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Roles In The Music Industry
Transcript of Roles In The Music Industry
In the modern music industry there are many roles used to aid musicians and artists in their quest for gaining popularity and in turn... money. A lot of the time artists will go to different types of companies associated with: Live Performance, Record production, Music publishing and distribution and Artist management.
Today we will be looking in detail at these different sectors, describe what they can do for the artist, explain how they make they're own money from the artist and go over my ideas on these companies and decide whether I personally would choose them to help me as an artist.
A record company is usually a company that deals with the production of the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Some record companies issue artists with a sum of money that they will be given for the production of an album or music video. This money will then be slowly payed back to the record company as the artist starts making money off the product.
Record companies may be small scale independents (indie) or part of a large scale international music group. At around 2012 there were only three major labels known as the big three: Universal music group, Sony music entertainment and Warner music group. A ''sublabel'' is now a label that is owned by a bigger label but does business under a different name.
The most common stigma behind the big record labels is that they are all cigar smoking, whiskey drinking fat cats who only care about how much money is being made by an artist... this may be true as they invest millions into an artist and then they will get paid back that much and; they hope, more. The record company will pay for you to be put in a studio, to promote the album, to go on tour after the album is released and get a manager. Once the label has given you this money you are then in debt to them, it is your responsibility to make a record that will sell millions of copies and make the label and maybe even you very very rich. This is why you will not find Jethro Tull signed to Sony, because last time I checked experimental medieval prog rock was not on the Itunes topseller list, and is not going to make a record company millions... even though it is some great music. And that is why I would not sign to a major label at the moment, because alot of the music being produced from these labels is not for the good of musical progression, it is just so some guy in an office can buy another yacht or another home in a different country. That may be a very cynical way of looking at it but that is how it is.
Live performances can be some of the most exciting and stress free times for a musician, it's time for them to show off what they can do after so long rehearsing and practicing. But to get to these live situations they may need help. Smaller bands will often just talk with venues and sort out a support slot or even a headline slot in a smaller venue. Other ways are by hiring Booking agents or Managers to talk with bigger venues. This is if the gigs you are playing are too small to support the amount of fans turning up to watch you and it is exceeding the amount the venue can hold and you need to look into touring and other ways of playing gigs. If the artist is making enough money they may be approached by Managers and booking agents but they can approach them if they think they can not organize tours and gigs themselves. An agent will (help you) decide which markets to hit on, which route to take, talk to and book clubs, take offers and sort out deals. The agent is responsible for you having venues to play at on your tour. They will do this by talking with venues and clubs and sorting out nights for you to play and telling them how many people will be attending so that the venue can assess health and safety; will there be too many people attending?, what equipment is there and what needs to be supplied and how long the band can play and how late they can play until.
The Manager may also be responsible for the merchandise being sold at the gig and will employ someone to stand and sell the merchandise while the band is playing. The money made from this will go to paying the venue, manager, the band, for equipment and maybe even for paying back a record company from a loan for the album.
I personally feel that a band; if well organized, can organize a tour and talk to venues themselves without getting a manager or booking agent involved, I think that a band doesn't need a manager... if organized. On the other hand not all bands have the time as well as practicing do be talking to venues and sorting out these things for themselves. This is why managers and booking agents exist for live performances to be able to sort out the health and safety and equipment, talking to venues and getting support acts, while the band deals with the actual performance and entertaining the crowd so they want to come and see them again.
Some managers may not ask for a contract straight away, but as soon as a record company or publishing company gets involved they will ask the artist to sign a contract outlining what percentage cut from sales and other such profitable things the manager will get. A contract is used to back up a manager or band if they get into legal trouble or just to state how long a manager works for the artist and what the manager must do for the band during his time working for them.
A manager could also get in cahoots with product companies and talk about artist endorsements for the band members to get regular equipment supplied for shows. This will be done when the artists are playing bigger venues and many people will be seeing the artist and what he or she is playing, meaning companies will want them playing their product... meaning you will never see a band like Foo Fighters play without endorsements because they are playing to thousands of people, their manager will of made sure they get the best product endorsements of their favorite products.
In my opinion I think that different types of managers are important for getting bands to higher places, for example at first the band could get themselves to a sturdy place then hire a tour manager to get them bigger gigs, then a merchandise manager to organize the merchandise sales on tour then a manager can talk to endorsement companies about endorsements and get them free equipment. On the other hand with a bit of hard work and good contacts these are all things that a band can do themselves and don't need various managers to get them to these places. Managers do take a lot of pressure off the shoulders of the artist so that when they do go on tour they have someone else organizing everything else, then they can focus on the playing and entertaining part.
