Music Publishing Mya Lambert
The role of a music publisher is to invest time, money, passion and creativity to get companies
to invest in their artist as well as collecting money that their artist earns when their composition
is performed or played in public, for example the PRS (Performing rights society) and the Music
Publishing Association. For large groups of musicians such as an orchestra, the music publisher
also has the job of taking the composers score and creating and designating different sections
of it to different instruments, for groups such as the London Symphony Orchestra and the
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. Sarah Osborn stated that “they all offer schemes to
support and offer opportunities for young emerging composers”, and so there are different
music publishing companies for different artists in different stages of their developing career.
Some artists decide to be independent and not have a music publisher, which is possible if their
music isn’t played on a worldwide scale, however as your popularity increases it becomes
harder to stay independent. For bigger artists its vital to have a music publisher (which are
usually part of either Sony BMG, Universal music group or Warner music group), Jody Gerson,
CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group stated that “you need your money collected in every
territory throughout the world, not easy to do on your own”, suggesting that it’s hard to keep up
with everything without a music publisher, highlighting the importance of them in the music
A music synchronization licence is a form of copyright granted by the owner of a song, and
allows the licensee to play a particular composition in a visual piece, such as a movie, video
game or commercial. For small independent artists a synchronization licence is very important
for it can offer the opportunity to find new fans, for when their piece is played in a popular video
it introduces them to people who didn’t know them before. It may then get shared across other
social platforms or purchased, which helps them build a following and get exposure to larger
audiences, this is a way for music publisher to find small artists with potential.
A music publisher may talk to record companies to try to get the newest version of their artists
composition recorded, and then get in contact with music supervisors to try to get the
composition into films, advertisements and TV shows. As well as licensing newer uses like
ringtones, video games and digital downloads, all to try and promote the artists music and help
improve the artists status among their audience and other artists. This way of promoting has
improved from how it was years ago, for printed music was once the biggest way of transporting
and sharing music among companies, and music was mostly played live, however due to
technological advances, we now have faster, more effective ways of sharing music. For
example, people can now stream music online without having to pay for it, which is good and
bad depending on the popularity of the artist. For a small artist, this is beneficial because their
music is shared quickly between people and it helps them to build up a following and get
strangers listening to their music. This was the case for Ed Sheeran, who is now a very popular
artist, when he was starting off he said that people would share files to each other on their
phones, and although he got no money from it, it helped him to get people listening to his music.
However, for bigger artists, they don’t need to build a following because they already have one,
so they do not profit from it unless they are selling something else with the music, for example
Dr. Dre uses his music to sell beats, from which he then profits from it.
Music piracy is a problem that increased hugely by our technological advances that allow
people to download music, from websites, onto their phones and listen to it for free, this means
that the artists does not get paid for it. “It’s the biggest reason revenue has declined from over
$14 billion back in 1999 to less than half that now”. Sometimes hackers target pre-released
songs to release them whilst they’re still being created, songs from Madonna’s album rebel
heart were stolen before “she was ready for anyone to hear them”. Billboard Magazines Joel
Levi says “pre-released piracy often happens while the music is still being produced”.
Companies like Riaa work towards preventing this theft. Google is partially responsible for these
illegal transfers, for it is a popular platform that allows people to access these websites.
Unfortunately, Google has turned a blind eye to the problem, and so industries like the British
Phonographic Industry are working to show people a legal way to listen to music, as well as
creating software to generate URLs which are send to Google as a DMCA notice for removal of
illegal websites within hours.
Artist managers are in charge of running all aspects of the business side of the artist or bands
career, allowing the artist to focus solely on creating the music. The job of the manager depends
on whether its a big or small label, the manager responsible for an unsigned band or musician,
or if they are signed then to a small label (such as 4AD, Matador Records or XL) often has
multiple roles, usually a promoter, agent, accountant or any kind of profession the artist requires
to perform and have a viable career. Whereas a manager for an artist signed to a large label
(such as Warner Music Group, EMI or Sony Music) functions in more of a managerial capacity
and supervisors the other people employed by the musician(s). These managers have oversight
and ensure that essentials such as advertising a PR campaigns are running smoothly, tours are
being booked and that artists get paid.
A couple artist managers are:
Marc Oswald is in the top ten of all live concerts produced in world history with events of over
340,000 fans, concert and tour promotion, television, video and film production, entertainment
marketing and artist management. He stated that “Out of every 100 artists, 10 become
successful and 1 becomes a superstar”
Jeff Dorenfeld worked with Ozzy Osbourne on tours etc. (alongside Sharon Osbourne) and was
the personal of the multi platinum band Boston, under his management, the band had a no.1
billboard charting album and a $25 million grossing tour. He quoted that “An artist should have
an idea as to where they want to go, and the manager controls and helps them get
there…guiding their career”.
When an artist has an upcoming event, it’s the artist managers job to Help promote the show,
this is done first by accessing the artists websites and social media accounts and sending out
information about the show, for the artists fans are usually the first to buy their tickets. They also
send out coordinated emails to people to inform them of the upcoming event, it can be sent
anywhere between one month to one day before the show, but they are rarely sent too close to
the event, as it makes it harder for people to attend when they have less time to plan things
such as transport. They can also do ticket giveaway to the general public on social media sites,
this is a way to gain likes and shares on their page to promote the show. Artists can also send
out a press release of the show, as well as collaborating with radio stations to promote it to a
larger group of people.
