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Sound and Music Industry
Transcript of Sound and Music Industry
The artist/artists, the performer or the show for the evening bring the fans. The artists will promote the gig through flyers and their online band sites where their fans will see the flyers and want to go. All they need to do is get to the gig and perform. The sound technicians already have everything set up for them and everything is in tune. The artists usually do a pre-concert sound check ensuring all will run smoothly on the night. The managers will make sure they're there on time. They just have to play.This all sounds so simple but is actually, in my opinion, not as easy as it sounds! The whole gig depends on the artist getting everything right and their performance is absolutely crucial to the gig being a success. They have to be perfect on the night! Or the fans will be disappointed and the profits, popularity and future money making ideas may be at risk.
All the people needed to put on a live performance.
The venue manager is in charge of overseeing all the operations within his venue. He'll hire the needed staff e.g. security, bar staff, front of house. He will also do some of the promotion aspects because he wants a full venue. He is the initial point of contact when a band are considering hosting a gig. I feel that this is an important role. For the running of the gig to be smooth the venue manager has to work incredibly hard well in advance of the gig. He needs to be totally prepared and all things must be in place for this to be a successful event.
The sound recording engineer is responsible for bringing all the equipment. He'll take a feed from the sound engineers mixing desk to his recording equipment. He'll mix this feed later in a studio. I know that without some of the sound equipment the recordings would be lost or sound inferior. I feel it is important for the sound engineers to be at the event well in advance as the part the engineers play is very important as the recordings they make will be sold to the fans.
Live sound engineering
The sound engineer is in charge of making the gig sound the best it can. They set up their equipment to amplify the music trying not to lose sound quality in the process.
They'll sound check before the gig to get the levels the best for an amazing night. I think that as it is the music that every one's coming to hear, they have a very important job to get it as high quality as possible.
The roadies are employed by the venue manager and are in charge of setting up and taking down the gig e.g. the stage, the lights and the equipment etc. They work closely with the Stage Crew who will give them instructions and make sure that every last detail is done in a specific way so everything can be done fast, (fast set up and tear down), and they ensure the smooth running of the gig. They have to deal with the equipment and load and unload the gear from the lorries needed for transportation to and from the gig. As I have previously stated, they are key to the workings of the whole event, needing to keep the whole show together and having to follow the instructions of those in charge and in doing so I feel that they are helping to make the gig a success.
The stage crew travel with the band. They know exactly how to set up their gig and in what order everything needs to be done. They instruct the roadies on what to do and make sure they do it in their specific way. The faster they set up and tear down, the faster they can leave. The stage crew and the roadies are the first to get to the venue and usually the last to leave. They are often referred to as working back stage! I consider them to be the leaders, who are needed for their organisational ability when setting up the staged event. I feel they need to be efficient and well organised as a team.
The lighting engineers set up and plan the lighting for the stage. Their job is to try to make the lighting match with what ever is being seen on the stage. The lighting effects are crucial to the event and can make an event spectacular and memorable to the fans. Timing and colours are essential. I'm guessing it can be a difficult job to make the lighting dramatic and fit with the music type.
Depending on the size of the event there could be a T.V. crew to broadcast the occasion. Cameras will be set up before the event to maximise the coverage and footage could be used on the T.V., internet or video at a later date. Some coverage may be live on the night. A technical crew will be there to send feeds onto large screens for fans to see from all areas of the arena. Knowing that this could lead to further profits for the band, I feel that the crew are a key part of the live gig and are essential to making the gig enjoyable and visual to all fans around the actual gig on the night. The atmosphere can be dependent on how well the stage is seen from all angles and the large screens are crucial to the fans. I feel this is a 2 way process as the fans need to clearly see the stage and band, and the euphoric atmosphere and positive visual impact on the fans as a result of this is essential to any recording being made of the event. Hence I feel one is dependent on the other!
Depending on the size of the event there may need to be security present to control the crowd and make sure the event runs smoothly. There also may be personal security for the band. I feel it is essential for anyone in this role to be calm and controlled in any crisis situation and I think it is important that they are briefed adequately as to where emergency exits, emergency services can be located in the arena etc and what to do regarding health and safety on many levels. In my opinion the right people/companies must be selected for this job.
The marshals are usually the people in the high visibility jackets you see around the venue doing all sorts of jobs, e.g. passing out bottles of water, telling you where to park or holding the crowd back if the need arises. They are important to make the event run smoothly. Some times I view this as a thankless job but it is essential to the event in the long run.
There will always be a first aider in case someone is injured. They are on constant alert should any crisis arise and should in my opinion be of high profile within the venue itself. They are often seen in high visibility jackets and stand out from the crowd.
