at events, securing sponsorships to support events, providing event staff, financial accounting and adhering to safety requirements for live events. Individuals are most successful in this field when they have the ability to juggle countless tasks and are comfortable managing all aspects of the production of a show.