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The Areas Of The Music Industry

An explanation of 4 areas of the music and sound industry

Alfie Wright

on 3 January 2013

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Transcript of The Areas Of The Music Industry

Areas of the Music
and Sound Industry Publishing Journalism Education Roles In the Performance
Area of the Industry A publishing company is one which protects and develops music. A publishing company usually takes on the role of managing the business side of the arrangement with the artist, which leaves the artist to focus on the creative works of music. This actually usually forms the start of a relationship between an artist and a publishing company, as most artists are unaware of the legalities of the industry and so seek out the assistance of a publisher who then acts on behalf of them when negotiating contracts and record deals etc, as well as processing any compositions or products of the artists through copyright and such.
Publishing companies focus on identifying and exploiting artists' work and talent. They can achieve this by either searching for new talent or by nurturing the artists they already represent. Most publishing companies focus on the latter. They do this by obtaining ownership of some or all of the artists' creative works and selling the use of them for royalty money. A percentage of this (as agreed in the publisher contract signed between the publishing firm and the artist) is retained by the publisher and the remainder is paid to the artist. These royalties can take the form of many sources such as the use of the artists' music in a TV advert or on the radio etc, and the use of these materials by 3rd parties is protected by copyrights which are arranged by the publisher.
Companies in the publishing area of the industry vary largely in size due to the roles which the company takes on but also who they represent. For example, there are small, independent publishing firms who focus on locally based or artists who are new to the industry, and will not represent many artists. These publishers will normally deal with royalties, contracts and copyrights but no more, leaving it up to the artist to approach TV advertisers, record labels etc. This is because the smaller companies lack the resources to perform all these tasks on behalf of the artist who would probably not have the money or status to be represented by a larger publishing company. However, some larger companies may not be entirely independent and may be affiliated with Sony or Warner Bros for example, or other record labels. These publishing companies will have the resources required to support the artists and their creative needs - be it through financial support or through providing facilities to improve their music or living accommodation.
Publishers sign up their acts with the PRS (performing rights society) which ensures that their music ad royalties are properly used and accounted for, as well as making sure the artists' music is properly licensed.
Publishers have the edge in the music industry; they are able to hear and develop the music of the artists before it is released, as success in the industry depends largely on the publisher. The one disadvantage of being a publisher however is never being able to guarantee the success of an artist. They may spend tireless efforts on polishing or improving an artists work and never be able to successfully plug or sell them, which can be disastrous for both publisher and artist. Music Journalism is often described as the filter between the music producers and the consumer. The first unbiased approach or review of a new record or album is a piece of journalism and therefore the journalists of the industry are incredibly influencial.
The journalism area of the industry mainly compiles of the magazines and online columns that document on the goings on in the popular music industry. These magazines consist of the editors and managers who run the magazines and the journalists who write the material for the magazine itself.
Profit in this sector is generated from magazine sales or, in the case of online journalism mainly, advertising by third parties to produce revenue. The editors and producers of these magazines take on a more administrative role, focusing on the business side of things such as signing contracts with distributors and retailers who will then sell he magazines first hand.
The journalists however, are the ones who have the influencial roll.
Some will be tied to a particular magazine but often music journalists are free-lance, and will write articles before approaching editors to attempt to sell the article to the magazine. These articles may be purely informational pieces, whereas others will be focused on entertainment or even winning over the view of the reader. It is the latter that is the most influencial and can determine the success of a particular record or album should the journalist take a strong view either way on the issue.
Magazines such as "Kerrang!" are good examples of music journalism in practise - providing weekly entertainment, information and debate to millions of rock music fans round the world. One of the terms of its success in the industry is its regular (weekly) production. A new issue is brought out ever week which can be both beneficial and disadvantageous in the industry as, while weekly issues guarantees sales each week to the magazine's following, it can also be very pressurising for editors and journalists who then have to work to a strict weekly deadline. One of the main setbacks of this industry can be shortage of material, so it can be very hard work for freelance journalists to guarantee a good income. However, those who have a particular interest in music (often in a specific genre etc) can find journalism to be an incredibly rewarding and enjoyable career path. Education is one sometimes overlooked as one of the most important areas of the industry, but the reality is that it is just that. It can also be seen as one of the most expansive areas.
The education sector can be separated into grade based and non-grade based. The grade based musical education area consists of everything that goes into preparation for, the undergoing of and the assessing of, musical examination. This includes private / class tutors (who may be peripatetic or residential based), exam boards (of which there are multiple and have the responsibility of writing and managing the results of exams), examiners (who have the job of conducting the examinations themselves) and composers (These may already have produced material which is then chosen to be used in exams or may be commissioned to write exam standard compositions) amongst others.
