The Recording Connection audio school alternative is now enrolling students for our Music Business Program
+ Do you dream of having an exciting career as a band manager, record executive, music mogul or other music industry professional?
+ Do you get excited about new bands and artists and wish you had the resources to help them reach a larger audience?
+ Are you obsessed with the idea of producing new artists in the recording studio, helping them craft high-quality records to reach the masses?
+ Are you already managing a few local acts, but you want to “turn pro” with it?
+ Do you already think of yourself as a professional band manager or music mogul, but you need more music industry connections to take it to the next level?
+ Does the passion burn inside you to be part of the music industry? Do you dream of discovering new talent and watching the world sing their songs?
+ Are you serious enough about your dreams that you are willing to put in the hard work it’s going to take in order to succeed?
Music Business Course Outline
Lesson 1 – What is the Music Business?
The professional side of the music business gets talked about a lot but few understand the many facets that actually make up the multi-tiered machine. From getting the right people in the room, to marketing, promoting, and protecting artists, to making deals, we’ll delve into one of the world’s most dynamic and fast-paced industries to uncover how the various positions and departments work together to bring music to the world and make it a profitable enterprise for artists, writers, labels and the many professionals on their team.
Lesson 2 – A&R
Artists and repertoire or “A&R” as it is commonly called, is the department that’s responsible for scouting, signing, and developing artists for the record label as well as liaising with the label’s departments on behalf of the artists themselves. Nowadays, the job of scouting for talent can consist of tracking particular artists, genres, and sub-genres prior to courting, pitching, and ultimately signing artists to the label. A&R’s will typically spend a lot of time with the artists they represent during the courting process in order to develop clear communication and trust between the artist and label.
Lesson 3 – Record Labels – Marketing
It is the marketing department’s job to oversee the creation and development of effective marketing plans to promote new releases by the artists signed to the record label. Marketing plans commonly contain the “four P’s” of the marketing mix as well as a development plan and metrics on the product life cycle. This department works closely with Promotion, Publicity, and Sales.
Lesson 4 – Record Labels – Publicity
So how does a record label get the word out about new artists? How do they grab people’s interests? In today’s world, the publicity department is always finding new ways to connect artists to the right listeners, i.e. future fans and consumers of their music. Professionals in publicity at a record label will generally work in-tandem with the artist’s own publicist to secure media coverage, manage image, and consistently build and maintain vital industry connections.
Lesson 5 – Record Labels – Promotion
The promotion department focuses its energy on securing radio play for the record label’s newest releases. It may sound strange but someone in promotions had to sit down at a radio station and explain why songs by artists like Eminem, Ludacris, and Outkast needed to be played on the air. Times are changing with more artists being discovered online, nevertheless, securing radio play is still the most effective way of bringing new artists and new music to hungry listeners. Got charisma? Here’s just one area where you can use it bigtime.
Lesson 6 – Record Labels – Sales
It’s the job of the sales department to oversee all of the retail aspects of the label. This includes working closely with the promotions team to price product as well as liaising with distribution, marketing, and publicity to ensure successful product rollout. Distribution now includes physical as well as digital distribution channels such as iTunes/Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Google Play, etc.
Lesson 7 – Record Labels – Legal / Business Affairs
At a record label the business affairs department handles finances, budget, payroll, and bookkeeping. Meanwhile, it’s the legal department’s responsibility to handle contracts between the record label and the artists they have signed and to handle lawsuits between the label and other parties. Contracts between the label and artist including major deal points, terminology, common clauses, and considerations will be explored.
Lesson 8 – Music Publishers
What do music publishers do? The long and short of it is that music publishers are either copyright owners or copyright administrators who license copyrights to the entities or companies that require music. Music publishing companies ensure that the entities that play the music pay for the music. In other words, they collect and distribute the money earned every time an artist’s song is played. We’ll also delve into the various departments within publishing including the Sync Department, Publishing A&R, Administration, Legal & Business Affairs, and Marketing.
Lesson 9 – Artist Managers
What does an artist manager do? Answer: a lot! An artist’s manager is responsible for virtually everything, from making the schedule, to setting up collaborative sessions with other artists and producers, to negotiating various deals, maintaining social media and websites, communicating with various team members, and more. This is one non-stop position that’s not for the faint of heart.
Lesson 10 – Songwriter and Producer Managers
Like artist managers, songwriter and producer managers handle all of the business and administrative work so that the creative work can continue without disruption. A manager’s job includes creating and securing opportunities for various film and production deals, managing scheduling, negotiating deal terms and production fees, billing, planning long-term goals, and more. Commissions, management contracts, and common clauses will be covered.
