The Business Of Music
The business of music changed when the Internet enabled musicians to reach their fans directly. Before the net musicians sold away all of their rights for the hopes of stardom. They would create an album funded by the label, the label would then set a price for this album and sell it to retail outlets. The labels banked on enough people purchasing this album to justify the millions poured into the musician advance, manufacturing costs, shipping and marketing.
The music business now consists of :
- the musicians who compose and perform the music;
- the companies and professionals who create and sell recorded music (e.g., music publishers, producers, recording studios, engineers, record labels, retail and online music stores, performance rights organizations);
- those that present live music performances (booking agents, promoters, music venues, road crew);
- professionals who assist musicians with their music careers (talent managers, business managers, entertainment lawyers);
- those who broadcast music (satellite, internet and broadcast radio);
- musical instrument manufacturers.
New ways of doing business are being developed in the 21st century. The traditional lines that once divided artist, publisher, record company, distributor, retail and consumer electronics have become blurred. Artists may own their own publishing companies, artist management companies may promote and market recordings on behalf of their clients, artists may promote and market themselves using only free services such as YouTube or social media, consumer electronics companies have become digital music retailers, and so on.
New digital music distribution technologies have also forced both government and the music industry to re-examine the definitions of intellectual property and the rights of all the parties involved. Also compounding the issue of defining copyright boundaries is the fact that the definition of "royalty" and "copyright" varies from country to country and region to region, which changes the terms of some of these business relationships.
The music industry likes to be comfortable. Life was so easy for about 50 years as the way business was conducted hardly ever changed. The label found an act, made a record, sold it to retail and promoted it through radio. Publishers and songwriters went to the mailbox and collected their checks.
Those days over.
Just about the time the industry was getting used to digital downloads as the center of its financial universe, the business model is changing once again as streaming becomes the consumption method of choice for music lovers everywhere. The genie’s out of the bottle, the cows are out the barn, and the music files are off the hard drive.
Nielsen SoundScan’s numbers now show that streaming is up 32 percent, while digital download sales are down about 6 percent.
The revenue from the 6 percent shortfall of about 80 million digital downloads was easily made up by the more than 118 billion streams of last year, which by my calculations should have generated somewhere around $500 million in revenue. That more than offsets the $80 million of lost revenue from the downloads and should mean that the industry is actually ahead of last year totals, if that revenue fell to the bottom line.
What sort of jobs can you find in the music industry?
A music teacher may work in a public or private school, have a job with a social agency that offers enrichment, or give private lessons. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 3 in 10 music teachers are self-employed, and many music teachers only teach part time. There were about 253,000 music teacher jobs in 2004, but that number is expected to grow faster than jobs in other industries as baby boomers continue to embrace lifelong learning.
A music minister is far more than the Church organist. Under the direction of a senior clergyman, a music minister may organize the choir, participate in planning of musical events for a church, encourage attendance in church and help parishioners develop and present their own musical worship and praise. The American Guild of Organists offers salary guidelines for Music Ministers that range from $31,000 for a minister with a Service Playing Certificate to $67,000 for a music minister with a Doctorate in Sacred Organ Music.
A&R Scouts, Coordinators and Administrators
If you have a good ear for music and a good grasp of what people like to hear, you could find a career in the A&R (Artists & Repertoire) area. Among the most fun jobs in the music industry, A&R scouts and other professionals actively seek out talent for record labels and production companies. A&R scouts visit clubs and concerts, listen to demo tapes and watch videos to find new talent, and are often responsible for finding songs for existing talent to perform.
Do you believe in the healing power of music? Music therapists work either independently or in nursing homes, schools and other institutions to use music as an aid to healing, bring enjoyment to patients at varying stages of recovery, relieve pain and provide emotional comfort to patients with various physical and emotional illnesses. For a musician who wants to feel good about his or her work, it could be among the most rewarding of jobs in the music industry.
From freelance to staff songwriting positions, there are many jobs in the music industry for songwriters. You may work alone to write and produce your own songs, work as a staff writer for a record or publishing company, write jingles and ads for the radio or television advertisements, perform your own work in front of an audience or never sing a note. You may write just the words, please, concentrate on the composition of instrumental pieces or write both.
Musicians play one or more instruments. To make themselves more marketable, many musicians become proficient in multiple musical instruments or styles.
