The digital revolution correlates with the decline in psychical record sales. As downloading and streaming became the norm in today’s society fewer people go out and by CD’s at local retailers than before. It is interesting to note that in spite of this, vinyl sales have increased. The Live Industry is at an all-time high, a research company Mintel reveals that concerts and festivals are experiencing a strong rising growth. This conveys how challenges; like psychical records declining, can lead to new opportunities for other sectors in the music industry to inevitably grow. More than ever people are going to see live music and attendance at concerts and There are clear distinctions between major labels and independent labels; Major labels, due to such high profit, can afford to fund for countless projects in ways most independent labels cannot. ‘The Majors’ have extremely high reputations in the Music Industry, this supremacy leads them to top connections and large-scale media outlets. On a different aspect, major labels invest a great amount into their signed artists and in order to regain and make back the profit, record deals are often made to benefit the label rather than the artist. In contrast, whilst there are many benefits for artists that work with Indie labels there are also setbacks when it comes to lack of funding, this leads to a limited budget on studio recordings, tour support, manufacturing and distributing, marketing etc. However, Independent labels are more likely to work with an artist on the basis of genuinely liking their sound, so will be less likely to insist on changes to an artists look or sound, giving artists more creative control in comparison to a major label. (McDonald, 2017)3
The most powerful and influential labels are referred to as major labels, they are; Sony, Warner Brothers and Universal. Independent labels are self-funded companies set up on a smaller scale in comparison to the majors, but nevertheless can range from home based to very large businesses. The main function of a Record Label is to sign artists, create records and provide a structural gateway to support recordings, manufacturing, distribution and also promote signed artists. In order to provide this for artists on a label there are many individuals and companies working together behind the scenes to ensure everything is able to legally run smoothly. Before a record can be released, behind the scenes labels work with many different individuals and companies which all tie in together to allow an efficient operation between organizations. Composers/Songwriters must sign over their copyrights to Publishers who then licence the use of these copyrights back to the record company. Record companies then pay the MCPS mechanical publishing royalties, MCPS then must distribute a cut of the royalties to the publisher and the rest for the composer. (Dustry, 1999)2 Composers will also work together with PRS/ASCAP; their main function is to licence music and collect and distribute performance and broadcast fees. In doing so PRS/ASCAP deals with broadcasting sector; Radio.
Managers work closely with artists, fundamentally managers should support their artists in all aspects in order to help them excel and build a successful career within the Music Industry. It’s down to the manager to effectively communicate with agents/promoters, record labels, publicity agents and all organizations or individuals that can assist in presenting the artist with new opportunities that benefit their career. (Elkabas, 2013)1 It is also a managers responsibility meet the expectations of the label their artist is signed to, unless they’re independent.
The diagram above illustrates principal sectors within the Music Industry and their individual functions as well as how they interrelate.