Lesson 11 – Music Business Midterm
PREPARE FOR YOUR MIDTERM WITH HELP FROM YOUR MENTOR.
You’re nearly there! Take the time to go over the many things you’ve learned thus far. Have questions? Revisit the past lessons in the curriculum, and then if you still have questions, ask your mentor. You’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot about the music business in a relatively short period of time. Rather than get nervous, get excited. We want this to be as stress-free as possible.
Lesson 12 – The Creative Process
Although this course is not about music production, understanding the creative process behind making music will enable you to develop meaningful connections with the artists and the many producers, engineers, musicians and songwriters you’ll meet and work with. By understanding the various phases involved from concept to creation and ultimately, release, you can be aware of the needs each stage presents to artists and the various music professionals involved on a project. Armed with this knowledge, you can proceed in a prepared and responsive manner. From songwriting, to demo, to recording, post, and rollout, we break down the creative process behind today’s songs.
Lesson 13 – Artist Contracts
Well-executed artist contracts are an essential component of an artist’s career in music. Considering how busy professional recording artists can be with songwriting, collaborating, recording and touring, it’s easy to see how dictating the finer points of a contract may get lost in the shuffle. Artists should be empowered to make informed choices that protect their own interests. Thanks to the many resources available to us today, it’s never been easier to get savvy and stay savvy about artist contracts including common points of negotiation, recoupable costs, common clauses, point distribution, and royalty escalations.
Lesson 14 – Agreements
Alas, the exciting, relationship fueled world of music cannot run on handshakes alone. Agreements between artist, producer, and record label make it possible for all parties to get paid in accord with what they have deemed as fair as laid out in the terms of their contracts. In this chapter, we will discuss common agreements including: work for hire, side artist agreements, producer’s deals, and producer fees and advances.
Lesson 15 – Social Media
In our superfast world, connecting artists with the very same people who are likely to become fans of their work via social media has never been more important. Today’s listeners tend to expect more than generations past when it comes to accessing artist’s songs and relating with them in a way that feels authentic. Furthermore, labels, both big and small, tend to look for artists who are already making a splash via social media. In this chapter, we’ll explore choosing the right platform, content, and practices for amplifying and artist’s voice and reach.
Lesson 16 – Copyright
Protect thyself! In this chapter we’re digging into what’s protected by copyright and what isn’t. Common questions about copyrights will be answered and we’ll discuss: eligibility, terminology, compulsory licenses, Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution, trademark vs. copyright, registration, terms of infringement, options for recourse and more.
Lesson 17 – Independently Monetizing Music with Symphonic Distribution
The music industry is changing fast. The work that used to require a whole department full of staff can now be done by a few industrious folks with fast internet connections. As a result, more and more artists are choosing to go the DIY route when it comes to marketing their music and taking charge of their own careers. For those in the know, generating revenue from one’s music has never been more achievable. In this chapter we’ll delve into the many tools and services available today. We’ll also meet Janette Berrios, Director of Marketing at Symphonic Distribution, and get her insight on how to independently distribute and monetize music.
Lesson 18 – Merchandising
All physical products aside from the actual CDs or records themselves fall under merchandise or “merch.” For decades, providing fans with t-shirts, accessories, and luxury products has been a very lucrative income stream for record labels and artists. From KISS’s extensive catalog of memorabilia, to Chance the Rapper’s 3 Hat, for many merch is where it’s at! In this chapter we’re getting into the principles of merchandising so that you’ll know what it takes to be a revenue generating superstar.
Lesson 19 – Performing Rights Organizations and Publishing
Also known as PROs, Performing Rights Organizations and music publishing companies are largely responsible for tracking performed or played performances and protecting the musical copyrights of artists by policing the forums under their charge to ensure monies are collected and distributed to artists and songwriters. Various organizations oversee various forums. We’ll discuss the main PROs in the U.S. including ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and SoundExchange as well as copyright registration for musical compositions.
Lesson 20 – Music Business Final Exam
PREPARE FOR YOUR FINAL WITH HELP FROM YOUR MENTOR.
Can you believe it?! You’ve made it through our in-depth music business program. Now is the time to really think about and review what you’ve learned. Have questions? Revisit the past lessons in the curriculum. If you still have questions, ask your mentor.
Armed with the knowledge you’ve gained, you’ll be prepared to keep on moving forward, learning, building and gaining insight all the while. Being proactive is a crucial ingredient for any career in music so take charge and set yourself up for success.