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The Traditional Record Label

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Ron Marschall

on 27 August 2018

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Transcript of The Traditional Record Label


Organization of a
Major Record Label

departments that make up a major record label
Marketing Department
Art Department
Publicity Department
Artist Development
Promotion Department
Record Company President
Under the president of the individual label, there are vice presidents in charge of different departments
In addition, each subsidiary label also has its own president
Lets start at the top
in charge of the business of the whole company
Attitude & Rejection
Product Development
main purpose is to make sure that an artist is being played on the
responsible for getting the word out about a new or established artists
creates the overall marketing plan for every album that the record company will release
all the artwork that goes along with releasing an album
oversees the retail aspect of the record business
Lucian Grainge
CEO Universal Music Group
Rob Stringer
CEO Sony Music Group
Max Lousada
CEO of recorded music at
Warner Music Group
Jimmy Iovine
Steve Barnett
Clive Davis
Jay Z
Artists & Repertoire
A&R people work very hands-on with the artists that they "sign."
promotes and publicizes the artists
over the course of their career.
Many record labels have come to see artists as products in recent years, some artist development departments have been renamed "Product Development."
*If you don't want to be a "one-hit-wonder," pay close attention to how the record label views this aspect of career planning.
New Media
in charge of dealing with the newer aspects of the music business
includes cover art, logos, advertisements and displays
Legal Department
responsible for all the contracts and any legal issues that arise such as lawsuits
Business Affairs
takes care of bookkeeping, payroll and general finances.
Label Liaison
serves as the link between the distribution company and the record company
2011 - Present
2017 - Present
2017 - Present
CEO Capitol Music Group 2012-present
President of Epic 2004-2005
Chairman of Columbia Records 2005-2012
co-founder of Interscope Records
chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M
co-founder Beats Electronics
President of Columbia 1967-1973
Founder Arista 1975-2000
CEO RCA 2002-2008
Founder Roc-A-Fella Records 1995
President Def Jam 1999-2007
The Traditional Record Label
What do Record Labels do?
Or, more precisely, what did they traditionally do?
Fund recording sessions
Manufacture Product
Distribute Product
Market Product
Advance Money for Expenses
Advise and guide artists on
their careers and recordings
managers are supposed to do this, but record companies do as well
Handle the accounting of all of the above and eventually funnel some of the left-over cash to the artist
The 4 big changes in the record business:
Recording costs have become manageable
Manufacturing and distribution costs are approaching zero
Artists no longer get big advances
Live performance is now viewed as a source of income
(the primary source of income)
Major Record Labels
"The music business is hardly even in the business of producing music anymore. At some point, it became primarily the business of selling objects—LPs, cassettes, CDs in plastic cases—and that business will soon be over."
- David Byrne, How Music Works

John Hammond
Gary Gersh
Simon Cowell

"(Record labels) are clinically paralyzed by ignorance, arrogance, politics, bureaucracy and, above all else, fear — fear of doing the wrong thing. And it's not just fear of hurting themselves that has them hamstrung. No — what brings on the night sweats is their fear of doing something that might inadvertently benefit someone they hate. And this is a real risk, because the giant music execs seem to hate everyone their businesses touch.
They hate each other, for one thing. And boy, do they hate the musicians (spoiled druggie narcissists!)
They certainly hate the radio stations that basically advertise their music for free (too much power, the bastards!)
And they loathe the online music industry (thieving geek bastards!)
They hated the music retailers, back when they still existed (the bastards took too much margin!) They hate the Walmart folks, who account for most of what's left of physical CD sales (red state Nazi cheapskates!)
They've always hated the concert industry
(we should be getting that money!)
And they all but despise the music-buying public (thieves!
they're all a bunch of down-loading geek bastard thieving-ass thieves!)"
- Rob Reid, Year Zero.

"Please be advised that in this week's Jennifer Lopez Top 40 Spin Increase of 236 we bought 63 spins at a cost of $3,600."

"Please be advised that in this week's Good Charlotte Top 40 Spin Increase of 61 we bought approximately 250 spins at a cost of $17K …"
Ron Perry
CEO Columbia Records 2018-present
(Former head of Columbia Records)
Full transcript