An artist manager also deals with merchandising, which helps artists prepare for working with
marketing. Selling merch not only makes a lot of money for the artist, but it also promotes them,
helping to increase their following, as well as making money for the clothing brand that they pair
up with. When people attend the artists shows, they can purchase signed merchandise, which
the artist can sell for a lot more than its original price.
The number of live performances has increased over the past decade, as artists are needing to
sell seats in order to make money, due to people downloading their songs online for free instead
of buying their albums. The Berklee college of music found that individual concert promoters
can earn up to £1 million per year depending on the size of the venues they book. Michael Cohl
helped to promote huge artists including Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones and Barbra
Streisand, however he now runs a business called S2BN entertainment.
The increase in live performances has also created a growth in live concert companies. Winky
CEO and partner of Tait Towers stated that “25 years ago, musicians were making money
selling records, now they’re making money selling seats, and that’s why we’re making stage
sets”. John Ebdon who worked for Maroon 5, works for the front of house for large venues, he
said that there are only 56 inputs from the stage and they use a pro tools software. He also
stated that “sound checks are non-existent…because they are so consistent”. Brian Gaynor also
works for the front of house, but for smaller venues, and is the house manager, he is
responsible for the day to day operations of the theatre, as well as making care of the audience
and making sure they are happy.
Artists, such as Taylor Swift, will ask other popular artists to play at their concerts for free in
order to increase the seats that they sell, as fans of this artists will want to attend also. This then
benefits the guest artist as a new audience gets to listen to their music, and if they like it they
may buy their album too and attend their shows. Also the artists will then return the favour and
play at the guest artists concerts too.
A lot of money is made from the retail of merchandise and tickets, with people paying more for
signed merch and backstage tickets.
Health and Safety.
It is up to the event organiser to make sure that the venue is safe for workers and the audience,
they need to consider the venues capacity for the audience, staff and contractors, making sure
there are enough reasonable emergency exits. It is crucial to have a fire safety risk assessment,
they then need to take adequate and appropriate fire safety measures to minimise the risk of
injury or loss of life in the event of a fire.
Crowd management is also a factor that the event organiser is responsible for, for there are the
risks of crushing between people, crushing against fixed structures, aggressive behaviour etc.
This can be done by installing barriers, which aid to manage and influence the behaviour of the
audience and prevent people from climbing up onto the structures and putting themselves at the
risk of falling.
With a large scale event there is the risk of terrorism which affects the retail of tickets. Following
the terrorist attack at Ariana Grande’s concert, Jason Lipshutz from Billboard Magazine said
“people are buying outdoor concert tickets and I think some people at least are going to be
compelled not to buy them”. This change is less beneficial to artists and the success of selling
tickets has decreased over the past decade.
The introduction to iTunes has both advantages and disadvantages for artists. It was beneficial
because it meant that their music could be distributed and accessed easier for fans, and people
could discover them without having to go out to album stores. However, by people listening to
their music online, it also decreased the number of people attending their concerts, which is why
they had to make their concerts bigger and better to get people to buy their tickets and attend.
Big record labels ?use good studios such as Universal/Polygram, Warner/ EMI and Sony SME/
Columbia. The benefit of signing to a big label is the large budget which means everything is
done better, including high quality recordings, better production, major distribution, better music
videos, pro advertising tours and merchandise. However there are some cons to signing to a
large record label, starting with the fact that they own you as an artist for the duration of your
contract. This means that they will have complete creative control over your music and image.
Furthermore they will continue to own your music forever or until someone else buys the ‘rights’
to your songs. In addition you are also expected to continue working hard and performing live
throughout your whole music career to pay back the money that the label has invested in you,
so it becomes almost impossible to retire.
On the other hand you have Independent labels, which make up 15% of the market such as XL
recordings. Just like major labels, there are advantages and disadvantages of signing to them.
The first pro is that they are usually honest fans of the artist, and know them on a more personal
level, therefore giving them the passion and drive in promoting your music, whereas major label
don’t know you on a personal level and want you mainly to make them money. Furthermore,
indie labels usually have a smaller roster of artists, which means you get more attention and
have full creative control over your music. In addition the label usually gives the artist back the
‘rights’ of their music after a short period of time.
However, due to the small size of the label, there is usually a small budget, which means it’s
unlikely they can spend money upfront, record in good quality studios, work with
world-renowned producers or have high distribution of their music.
Record companies are responsible for the retail and distribution of records, in the 20th century
music was purchased mainly in stores such as Wal-mart and Best Buy. However with the
increase in online purchasing, shops such as HMV have struggled with their decrease in sales,
and the industry has lost billions of dollars, especially since the introduction of iTunes.
Digital rights management is a set of access control technologies for preventing the use of
copyright works, for example a label can release a CD that includes bits of information intended
to confuse ripping software. DRM is not new thing, floppy discs were also copy protected.
Music Publishing Mya Lambert