A musician's merit is often judged by his/her achieved "grade," which are awarded by the exam boards and examiners following a successful exam. Therefore, this side of the area of the industry is incredibly important as it provides amateur musicians with objectives and motives to practise and invariably improve their skills. The promise of a qualification is often a necessary piece of motivation for young musicians to develop their skills.
Non-grade based musical educators are often teachers who work at schools (primary or secondary), colleges or universities. The teaching here in this sector (unlike grade-based teaching) does not focus on practical or theory based teaching but also on the study of many musical topics such as the music industry, world music, concert organisation, session musicianship etc. Also, the teaching will normally be to a full class of up to 30 and above students (unlike peripatetic tutors who will normally be teaching one or two students at a time), many of whom will only be studying the subject out of coercion. In this respect, this area of education can be challenging to be a part of as skills other than knowledge and application are needed, such as class control.
This sector of musical education is also highly important as the UK curriculum denotes music to be a compulsory subject of teaching up until year 10. A lot of hard work is necessary to succeed in musical education, but without it many of today's and yesterday's world-renowned musicians would simply never have come to light. Manager, A&R, Producer, Engineer,
Promoter, Booking Agent, Tour Manager Performance Live Performance is seen by most as the stereotypical and most admired aspect of the music and sound industry because of the mass publicity and income that can be generated by an internationally successful performance artist. Studio albums may generate the largest proportion of a successful ensemble, but it is often the artists' flair, talent and charisma of their live performances that decide upon their reputation and credibility as the studio quality of an artists' sound has often been heavily manipulated into something that will sell and generate profit. For example, a drop in album sales and reputation could follow a bad performance by an artist.
However, the live performance area of the industry does not consist solely of high end performers. Artists will start out on their own, true, finding small, locally based gigs and concerts to play in to start with, but as the artists' reputation and following begins to grow, they may start to become more successful. At this point the artist can not pursue a career of live performance on their own, and the assistance and cooperation of many other people within this sector is required: Managers, publishers and record labels will cover the legal side of the business to allow the artist to focus on creativity and composition - for a fee, of course. Booking agents, tour managers and promoters will work on securing performance opportunities for the artist - for a fee, of course.
The live performance sector of the industry's success really depends on the quality of cooperation between every single member of the artists' entourage. There are many different roles and responsibilities to be undertaken in this area of the industry, and I will go into detail on each of these on the next slide. The Sound and Music Industry does not consist solely of high-flying record producers or singer-songwriters. In fact there is an incredibly deep and complicated infrastructure of this industry, with many of the different areas having to work closely with each other to ensure general success and prosperity. In this presentation I will be taking a broad look at 4 of these areas which in their own ways are even more complicated and in depth. Then I will be going into one of these areas further, and analyzing the roles and responsibilities of the members of this area of the Sound and Music Industry. Alfie Wright Manager The Manager is possibly the single most important member of an artist's entourage. They work incredibly closely with the artist and mainly focus on dealing with anything that would take away from an artists time to be creative and work in the studio. They firstly help acts to find producers and record labels who are most suited to an artists needs. This includes profitability but also takes into account the integrity of the artists such as their values and beliefs, and how they want their musical career to pan out.
The image and overall sound of an artist is incredibly important and the manager will have a key role in developing both of these as well as constructing plans and strategies of how the artist will develop and progress in the future which is sometimes seen as one of the more critical responsibilities of a manager, as it is this that can determine the success of the act in the future. A short term success may be ideal initially, but it is how the artist then works with the manager to ensure a future for the act that can govern the longevity of the artist.
Last but by no means least, the manager very critically has to work closely with A&R and the Booking Agents to ensure the artist remains current and in the public eye as well as making sure gigs and concerts are being booked regularly to give the act performance opportunities. The relationship between a manager and an act is incredibly intense, often described as a marriage. Artist And Repertoire (A&R) A&R is a hugely administrative role, and A&Rs will often find themselves performing menial tasks such as proofing credits before releases or surfing the internet to conduct research into the movements of the industry. A&Rs are the planners of the musicians' entourage, and have the role of arguing to increase the budget for singles or carefully mapping out a plan for the release timings etc of an artists' album or single. It is important that A&Rs scout for new talent to sign on, but for the majority of time an A&R will focus on exploiting the talent they have already signed by booking and arranging studio time, scheduled rehearsals, making sure everybody shows up, chasing up invoices etc. In summary, it is the A&R who turns a