Independent record companies personally are a better option for me, because how indie labels work is they are more open for musical difference and musical independence, so you may be able to be a little more experimental with your music and be able to push the envelope more. Although this may not last long as it is common for indie labels to be bought out by the bigger labels and then they will be controlled by the big label and will be wanted to produce a certain type of music that will make the major label more money. One of the only ways you as an artist can produce music that you want to make when you want to make it is by doing it completely independently. Take Led Zeppelin for example, they started their own record label 'Swan Song', although this was in partnership with Atlantic records which is now owned by the Warner Music group. It was a 'sublabel' of Atlantic run by Led Zeppelin which meant that Zeppelin could write what ever music they felt like and it is some of the most driving and inspiring music I have ever heard. Although starting your own label can take a lot of time and money out of your own pocket, which is why there are a lot of 'sub labels' and 'sub sub labels' producing some amazing music but then in the end get eaten by the bigger fish.
Music Publishing and Distribution
Music publishing companies such as: Itunes and HMV dominate the physical sales and digital download industry, even as I type this I am listening to an album that I bought at HMV but am listening to through Itunes. These companies (with the right amount of cash thrown their way) will promote your music or album that you have recorded with your label, recommending it to their users or putting it on the shelves of the shop just as people walk into the store. This means that getting your music on Itunes means nothing if you don't have a following behind you or money to get your music onto the homepage of Itunes. Smaller artists often think that if your music is on Itunes or in HMV that they have made it and it is true that getting on Itunes does have some impressive aspect to it but the fact is nowadays anyone can get on Itunes. Just because an artist is on Itunes, that doesn't mean they are going to promote their music.
A&R or artist and repertoire are often part of a record company that is responsible for scouting out artists and overseeing these artist for the record company. A&R will scout out artists for the record company to sign and give them a record deal of so many albums and if the artist makes no money off the albums for the record company then not only will the artist's contract be terminated but the A&R scout will probably be fired.
Once an artist is big enough they will be approached by an A&R scout, this is because the record company see this band making a lot of money and want to get them onto publishing companies so that sales can be increased and promotion on that publisher can be increased and the record company can get the money back that they put into the artist for the record. A percentage of each album or song sold through the company will go to the actual publisher, some of it will go to the artist, but with major labels the majority of the money made off each song or album will go back to the record company.
In my opinion this is a good way to do things for the record company... it makes them a lot of money and if i was working for the record company I would be happy. On the other hand for the artist it can be very hard for them to make money and they often will not get a very big cut from each song sold if they are involved with these major labels. If the artist is completely independent and has no involvement with big record labels it may be harder to get onto these music publishing companies but if you get there you can take the cut the record company would get but again you have to give some of the profit to the publisher.
The live performance section of the music industry stretches from an open mic night to a full scale arena world tour that lasts over a year. Covering everything from promoters to health and safety, tour management, backstage, front of house. At every event you go to to see a band or artist there will be a team of people that will have made that night possible. A promoter will have got in touch with perhaps advertising agencies and got them to make an advert in a news paper or in a music magazine or up on a website making more people come to the gig. The fans will then buy their tickets from the internet or from a box office at the venue they are playing. If the artist you're going to see is in the middle of a tour it is likely that a tour manager will have made this possible by setting up a route of venues big enough for the band to play in sequence. They will need to organize whether they need their own PA, tour bus and equipment to take on the road with them. At a live performance there will be a sound engineer usually at the rear of the audience controlling most of the sound coming from the band and into the audiences ears, they control the levels of the artists instruments and vocals and make it all sound good. They or a second engineer at the side of the stage will control what the artists can hear through their monitors, this is vitally important to the artists so they can hear what each other are doing. Lighting engineers are also a tremendously important part of any live performance, they really add another dynamic area of entertainment to the performance. For example, going to a live show and if the end of the song cuts off quite sharply you want to lights to go out because it is very effective, and it also creates more of a visual entertainment rather than just 3 or 4 people stood on stage playing music. The band will talk to the lighting engineers before hand or if the band have brought their own lighting engineers then the lighting for different songs will be pre-arranged. The band manager will have been responsible for hiring a tour manager who is then responsible for hiring various technicians and roadies.
