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We could say that we live the best moment of the music industry: a new era full of challenges, rethinking and innovative visions. However, to develop professionally, it is essential to have an in-depth knowledge of the ecosystem in which you seek to insert yourself: sectors, roles and functions that define the music industry.
Today we are facing a new panorama, changed and diverse with the new forms that the music production chain is taking on, from creation to development, from audience formation to consumption, including the media and channels of exploitation. As a result, the music industry offers a wide variety of career paths. In addition to the obvious choices of musician, singer and songwriter, there are many careers in the music industry behind the scenes. In this scenario of possibilities, an individual and isolated self-managed musician model is no longer sufficient: global thinking and a strategic perspective are needed to capitalize on the benefits of collective management of musical projects.
Nowadays, music production does not imply “just and only” releasing an album and “playing on the radio”. It’s important not to think exclusively in terms of a “mass audience” as a primary objective but to define a niche market and a target audience to map out the outreach and distribution strategies your music requires. Jooble have prepared an article we will deal with the sectors music industry, detailing the diversity of roles that make up its current ecosystem.
Let’s start from the perspective of creation, the origin of the music idea towards its future expansion. Besides the general concept of a musician, we can find the figures of composer and author. However, there are many cases where these creators are not the ones who later perform their works.
The forms and techniques used to create work are diverse: singer-songwriters who musicalize and write their lyrics, collective creation within a band, a remote collaboration between musicians via the internet, experimentation in making music with the support of technological tools, among others. Of course, all these require sound engineers, arrangers, orchestrators, and other professionals who materialize the work, give it form and contribute their vision.
Strategic thinking must be the axis, and the actors involved must complement each other to produce a “real product”. We refer to the role of a manager/representative who understands, helps and fulfils the projection of the artist’s “voice”; an artistic producer who enhances and takes the proposal to its maximum expression; a record label that provides the means to make room for that expression. For the professional development of the project, teamwork between the artist/group and the manager/representative/producer is the key.
Given the usual confusion in differentiating the roles of the executive producer, the manager, and the artistic producer, it is worth clarifying their roles and responsibilities.
It is essential to highlight the artist-representative/manager tandem: this relationship must be fluid, complementary and based on joint efforts. The main aim is to represent the music project in the best possible way from an artistic point of view but also a clear, realistic, and responsible notion of its goals and possibilities. The manager/representative will be your voice during business meetings, commercial spaces, and legal aspects; he is the one who will materialize and execute your artistic vision in a concrete, systematic and profitable way.
Unlike the manager, the artistic producer works alongside the technical team of the audio engineering and recording studio and is a link between the wishes and possibilities of an artist and the concrete realization of a recording that identifies him.
The executive producer is responsible for accompanying the various organizational tasks necessary to realize the recording plan for an album. Among his responsibilities, we can mention coordination of recording schedules and days, budget requests, logistical schemes, coordination of tests and rehearsals, coordination of recording formats (transfers, backups, logbook, and transcriptions of session data), monitoring of budget execution and administration of the remaining resources. In short, he is responsible for the overall planning and development of all organizational and practical tasks. This is commonly the case in the independent music field that it is usually the manager/musician who assumes executive production responsibilities, although this need not necessarily be the case. The executive producer can also be hired as a freelancer for a specific production.
Once the recording has been shaped into a ready form, it is time for long term development. Once again, it is essential to be accompanied by a strategic planner who facilitates this instance of development, taking into account and being faithful to the “voice” of the artistic/musical idea, and providing the necessary resources to go out into the field in terms of industry, negotiations and alliances that will make the project grow.
Music industry workers within various record labels will be the key to the artistic-musical and professional-industrial axes. PR, marketing, and sales staff experienced in distribution and marketing will help build up a music portfolio. Some of the elements to include are vision and descriptive wording of our music “product”; recorded music samples; video samples (live and video clips); live and studio photos; background and previous experience; press clips; future planning and strategy; technical information (rider, backline, stage plan, etc.); music influences; schedule of upcoming concerts, etc.
A well-planned promotion strategy with the support of a communication and press agency, the help of a label and the integrated marketing plan will differentiate the product within the “world of contents”.
Once the strategic guideline and outsourcing of content have been established, it is time to take the necessary steps to put together a live show representing your message.
The process of developing live shows must also be stipulated in an organized way, with estimated budgets. Besides evaluating the territories closest to the project, the profile of the concert venues we choose made by an artist-manager or artist-record label tandem, the process of generating unique experiences for listeners falls on the shoulders of technicians and artistic consultants. These jobs often require travelling with artists and setting up music equipment for concerts and shows.
There are many people involved and many responsibilities on each side, so you must be careful, conscious, and responsible about managing the time and resources involved. We consider the live performance an opportunity for growth that also contributes to our artistic and professional development.
Don’t wait for opportunities to be discovered. In principle, this is no longer the only viable option. Instead, breakthrough with your means, empower yourself in your project and take on the challenge of facing and sustaining your professional development. All that has been said can be synthesized in the challenge of professionalizing ourselves, both in terms of our artistic profession and the management and knowledge of the industry. Today’s music invites us, more than ever, to get involved and take responsibility for our careers.