Musicians play in bands, orchestras, or small groups. Those in bands may play at weddings, private parties, clubs, or bars while they try to build enough fans to get a recording contract or representation by an agent. Some musicians work as a part of a large group of musicians who must work and practice together, such as an orchestra. A few musicians become section leaders, who may be responsible for assigning parts to other musicians or leading rehearsals.
Others musicians are “session” musicians, who specialize in playing backup for a singer or band leader during recording sessions and live performances.
Singers perform vocal music in a variety of styles. Some specialize in a particular vocal style, such as opera or jazz; others perform in a variety of musical genres. Singers, particularly those who specialize in opera or classical music, may perform in different languages, such as French or Italian. Opera singers act out a story by singing instead of speaking the dialogue.
Some singers become background singers, providing vocals to harmonize or support a lead singer.
Musicians interested in performing popular music typically find jobs by attending auditions or arranging their own performances. They may seek representation by an agent who will help them find jobs and performance opportunities.
Employment of musicians and singers is projected to grow 5 percent in the next five years, slower than the average for all occupations. Growth will be due to increases in demand for musical performances.
Digital downloads and streaming platforms make it easier for fans to listen to recordings and view performances. Easier access to recordings gives musicians more publicity and grows interest in their work, and concertgoers may become interested in seeing them perform live.
There will be additional demand for musicians to serve as session musicians and backup artists for recordings and to go on tour. Singers will be needed to sing backup and to make recordings for commercials, films, and television.
However, employment growth will likely be limited in orchestras, opera companies, and other musical groups because they can have difficulty getting funding. Some musicians and singers work for nonprofit organizations that rely on donations, government funding, and corporate sponsorships in addition to ticket sales to fund their work. During economic downturns, these organizations may have trouble finding enough funding to cover their expenses.
The secret to finding and getting music production jobs is to use some of that creativity in your job search.
There are three things to keep in mind when doing a creative job search for music production jobs:
- As many as 90% of the jobs in any media occupation never get advertised through regular channels. The music production companies get enough over the transom resumes that they can pick and choose without advertising.
- In many music production jobs, networking will be a key part of your job description. If you can't network to get a job, you'll have a hard time convincing a hiring manager that you can do the job.
- Sometimes the best way to get your foot in the door is to intern for a music production company. According to a recent survey conducted by CareerExposure, 94% of employers have offered a full time job to interns when their internship was finished.
Keeping those three things in mind, you can put together a creative music productions job search that will land you the position that you want using the following blueprint.
- Do your homework. You should know the music production jobs that you're going after inside out. Read up on the web, visit the library and bookstores and find out all that you can.
- Start applying your networking skills. Make a list of people you know who may be able to help you. Don't forget to include people like your ex-teachers, business acquaintances and people you know through other people. Did you do sound levels for a band? Have you interned for a publisher? Have you got a chance to attend a media symposium? Those are all important contacts for you when you're trying to network your way into music production jobs.
Boldness is an important skill to cultivate here. Ask for letters of introduction, or for permission to use someone's name when you contact another. It's amazing how quickly you'll get results with a simple statement like, "Hi, Mr. Producer, my name is Interested Party. My professor, Ms. In-The-Know suggested that I call you when I told her that I'm interested in an internship with your company. Do you have a few moments to talk with me about that now, or is there a better time to call you?"
There are several different methods of approach you can use to contact people who hold the keys to music production jobs.
- Mail is the most traditional method. Once you've researched enough to know what companies you want to work for, and who makes hiring decisions there, you can mail a resume along with an excellent cover letter. Chances are though, that you'll have to follow up on your initial mail. Remember point #1 above - music production companies get loads of over the transom resumes.
- Email is a second option, and is a reasonable way to follow up as well. If you've sent your resume by mail, wait a few days and then follow up with an email to the hiring manager stating that you're following up on your mailed resume and are very interested in discussing possible career options within his or her company. If you haven't, send a cover letter and resume via email, and follow up in a few days with a second email.
- Telephone calls may be scary, but they are one of the quickest ways to get through to the person you want to speak with. Keep in mind that your phone call is an interruption to the hiring manager's day - be pleasant, be brief and be direct.
The secret to finding and getting music production jobs is being bold enough to get yourself out there and sell your skills and abilities. With only 10% of the available jobs ever being offered openly in the classifieds, it's the only way that you'll ever know what music production jobs are available.
Great Music Businesses were planned that way!
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