I think that live performance is a looked forward to time for a musician. Touring and playing big venues can be stressful, but when you get up there and see the amount of people that are there to see you play it is a great feeling. For an artist the tour can be quite easy, with all the other people moving things around and making everything sound good and once you get on stage you can just relax and have a good time playing music that you love. On the other hand it is very serious in that if you occupy a venue you are then held responsible for the safety of the people at the gig, leaving a lot of pressure on you, but with a lot of preparation and help live performance is a very free and expressive aspect of the music industry.
Areas of the Music in Industry
Jobs in the industry
There are many jobs associated with these different roles in the music industry. With each sector of the music industry: live performance, artist management, record companies, music publishing, there comes four individual bags of jobs that you can go into. I will be looking into live performance and the jobs that come with it.
Jobs in live performance
Firstly there is the artist. The artist is the person who will be playing the live performance at a venue at a gig. An artist or performer will have to of course, provide a fan base or people to come and watch them play at the venue so that the venue gets money. An artist can fill up venues in many ways. They can pay 'pay to play' gigs meaning they have to sell a certain amount of tickets to get paid for doing the gig. Or they could already have a big fan base so they will be given gigs with bigger venues because nowhere else can facilitate them. Also the artist will have to actually play the gig, some venues or promotional companies will make the artist sign a contract stating that they have to leave so much notice before not playing a gig. If the artist doesn't give this much notice the company can give the artist a fine of an arranged amount. In my opinion this clause of giving notice before canceling is a fare part of a promotional contract because it is you as a bands responsibility to play a gig if you've been given it. It is not the venues responsibility if an artist plays there, it is there responsibility if an artist cancels they have to refund all the people that have bought the tickets for the show.
A promoter is someone who works with a venue and puts on events at that venue. A promoter will work also with artists to get them on these events at the venues. The venues will also pay the promoter a certain percentage or the pre-event ticket sales and also the tickets sold on the doors. The venues will make there money through the promoters from the drinks sales at the bar and some of the ticket sales. A common arrangement between venues and promoters will be that the promoter takes a percentage of the ticket sales and the venue will take all the money made at the bar through food and drink sales.
A tour manager will have contacts with different venues and will take artists and organize a series of gigs across a country or if an artist has a lot of funds even a world tour will be organized with arenas and big advertising campaigns. It will be the tour managers job to organize the equipment the band is going to need to do the tour. Not just guitars, amps and drums but a tour bus, if they need to bring their own PA system with them and if they need their own teams of lighting and sound engineering staff.
Pros and Cons
Pros: Organizes a band and keeps everything in check.If a band is quite lazy a manager is great because they will have the contacts and give a band the drive to perhaps get bigger and make it as a band.
Might even give a band financial support and equipment for playing gigs and maybe talk with companies about free products.
A tour manager will sort out a whole route for a tour while the band can focus on the actual playing and other aspects.
Cons: A lot of the time if a band has enough drive they can do all the organizing a manager would do and for no cost.
If a manager gives an artist financial support he will be expecting that monet back at some point. Or if he gives you free equipment it probably won't be because you're the best band in the world but he will be expecting to make that money back.
Again with a tour manager, a tour is just a series of gigs so if you have the connections to talk to venues and organize the gigs yourself and the money to hire a van to carry your gear around then you can do it all yourself.
Pros and Cons
Pros: If you're signed to one of the big three you will become famous.
You will get a lot of money put behind your records and be put into some of the worlds best studios.
You will be given money to record an album, release and promote it, and a tour, maybe even a world tour.
Cons: You will be famous... but this will be the record companies image of you. Unless you are already a perfectly packaged and consumer-ready pop star the record company will alter how you look, how you sound and how you act in front of the press.
It is true that a record company will invest money in you and will put you in the best studios in the world... but they will be expecting this money payed back by taking cuts of every song and album bought, the ticket sales for your tour and anything else that you make and sell.
The big record companies in theory will make you rich and famous beyond your wildest dreams but when you look at what they expect off you it out-weighs what they are giving you and in the grand scheme of things only want you to make money.
Pros and Cons
Pros: promotional companies take your music and make it easier for your fans to buy by putting it on their website or in their shops.
They will promote your music and make it more likely for people to buy your music and come to your gigs.
You get a cut from every song and album sale.
Cons: Promotional companies will promote your music but only if you have the money to give them to promote it for you. If your music gets on itunes that doesn't mean they are promoting it. Your music is simply just on itunes waiting for you to tel your fans to go to someone else to get your music. They also take a cut of what you sell using their shop or website. Why not just print you album onto a few CD's and sell a few at each gig you play. Therefore you get 100% of what you sell and your fans don't have to go anywhere else to get it.
