The 4 main areas within the music industry

What do you think of when you hear the words music industry? Do you think of yourself as a musician? Artists who you love? Or, do you think of the different areas that the music industry is broken down into? Perhaps you weren’t even aware the music industry had 4 areas.

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Live performance

Within the music industry live performances are key. They hold the industry together because whether you play or just listen to music, you’ll want to get involved with liver performances. You might want to watch your favourite artists live, or you might even want to perform yourself. People tend to buy less physical copies of music these days. It’s all about streaming platforms and the easy, quick methods of listening to music. However, no one can deny the feeling of seeing your favourite artists live. It’s completely different to anything you could get hold of on your mobile.

When it comes to live performances however, there are many more roles than just artist and consumer. You have management, booking agents, promoters and venue operators. This is just a small amount of the input that goes into producing a live performance. That’s why sometimes you might find the ticket price to be slightly higher than you’d expect, but you have to remember there are all of these fees and people behind the scenes to pay before the artist themselves see’s any money.


They play a huge role within any gig preparation. Often they are the ones dealing with everything. They act as an event planner by reaching out to various venues, collecting quotes and price comparisons. They’ll ensure you’re legally protected to perform within the venue, and you’re insured in case anything should happen. Not only that, but they work out your schedule, where you need to be and when. It’s their responsibility to organise the tour dates and even plan things down to your wardrobe and set list.

Of course, you should be able to input into all of these areas if you wish. After all, if you’re the artist, it’s your decision at the end of the day. But they know their stuff. Alongside all the event preparation, they’ll also organise your promotional material and ensure the rest of your work doesn’t get lost within all the drive of your event. They’ll ensure you still have time to record new music and practise, so you don’t get overwhelmed and the rest of your work suffers.

Booking agents

Booking agents work closely with your management team. They’ll provide contacts and clients that could benefit you as an artist. Typically, they tend to know different professionals across multiple avenues. This is handy because they might know various promotion options or even fashion stylists for your tour. It can be tricky finding new people within the industry, especially when you’re new to touring. Many have their clients and therefore don’t need to go looking for more. That’s where a booking agent comes in handy because they’ve already built up a good relationship with these people.

They have connections such as promoters, and they can help arrange your press release. This will then be sent to be printed, to radio, TV and even billboards depending on what you want and what your budget can cover. They’ll be able to provide many options to suit you and your artist style. Throughout the whole event process, they’ll be closely on board, helping your management team to arrange your tours.


Promoters are responsible for purchasing acts from booking agents. The two work very closely together when it comes to arranging tours. Booking agents can contact promoters to arrange for an artist to go on tour, but equally promoters will always be reaching out to booking agents if they want to negotiate prices for clients on their books. They have the job of arranging gigs and live performances within different venues. If the booking agent hasn’t organised a venue, then it is down to the promoters.

Another role of theirs is promotion. That clue is in the name itself. They have to arrange various advertisements in different media forms. Posters, flyers and adverts. They’re then responsible for distributing these to everywhere possible. Whether it be physically handing out flyers or contacting various websites and radio stations to get the word out there about an upcoming tour. Also, if you’re looking to perform somewhere public like a shopping centre, you’ll need a promoter to arrange this. Sometimes they even organise the refreshments for an artist on tour.

Venue operators

Venue operators are crucial to the tour going ahead. Right from when the venue is secured, they have a huge job on their hands. Their task is to ensure you have a venue and everything needed with it to actually put on the event. Without them, there’s no need for flyers and promotion because the gig won’t go ahead. They arrange the security and the actual space needed to put on a performance. They’ll also be in charge of any box offices, lighting, sets and staff to help out with all of these roles.

They’ll arrange stagehands to help out with the various equipment they need to hire and even source the food and refreshments section of a gig which is a really important part to any event. Depending on the type of venue you want you might need extra features added on. Venue operators will source all your needs according to your venue. It could be a concert hall, a warehouse, a bar or a club. Anywhere you want to arrange your performance, they’ll need to secure everything else for it.

Record companies

If you’re looking for a major record label, you want to focus on cities across the world. Places like New York, LA, London, Madrid. The list goes on and on. There will be record companies in all major cities across the world, and you don’t only have to focus on the ones within your country. Although being with a management team in your own country will make things easier. However, it isn’t only the major cities that have record label options. You can find many across your country. All you need to do is take a look and get some recomendations.

It will depend on the record label themselves as to how much coverage you get through them. Some will aim to promote your music far and wide and to every client they can. However, there will be others that will include a restricted area and further afield will come at a cost. Each record label will have their own CEO or president of the company who will oversee everything. As an artist, it is unlikely you’ll come into contact with them, but they do have the final say.

Artist management

We’ve briefly touched upon management services. It can be more difficult than this, however. Managers must know the ins and outs of all areas f the music industry. They’re the ones you turn to for any advice, tips, and they’re also the ones to make things happen for you. A good manager can make your career, however a bad one could just as easily break it. It’s important you suss out your potential manager thoroughly before deciding to get on board with them. They’ll need to have a background within music and business. This doesn’t mean they need to have studied both but they do need to ensure they have all areas covered for you, or at least know where to look for help in certain areas that aren’t their strengths.

Your manager will be responsible for the smooth running of any projects, tours or events you might be involved with. They are essentially like a PA but more intense and with more responsibilities. It’s their job to look into any potential work and check it’s completely safe before signing you up for it. The job role holds many features, and you’ll always be doing something new. However, it isn’t one to be overlooked as it can be a very difficult job. After all, their career is essentially in your hands. Everything will come back to you, so if their concert is a flop, despite other creatives being involved. Overall, you’ll get the blame for this.

Professional manager

This is someone who is your manager on a day-to-day basis. They make their living from the artists they manage. Their role is to oversee everything the artist gets involved with and create new opportunities for their clients. The more they bring to the table, the more money they will make from this.

Touring manager

This is a manager that is hired simply for touring purposes. Unlike the previous manager that will also accompany them on tour but be involved with other aspects of their career. This type of manager will only be around for the tour. They’ll travel on the road with them and manage things like transport from gig to gig, flights, accommodation and other expenses that come with a tour.

Music publishing

Copyrights which are owned and provided by publishing companies are always really important to the music industry. The alternative to this are master recordings which are usually owned by a record company. However, publishing companies play a vital role within managing these assets. They are responsible for safeguarding the artists signed to them. Within this they have to ensure their best interests are at heart.

Alongside this, they have to protect the interest of the music industry, public, media and even the government. Everything has to follow the correct rules. Music publishing companies need to be able to provide information to all of these categories. If a member of the public was to contact them about the rights to a particular song, they need to know their stiff. It’s important to avoid any claims or incorrect use of music.

These are the four areas of the music industry. Of course, the music industry has never-ending layers, so it’s impossible to cover everything there is to know within one article. But, these different avenues are known as the four main and vital paths within the music world. It’s important to know this and know the roles of each of these services. It might help you know who to reach out to in the future or what you need to acquire before you move forward.

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