profit by making sure everyone and everything is where it should be at any given time, so the artist can spend as much time working on their creative works based upon the research the A&Rs present them. Without an A&R, an artist could quite easily become bogged down in the administrative workings of the industry Producer Often doubling up as an engineer or writer also, the producer's role is to work tirelessly with the artist or engineers to transfer an artist's ideas and compositions onto record. Producers must have exemplary knowledge of the workings of the industry and how to make a successful piece of music as artists rely on the producers to help select the right sounds to use in particular tracks on an album, or sometimes to even select which tracks to use altogether. Key industry knowledge is crucial, as selecting the right balances of sounds and tracks based on the market's movement is vital to a record's success. Producers will often invest in an act and work closely with the act towards success, where a percentage fee can be paid in return to the producer.
Producer's are often also in charge of the administrative sides to a particular record. Therefore, if samples are being used in a record it is down to the producer to secure the rights to use the samples. Ultimately, the producer works between the label and the artist to help protect the artist's creative concerns while still making sure the artist reaches it's full commercial potential. Without a producer, artists could find themselves turned into purely money making machines without their creative concerns being considered by the record label at all. Engineer Sometimes acting as a producer also, but always working closely with one is the engineer. These can be either artist based or studio based and have the role of recording the sound of the act and manipulating it or modifying it using studio knowledge and experience to produce the final studio-recorded track. Every musical element of a song needs to be individually recorded by the engineer who will then transfer them onto the track to polish them and refine them into the final song. Most artists do now have the studio know-how or technical awareness to perform these recordings themselves, so hiring the services of an engineer is not only viable but necessary to transfer the ideas of the artist onto a recording. Promoter Promoters will often be employed by venues to create and organise musical events such as gigs and concerts. Once a promoter has been commissioned by a venue to arrange a gig, it is down to the promoter to design all the elements that make up the gig. This includes the marketing (advertising), the programme of the night and selecting and approaching acts to play in the gig. Promoters play a large roll in organising events of all sizes, from locally based gigs to stadium filling concerts: without promotion, or the right acts playing, a profit may not be turned on the evening, meaning promoters are vital tools in creating and organising events for it is their responsibility to ensure custom is generated due to their marketing methods.
Many small, locally based amateur acts are almost totally reliant on local promotion companies like The Y Factor, based in Northamptonshire to create performance opportunities for them, whether they are paid or unpaid, so promoters can be particularly beneficial to the smaller scales of the industry. Booking Agent Booking agents work with acts to secure performance opportunities for the best fee possible. Most unsigned acts act as their own booking agents, while some acquire the assistance of one in trying to play at bigger shows and events. Booking agents can see this as an opportunity to take a relatively new and and develop them by helping them to achieve performances at these bigger shows. As well as booking gigs, booking agents can arrange and book tours and primarily negotiates the fees and billing for their acts through contract negotiation. This often takes place between the agent and the promoter, which further shows how many roles in the performance industry are closely interlinked.
Being a booking agent is not always a locally based, or even nationally based, job. Many agents endeavor to secure international bookings, whether they are one off gigs or repeat bookings or even as part of an artist's tour to another country. Artists rely on these people to secure for them the opportunities they desire in order to become a bigger, more well known act. Tour Manager The most obvious role of a tour manager - who deals with almost everything that could crop up during an artist's tour - is to make sure that the band or act arrives at the right venue at the right time, every time, while on tour. Despite this, the more common duties of a tour manager include dealing with any minor personal issues during a tour, such as monitoring the health of the band and dealing with the press as well as keeping an eye on the tour budget to control expenditure. Tour managers however can often become too relied upon during a tour, meaning if there are any mistakes made in any area, the band will often place the blame upon the tour manager. That is why it is important that the tour manager makes sure everything runs smoothly throughout the duration of the tour.
A tour manager isn't essential to a well organised band, but often it is necessary to have a responsible person almost acting as a tour manager to make sure the tour schedule is kept to and all arrangements are kept and adhered to. Summary As you can see, the sound and music industry is far more in depth and intricate than many would expect. Above all, the most important aspect of this industry is the way in which each area of it is incredibly closely linked and dependent upon each other. Going further than that, we can see how in each area, each role within the industry is even more closely linked to each other, as explored in the performance area in this presentation - for example, the way in which booking agents and promoters work together to reach the most mutually beneficial contract.
In all though, the one thing that is evident is the amount of hard work and dedication that is necessary to make it big in any area of this industry, as well as a bit of luck or knowing the right people. But, as one of the hardest industries to break into, it can also be one of the most rewarding. Bibliography / Webliogaphy www.bbc.co.uk/music
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