Below are several questions that people of all ages often ask regarding the music business. Some of them might sound very simple, but when it comes to this industry, no answer is really cut-and-dry.
What businesses can you start in the music industry?
If you’re looking to work in the music industry, there are essentially three routes you can go. You can become a creative (a Songwriter, Producer or artist), go to work for a music company, or form your own. Of course, the latter option is not the easiest, but for those with an entrepreneurial mindset, it might be just what they’re looking for.
Here are some ideas for companies you can launch in the music industry:
Public Relations. Public relations firms, usually known as PR firms, are tasked with getting Bloggers and Journalists to write about or feature their clients in the magazines, newspapers, blogs and radio and TV shows they work for.
Artist Management. Many Managers who work with just one or two artists stick to themselves, while others create their own companies with several employees. These are the people who help shape the careers of the artists they work for, getting them deals, finding exciting opportunities, and generally keeping the stars on track.
Record Label. Record labels invest in musicians, giving them money to live on while they work on new songs and albums, and then the company releases that material in order to recoup the money that’s already been paid out, and hopefully to make a profit.
Booking Agency. Those who work at booking companies are in charge of doing everything from operating the daily talent at venues to securing gigs for all the Singers and bands they work with, depending on the role.
Promotion Company. Promotions professionals are like those at PR firms, though they don’t usually speak to the media in the same way. What exactly promotional companies do varies from firm to firm, but typically they are paid to get the newest releases from their clients played on the radio, included on streaming playlists, and perhaps even to deal with all the advertising online for a campaign.
How do you get into the music business?
Unlike some industries, there is no one path to get into the music industry. Some find that difficult, while for others, it’s a comfort because it means that anyone with enough drive and intelligence can eventually make a living doing what they love. While everyone’s journey will be different, here are a few tips that should be helpful to anyone considering working in the world of music.
1. Research. Before you decide you want to work in music, do some research to find out what that really means. Many people think they’d like to be involved in the exciting field, but they don’t actually know what they want to do. Spend time reading about the different jobs available in the music business, what people in the field do every day, as well as how they got started. Are these high-paying careers? Are they creative? Do any of them sound interesting to you? If so, you’re off to a solid start.
2. College. College can be a fantastic entry into the music industry, for those just finishing high school or even people who already have jobs, but who are looking to switch things up a bit later down the line. Again, do some research into which colleges and universities are the best for those who want to get into the business. There are plenty of awesome degree programs (more on that in a bit) for anyone, from aspiring Cello Players to future media moguls.
3. Follow The Industry. If you want to work in the music industry, you should follow it online. Start reading publications like Billboard, Digital Music News, and Music Business Worldwide, all of which report on the big names and top companies in the space. After a while, you’ll get a feel for who the major players are, how everything works as well as what’s going on.
4. Internships. If you know you’re interested in the music industry, you don’t have to wait until after college to start accruing valuable experience. In fact, you don’t even have to begin after earning your degree. Look into music industry internships in your area that will allow you to kick off your career. These will be entry-level positions, but they’re incredibly important, and you’ll get to see what these jobs actually entail.
5. Create Something New. At some point, it will be time for you to go out and get a job. You can wait until that point to begin looking for roles at music companies, or you can become an entrepreneur and launch your own firm of some kind! After doing your research, making some connections, and perhaps picking up an internship or two, you should have a good idea of what you’d like to do. Now go out and make it a reality on your own terms!
How does the music business work?
The music business is a massive web of hundreds of interconnected companies with countless employees, all working incredibly hard to push new artists, songs, and albums to the masses and the top of the charts. Explaining it in depth could take thousands of words, but here’s the short version, for those looking for a quick answer.
In the music industry, it all begins with the music (obviously). Artists go into recording studios and make art. Sometimes they create it entirely on their own, while in many other instances, they work with outside Producers and Songwriters to craft tunes that might become big hits. Once the vocals and instrumentals are recorded, Mixers and Engineers get to work perfecting the sound.
This is all paid for by record labels (for those artists who have been lucky enough to sign a recording contract), which then own the rights to those recordings. The company then takes the finished work and promotes it with Publicists and radio, hoping the public will become interested in what’s coming or just released. From there, the masses can buy or stream the tunes, helping the record label begin to make money off of it.
Usually, once the firm has recouped what it invested and then made some profit, the artists begin earning royalties as well. After a new album is out, the band or musician will likely tour to promote it and make some more money, hopefully also selling branded merchandise to super fans as well.
This is, of course, an incredibly simplistic view of the music industry, and it leaves a lot out. Hopefully, it paints an easy-to-understand picture of how things happen and in what general order for those who didn’t know any of this before reading!