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Music Business

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EngFD 1 Career skills

The term 'music industry', or the 'music business', in general conjures up images of rock 'n' roll stars, agents and producers. While this is true, if you look further you will see that there are many more areas that go to make up the music industry. In addition to the well-known and desirable jobs of pop-star, producer, agent, songwriter, recording technician, and even 'roadie', the music industry also includes record and CD manufacturers, publishers, A&R people, pluggers and marketers, DJs, radio stations, record shops, royalty collection agencies, and many others.

The tug-of-war involving plummeting recording budgets and less expensive equipment is now a major concern to the record labels. In the mid-90's, the price of creating recorded music dropped because of new, cheaper recording equipment. A few years later, the average manufacturing price of a release also drooped due to cheaper CD manufacturing and internet downloads. Here is when the selling price should have dropped as a natural result. But, the gluttonous record company's didn't lower their retail prices and conspired to fix prices at their peak levels. How long did the record companies think that they could get away with this obvious 'exploitation' of music fans??

The old 'budget model" was to spend the majority of an album's cash on marketing. For major releases, that often meant that 90% of profits from sales went to advertising, making ludicrously expensive videos and paying for airplay. Lavish lifestyles of executives and their top pop stars were incorporated as a "general overhead" of running a label. Most people are surprised to learn that only a tiny percentage of the generated revenue went towards creating the music and recording the actual tracks in the studio, and this was paid for out of the ARTISTS' share. If there was anything left after all these expenses, AND the record company had already taken a profit, the artist would get what's left. Mmmm.

In the future, I see music inevitably returning to its role in society as a natural expression that comes from the soul, instead of a commodity or a means to a career. I would love to see absolutely anyone who feels the urge be able to pick up an instrument and make a noise, with no spur of becoming a big star. Picture the artist who thought, "Who cares if nobody else ever hears this? I'm feeling it and that's what matters." If we remove the remaining economic barriers this would be possible. There are however, many roles that will remain valid. For example, everyone (nearly) will want to play live, and everyone wants a quality recording. And in most cases the artist will require a manager....

The Manager

Managers take on many jobs and faces. They can range from a full scale controller of an artists life and a comprehensive all-service person or company acting in conjunction with the artist, to a financial adviser, to a minor player attending to various aspects of an artist's career. Managers are exceptionally important for most artists, asw they advise them on all aspects of the business, including recording contracts, booking agents, the venues they play at and when, public relations, and generally the entire game plan of an artists career.

The manager should be confident on all aspects of the business side of the entertainment business and be capable of bringing in the top team possible to make the artists career both a creative and financial success. This team will include people with not only the skill to handle all of the particular duties necessary, but also have a excellent working relationship with agents, accountants, lawyers, record companies, publishes, producers, and PR agents, among others - all of whom will work in combination with the manager to further the success of an artist.

While many managers don't have written contracts with their clients but only "handshake agreements", it is always sensible to have a written contract spelling out the aspects of the artist manager relationship. Most management contracts state the income areas on which a commission will be charged. Although this is open to discussion , many contracts stipulate a percentage of all income generated by the artist. One of the essential items that must be resolved is whether the contract specifies a commission on the artist's gross income or net income. Gross income includes the total of all income coming in, and net income is the total amount of money after certain deductions have been made.

The length of most managerial contracts is for a specific number of years, with others based on the artist's progressing involvement with a particular deal (a recording agreement, for example) that was signed during the term of the management contract. An agreement with a new band may be for one year, if the artist is doing well or is a major star, the annual opportunity to renew or end the management agreement might be the choice of the artist. Other contracts give both parties a joint option to terminate.

The commission that a manager usually charges runs between around 10% and 20%, with 15% to 20% being the norm. Variations on these percentages usually relate to gross or net definitions and any areas that are exclusively excluded from commissions. For example, if a manager charges 20% on all income exclusive of monies received for recording costs, tour support, and the writer's performing right income, whereas a different manager might charge 15% of all gross income received plus any expenses that the manager incurs that are directly connected to the business of the artist's career.

Global Talent Publishing was established in 2000. Miller Williams is General Manager (Formerly of Sony Publishing UK), Miller was responsible for guiding the careers of major UK song writers including Eliot Kennedy (Spice Girls / Celine Dion / Boyzone / 5ive / Take That) and Rose & Foster (East 17 / S Club 7 / Gabrielle.)

At Global, Miller has placed songs with major Artists including Lemar, Jamelia, Gareth Gates, Liberty X, Lucie Silvas and the X Factor Theme Music. In fact, in its short history, Global Talent Publishing have placed songs with over 45 Artists and collectively sold more than 4 Million albums worldwide

Outside the UK, Global Talent Publishing is administered by local partners in each territory around the world and it's these local partnerships that enable globel to ensure their writers work is exploited



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