Pros and Cons
Pros: You get to entertain your fans and play what you love to do... play music.
You can attract more fans and play bigger venues.
Can get paid for playing a gig and if your on a record deal you can pay back some of the debt you have from the record company.
Through live performance you can attract managers and record companies and grow your connections with important people.
Cons: If you play 'pay to play' gigs then there can be a lot of pressure put on you from promoters to sell a certain amount of tickets to be able to get paid.
You need to have a fan base otherwise venues will know that you are not going to fill up their venue and get them money.
Also if you put on your own gigs and rent out a venue for a night then you are responsible for any health and safety issues that may occur. This can put stress and strain on the artist or band.
writing the song.
A band or artist will write a song. Simple to start with right? but once they want to make money of the hard work they have put into writing this song they will do certain things to make sure they are getting the cash from the use of the song and not someone else.
Every time a song is recorded, performed live or played on the radio, the band or artist is entitled to a payment. There are different royalties for different uses of a song. One payment comes from what is known as a 'Performing Right', this is the right to be paid for a performance of your song. The Performing Right Society (PRS) collects and pays out royalties due for public performances of songs in different venues. A lot of artists and bands are unaware of this so may be doing performances at big gigs but not realizing they can get paid by the PRS. Venues pay the PRS for a license to play live music. The PRS then passes the money on to the publishers of the songs. The publishers in turn pass a share on to the bands or artists.
TV and radio stations, and film and video companies also have to pay to use songs. Broadcasters have to submit playlists to PRS, who then pay the publishers accordingly. PRS also monitor broadcasts to check that the playlists are accurate.
A second kind of royalty comes from what is known as the Mechanical Right. This means that every time a recording of the song is made, the writers should get paid. The Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) negotiates agreements on behalf of publishers, with record companies, broadcasters and anyone else who wants to record music. MCPS then collects and distributes recording royalties to publishers. Recording royalties are generated every time the music is copied on to MP3, CD, cassette, vinyl, or any other format.
The Performers Rights are owned by the people actually playing the instruments. In order to use your performance on a recording, the person who is making the recording needs your permission. If you are an artist or part of a group your contract might include a royalty payment for each play of the recording. In theory this means that the musicians should get paid every time a CD or record is manufactured. What happens in practice is they get paid a percentage of the profits for every CD or record sold in the shops. Distributors and retailers pay the record companies directly for the copies they sell. Owners of public places where recorded music is used to attract customers, such as clubs, bars, shops and hotels pay for a license to use those recordings. TV and radio broadcasters also have to pay for a license to use recordings. A company called Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) collects the license money and then passes a share on to the musicians.
Often session musicians and backing vocalists are asked to sign a standard consent from (drafted by the Musicians Union and Equity respectively). This waives their rights to be paid each time their performance on a recording is used. Instead they get a one-off payment for the session. This has been an area of dispute in the past - where a really notable performance by a session player has radically changed the direction of a song.
When artists or bands write songs, each of the members or the group or band has a claim on the copyright of the song and they will need to agree how to divide the royalties, so it is important to confirm in writing what each member has written. Two rules of thumb have developed to help bands and artists work this out. The first and most common is that the words /lyrics of a song attract 50% of the copyright and the music attracts the other 50%. The second is that the words attract one third, another third goes to the writer of the melody and the remaining third goes to the writer of the rest of the music. It is up to the artost or band to decide what they feel is fair.
When it comes to bands, this sort of thing can cause huge tensions. The copyright in the songs is what generates most of the money in music. You can end up with one or two members who are making all the cash, while the non-writing members are still in the gutter. It's especially contentious with a band, where the bass player, for example, may write the bassline but not get a credit as a writer. Some well known bands have credited every member on every song so that each receives an equal royalty. Others have used voting systems to decide how big a contribution each member made.
A contract is a type of agreement between two parties. A contract can be a verbal contract but this has no hold in a legal setting as there is no proof who has agreed to what. Written contracts are more common with more serious business or legal agreements. If a band has a contract with a manager then this will usually outline what the manager is there to do, how long he has to be there for and what he is going to do for the band. Contacts need to be looked at in strenuous detail before they are signed, otherwise a band or artist can be signing up for something that may lead them to get no money from they're songs, or they might be signing over all the rights to their songs to the manager, who knows? if a manager gives you a contract and you don't read over it who knows what you're putting your signature to.