The pyrotechnicians are in charge of any flames or fireworks. They make a gig more entertaining and visually engaging and are therefore, in my view, although not essential to every gig, nevertheless important if major visual impact is needed and the show is to be impressive and remembered. I feel it is a dangerous and highly pressurised job in the entertainment field.
Income from the Event.
You want to make money from putting on an event and the vast majority of your income will be generated by ticket sales and from the the audience on the night. This profit will then be divided across all the different people involved in ensuring the event is a success. Everyone needs to be payed! (Although some work is voluntary).
Merchandise, CD sales at the gigs, t-shirts and cards/ flyers to your website all make money for the band and it's entourage.
Endorsement deals from companies giving money to advertise , equipment, fashion etc can also be a source of income.
There is also a Performing Rights Society where you can apply for the rights to perform in a PRS certified place. Any of these places you perform in allow you to claim money for your appearance. I think it is important for all bands to know about the Performing Rights Society.
What Record Companies are and do.
Major labels are the big record companies you see all the time e.g. Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, EMI and Warner Music Group. They control most of the mainstream music industry. They would buy out competition from smaller independent labels and dissolve the assets in to their music group, thus avoiding competition. In my opinion I am relieved that these major labels are now finding that the independent labels are having more of an impact on the up and coming bands in the music scene. They no longer have such a monopoly on the industry.
An Independent label is essentially a record company that I could set up tomorrow. They usually include all the little companies that are set up. They can sometimes be bought out by a bigger record company. Any record company with non-mainstream music is normally considered a Independent or Indie record label. These companies in my opinion are now being more influential in the industry.
Finding and Signing Artists
An artist and repertoire is a talent scout for a record company. They find and source talent, exploiting the talent so they then try to pair them with the right producer. If an A & R scout works with an artist they can almost become the manager. They also help with the way the band want to be perceived via art work on album covers. I feel that in order to be a good A&R rep you must understand the current music taste and know whats going to be the next big thing. If you do get signed by a record company you are looking at signing a contract between you and them. They will take a percentage of the royalties you earn, usually between 10-15% of what you earn but in exchange you get access to their recording studios. They also handle tours and record sales. Big record companies can easily get your music out to the public. They have very good links to shops where they can sell the album and know how to easily distribute your music.
Artists and repertoire
Record companies own studios which benefits every artist they sign. The artists will have access to professional recording studios. Lets say they lend you five grand then send you to a studio they own. If your recording sells, you make money and they take their 10-15% they're entitled to when you signed the contract. If it doesn't sell it's their loss. They take the gamble when signing you. A fancy studio is good but these days it's cheap and easy to get professional recording quality in your bedroom for around a thousand pounds. The bad thing with doing this is that it's difficult to get the level of quality of a professional studio unless you really know what you're doing. I have found that YouTube has got you covered on most aspects of recording these days and I think that this is one of the main reasons why record companies are losing out on profit from record sales.
Record labels will look for three good singles before they release an album for you and on which they usually include less popular singles.
Distribution, Merchandise & Promotion
Record companies are very good at distributing your album and merchandise. It is one of the main reasons you would go to them over trying to self promote and sell as they have a wide knowledge of the music industry and are therefore able to get your music into the shops quickly and easily. They also know the best ways to get your music online and how to make internet sales. I know this can be done quite easily yourself but if you were on tour you wouldn't have the time to do the promotional side to make the money. Record companies put together the tours for you. They would find you a reputable and reliable tour manager who would have inside knowledge of where to do a gig e.g. which concert arena or event you'll be playing at next. While you are at these events it is a very good time to promote and sell your album and merchandise. I believe that if people on the night like you, they'll want to buy your music and this is the time to sell it to them whilst they remain impressed with your gig and performance.
Record Companies will set up personal appearances and interviews with local papers and radio and T.V. stations promoting the bands music and raising awareness of the bands image. Obviously the more the general public hear your music and are aware and talking about your music, the more the album and merchandise will sell. The more people attend the gigs, the more money you make and the bigger profit the record company will receive. In my opinion it follows that the more personable image the band portrays, the better. This is why quite often the record company will change the band's image in an attempt to appeal to the fans.
Record companies are very good at getting you endorsement deals which will make you money and promote the band further.
Management roles of the artist.
You do not need a manager until they can do something that you can't do for yourself. They fulfill allot of the same roles as a record company in the way that they'll find you gigs and find new ways to promote your band. They'll be setting up websites for your fan base and updating them on a regular basis with where you will be playing next and the cost to get in. They also organise the artist themself by setting up rehearsals and making sure they get to them and to the actual gig on time. They basically handle all the paperwork and the running about.
A personal manager works to run the business for you. You're the musical talent, they do the rest. Managers works on commission and they take 15/20% of what you earn. This is the industry standard. 20% of the money you earn will go straight to them in exchange for this management. A contract between an artist and a manager is normally a 6- 12 month contract and if you earn nothing they earn nothing, so that's a big incentive for them to work. The harder they work to try to find gigs, record deals and endorsement deals which makes you money, the more money they earn in return. It is essential to find a hard working, focused manager in my opinion.
