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Job Roles Within Record Companies
Transcript of Job Roles Within Record Companies
In bigger Record Labels accounting is often titled Business Affairs. This department is directly responsible for accounting, banking, taxes and the royalties of all the artists signed to the label. Accounting usually reports directly to the CEO as it is vital for the survival of the business, that income exceeds expenditure.
A CEO, President or Managing Director of a Record Label’s main duty is to concentrate on the general direction/genre of the entirety of the label, the politics of the business, the artists signed and the different methods of marketing. The CEO is in control of final approvals of each departments work. An owner of a small label whilst fulfilling the strategic role of the CEO, is also involved with day-to-day jobs such as marketing and networking.
Each Record label will have a group of lawyers to handle all of it's legal affairs. They mainly concentrate on contract negotiations with artists. They also work with vendors, and manage all other contractual needs of the Record Label. The legal department is often one of the bigger departments of a record label. In many cases in the USA, CEO's are attorneys themselves, in the UK the legal departments are not as powerful and CEO's are more likely to have come from an operational or marketing background.
The Vice Presidents/Directors are directly responsible for delivering the strategy of the Record Label as finalised by the CEO. They will hold meetings to plan future aspirations and targets with different department heads. Key tasks at this strategic level include negotiating with distributors, the purchase of media and just generally keeping the business running etc.
A&R (artists and repertoire) is often considered the partying department of the Record Label. These people are in charge of finding new artists and setting up a production team to work with them. This department is often what keeps the artist and Record Label communicating together. A&R help choose song selection for sets and albums, sign producers to produce the artist's album and negotiate prices. They negotiate with recording studios as well and video houses. This is a very sought after job however is highly pressured. If artists produce badly selling albums or are not popular, blame is often given to A&R as well as the artists.
A Junior A&R is often a 'trendy' young person who has contacts and an ability to get into the sickest parties/hottest clubs. They basically know where to find the people's people in the city they are from. An A&R Department might have 100’s of freelance Junior Reps if the Label is keen on signing new talent. They will only get paid if they bring something good to the table. A&R guys can be stationed all around the world.
Production is responsible for the audio/video output of the record label. They make sure artists are at the studios on time and are using them effectively. They work with the A&R department to make sure everything is done on time and is organised.
Most Record Labels have stopped providing ‘Artist Development’ as they now try to sign artists that are already fully developed into their own genre. This means it is unlikely that work is needed to get the artist into the market. Through the years labels have learned that developing artists is often the wrong thing to do. Programs such as XFactor and American Idol are all about this, changing an everyday person into a celebrity who can attract large audiences and sell lots of CDs. Portraying the right personality/image and having correct stage presence are a few typical things the Artist Development Department would work on. Smaller labels can give feedback to artists and suggest they get professional help for example suggesting an image consultant or voice trainer.
The marketing department of most record labels nowadays tend to focus on Street Teams, Art and Design/the image of the artists and online promotion. Street teams give out flyers, put up posters and sell tickets to younger groups of people. The street teams also ring into radio stations requesting songs. A simalar role is that of the Plugger, who plug DJ’s at radios to play a specific track on their playlists and try to supply their bands with live guest apperances and sessions on radio stations. The Marketing Department is also in control of the bands art and design. They design everything from posters and flyers to CD covers and in-store banners.
Social Networking Staff promote bands in the label creating and using websites such as Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter. These social media sites are used to keep fans up to date on the latest news and releases. Other online work is creating banner ads through sites like Vevo on YouTube and creating/updating band websites. The online department also has smaller sub-departments such as SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), programming and PPC (pay per click) managers.
A Publicist is responsible for getting their artists coverage in the media whether it be on the radio, TV, online or in print. They attempt to put a positive spin on any bad press and try to get the most out of all the good news/events coverage that has been reported. Publicists want to get their artists invited to parties, events, and news worthy situations which will increase media coverage for that artist.
The Sales Department is in control of basically everything the labels artists are selling. This is mainly CD’s, DVDs, Merchandise and signature instruments etc. The sales department is a large department within the label, they make the deals with the different manufacturing and distribution businesses. The sub-department ‘Sales Distribution’, make sure that when the artists merchandise/CDs etc are ready to be sold they have all the materials prepared with the manufacturers to make sure they are produced and released on time.
Job Roles Within
In this presentation I outline the main roles and departments you would find in a large corporate Record Label. Increasingly this kind of organisation is decreasing and in its place are small Independent labels. The work of all the roles described still needs to be done however is completed by a smaller work force. These people often take on multiple different tasks and are supported by freelances. The world is changing fast, Record Labels both big and small are having to constantly adapt to the changing markets and technologies.