Being an independent musician can be tough. There are many costs to cover including recording fees, transportation costs, promotional items and merchandise to name but a few. It therefore makes sense to attempt to seek sponsorship from a reputable company. Before contacting the company you must be sure of your band's image and what you stand for. You must be able to offer something in return for the sponsorship, e.g. tell the company you will ask all the fans to attend their restaurant after the gig in return for free food for the band on tour etc. It is clear to me that you must be memorable as the company may be approached by hundreds of groups a day and you must stand out. Be sure of your ability to promote their company - know how many Facebook followers you have and, if you are known on YouTube, how many fans have watched your clips etc. In this way you can perfect your pitch and then obtain successful sponsorship deals. This will help lower the costs while on tour - something which has to be beneficial to the tour in the long run in my point of view.
Promotion - http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/2011/10/how-to-get-sponsored-endorsement-deals-for-your-band/
manager and artist rights - http://www.hdqtrz.com/index.php?/artist-management-and-the-contract.php
Merchandise - http://musicians.about.com/od/playinglive/f/How-Does-Tour-Merchandising-Work.htm
Health and safety
Rights of the Manager and Artist
A significant role in the artist's development is that of the personal manager. The artist and the manager work together and therefore it is advisable to devise a written contract between the two. A contract defines the relationship between both the artist and the manager and outlines this relationship in detail and in writing. This will help to avoid discrepancies and disagreements in the future. It is important to negotiate a viable contract for yourself and your manager and your needs and concerns must be determined. This is all dependent on compromise.
In the contract it is important to think of the following:
A suitable time frame - how long will the contract run for and can it be extended regularly? Remember that your manager should be investing a lot of his time and often personal money into developing your band to the point where you will be able to pay for your manager's services. It is therefore reasonable to expect a decent time frame to run in order for the manager to develop your potential to fame! If your manager is not successful and does not perform well it is reasonable for you to terminate his contract within an acceptable time frame.
The manager's duties/ responsibilities - Your manager should offer to counsel your band where necessary and should handle your band's administrative needs. In return, as the artist, you should agree to be available to perform etc when called upon to do so by the manager.
Compensation and payment - the manager performs a service and is effective in helping you to make money. The manager expects a percentage of what you earn in return. It is important to work as a team. The manager will expect a percentage of money from all your sources - recording, performing, songwriting and merchandise etc. A typical amount would be 15-20% of your gross income providing the manger does a good job helping to exploit your talents within these areas.
Contracts can be a minefield and I think that legal representation should be sought by both sides to be sure or a good working partnership.
Items with your band's name, likeness and logo etc are designed and sold to fans. Initially merchandise is usually sold from a table at the venue by one of your band members or your manager!
However the bigger your gigs and tours and the more well known you become it will soon be apparent that a tour merchandising company will want to be involved. They basically license the rights to use your name, likeness, logo etc on merchandise produced with you and a designer deciding on appropriate material to sell on the road. You are then paid a percentage of all proceeds. It is important I think for the band to have a say in their promotional material and they should make their opinions known.
A music publishing company fulfills almost the same roles as a record label but are more for song writers then musicians. They allow songwriters and composers to copyright their music and collect the royalties for the musician if their music is played or used. A lot of big musicians don't write their own music or lyrics and still rely on others to write the music which they then either buy from a song writer or pay the original song writer royalties for the use of the song. A music publishing company makes sure that they receive the royalties that they deserve.
Publishing companies also make deals with songwriters, promote songs songwriters compose to musicians and anyone else who needs songs whether for adverts, movies or a promotional campaign etc. They issue licenses for the use of songs and collect licensing fees.
I am aware that they are important to a song writer and composer as they allow them to copyright their songs so protecting them in the future whilst allowing them to make money from their songs being used by more well known artists.
What are music publishing companies?
Artist & Repertoire
A publishing Company will still have an A&R department to find new talent they will be trying to do the same thing to get the musicians music to the public and to work on the bands image. They take your concept and put it out to the public. They'll promote the band through free websites such as YouTube, Soundcloud, Facebook and a band website or to make money they will be getting your music on sites such as Itunes which takes 30/40% of profits, Amazon, Play and CD Baby. I think this role can be done on your own with a small amount of knowledge.
Some publishing companies are far more 'hands-on' than others and will have a department devoted to giving feedback to the songwriters. They will match potential writers together so that they can collaborate on specific pieces to produce exciting and varied music.
Other companies will evaluate a song and it's profitability potential. They will then purchase chunks of royalties but will not generate offers themselves, preferring to wait for the clients to come to them. Obviously it is then in your best interests to find a company that works for you in my opinion.
Aspects of a live performance.
Health and Safety
Health and safety has many issues at live events. Organisers must manage health and safety correctly and therefore need to plan ahead. The best way to do this is to create a health and safety policy for the event and plan to put it into practice. This then has to be reviewed and audited regularly. This can prove to be difficult at live events as live events may have a number of phases - e.g. selection of venue, delivery of equipment, construction of a temporary arena/ stage and the show itself. After the event there is the collection of rubbish, waste disposal and the removal of equipment once the show is over. All these have to be considered when preparing for a live event and the best way is to break each phase down and look at each one in turn and the risks involved. A safety plan should be devised and a risk assessment produced for each phase pertaining to venue details, crowd management, site safety, first aid and emergencies and transport plans. The risk assessment details involve looking at all possible eventualities and preparing for all outcomes. This requires proper communication and co-operation and will mean that ultimately someone will need to take responsibility for the health and safety procedures at the live event. I believe that health and safety is taking a much higher profile at live events in more recent years and therefore needs to be managed carefully and proficiently at live gigs. In my view, it is paramount to the whole event going well and to the reputation of the venue and the band in general.
Event and Tour Management
The job role of an event manager is to make sure that all the aspects of the gig are in place on the night of the event. It can be a very difficult job if you aren't aware of what needs to be done. They are responsible for ensuring that all the job roles are covered in preparation for the event. The event manager will spend most of their time coordinating all areas to ensure that the event runs smoothly on the night.
The tour manager's job is almost the same but he makes sure that the band knows which venue they are going to be performing at next. He spends his time ensuring that the venues are prepared in advance for the gig and band to arrive. He will book hotels for the band and ensure their personal comforts and needs are met during the tour dates. I think this is a very pressurised job with very long hours if not days. The event manager would have to be devoted to the success of the band.
Promotion of a Live Performance
The promotion of the performance needs to be done by everyone involved in the event. Everyone needs to be paid and the more people attend, the more money is made and the larger the cut the people will receive. The promotion is best done through posters and flyers so people know where it is, who will be playing and the dates of the gig. The more modern ways of promoting gigs are through the internet using sites such as Facebook and Twitter or through each of the band's own website. In this way the information is sent to as many people as possible so that as many of their fans attend the event. I think that the bands need to be promoting the live performance in every way possible e.g. via interview for T.V. or radio where the opportunity to promote the event should be taken. The more people you get the message out to, the more people will attend!
Front of House
Front of house is, in my opinion, an important role in the live event operation. Front of house involves the people who are required to ensure the event runs smoothly. They often admit the crowd, see fans to seats, take responsibility for refreshments and deal with service and sales to fans in all areas of the building, and across all activities, functions and events. The Team will work flexibly, as required, covering all front-of-house areas. They have ample opportunity to work between selling tickets, selling food, drinks and merchandise, serving at functions, and providing a welcoming and information service to the fans at the event. Marshals are often included in this area. Most front of house people will wear a luminous jacket so as to be easily seen by the public. They will have to be briefed before the event as to health and safety procedures etc.
A contract is set up between an employer and a employee and will outline what is expected when a job is accepted. It usually looks at 4 areas: employment conditions, rights, responsibilities and duties. These are called the 'terms of the contract.' The terms are usually legally binding and the employee should be made aware of the legally binding areas of the contract from the start. A contract will include a written statement outlining hours of work, rate of pay, grievance procedures and pensions amongst other crucial information needed by the employee.
A contract should be in place for most of the job roles involved in a live performance. Obviously the content of each contract will vary from role to role e.g. the security and the venue manager will have a contract between them ensuring all aspects of the job and it's requirements are met for both parties in the agreement.
Contracts will be in place for all areas of a live performance between different people e.g. roadies and managers, front of house roles and venue owner, sound technicians and managers etc.
I think contracts are crucial for the protection of the rights of both parties and for this reason may take some time to negotiate. However it is I feel essential to consider all areas of a contract with both parties so that future issues, should they arise, are easily referred to in the contract and ironed out with ease. In my opinion, if the ground rules are clear cut and all agree, then the future will very much take care of itself regarding the varied partnerships in all these many areas.
The nature of the music industry has changed so much over the past 5 years that contracts have had to change with it mostly due to the Independent record labels having more say in the industry. Artists are no longer tied into contracts or album deals but are able to explore their creativity and the smaller labels are able to hold on to the artist much more than before because of this. Contract lengths are now shorter, from 6 months to 2 years allowing for the artist and label to work together without putting great demands on sales and content. Also the Royalty Rights have changed, allowing the artist and the label to take 50/50 percent shares so working far more together in the relationship and aiming towards the same goals long term. In my opinion contracts have to be negotiated carefully and therefore must be beneficial to both parties.