Saturday, 20 March 2010

Artist Management

Here is a quick bit of information of Artist Management, including what a manager does, what skills they need and for the artists out there, how to find a good manager. Hope this is useful;

Managers -

• Look for bands and artists to work with
• They need a good ear for music and an understanding of the current market
• Book-keeping – managing the bands accounts
• Getting gigs for the band
1. For this they need to know about the venues e.g. what sort of music they put on.
• Negotiate contracts with the record label
• Can take anything from 5% to 20% of bands income
• They need to work closely with all aspects of the music industry and understand them. If a bands on a small label the manager may have to take on some of the responsibilities of the A&R man.

What skills managers need –

• Good people skills are essential in order for a manager to get the best for the band, and in doing so the best for themselves. They also need to be confident and assertive with lots of contacts.
• They need patience when having to deal band members e.g. getting them onto the tour bus at 6 in the morning or making sure there not so drunk they can’t play a gig.
• They need knowledge of all areas of the music industry, in order to know there own role within it and to know whose responsible if something goes wrong.
• They need IT skills to do the financial aspect of managing.

Finding the best manager –

• An artist should want to see financial records – where is the money coming from, is it even coming?
• Professional feedback – to tell you if your going wrong and how to sort it out
• What bands have they previously managed and how many, what genre. A manager who is already managing 10 bands may not be good as he won’t have much time for you.
• They need to be trustworthy as it would be very easy for them to skim money off your profits.

Monday, 1 March 2010


The key aspect of music publishing is copyright, which is the protection of an artist’s work and the reason they can make money from it. In order for an artist to copyright their work it must be both original and in a solid format, which, in the music industry, means it must either be notated or recorded. Once a piece of work has been copyrighted no one can legally sample, record, publish as sheet music, distribute, add to a film track, play on TV or radio, or perform it in public without the copyright owner’s permission. This is where publishing companies come in, for it is one of their jobs to grant licences to people wishing to use an artist’s music. The first licence applies to the areas mentioned above and it is called an exclusive licence, which means the artist has the right to choose where their material can and cannot be used. The second licence applies to cable TV, jukeboxes and digital distribution and is called a compulsory licence. This licence means the user doesn’t have to request permission from the artist, they do still have to pay royalties however. Though the artists do still get paid, I do not think the compulsory licence is fair as an artist’s music may be used in places they don’t wish it to be. I think while an artist still retains the copyright for their music they should be able to choose where it is played and distributed.

In relation to music the copyright laws allow an artist to continue to gain royalties 70 years after their death, at which point it is of course paid to the estates. At the end of the 70-year period the song enters the public domain and can be used by anyone, copyright free. This law, however, only applies to the performing rights of the song, such as it being played on the radio. Songs’ mechanical rights, which are to do with CDs, vinyl etc., only last for 50 years after the end of the year during which the work was released. I think the mechanical rights should be extended to the entire life of the person who created the work, as it does not seem fair that people could use their work for free while they are still alive.

There are three core sections to any publishing company, which are administration, plugging and Scouting/A&R. The administrator takes care of the copyrighting, issuing of licences, collecting the money and paying the artists. The plugger is there to promote the music and, if necessary, record the music. Finally the scout, or A&R man, is responsible for finding bands and songwriters to sign up.

When publishers sign bands and songwriters they take the copyright from them. It is then the publisher’s job to promote the music made by their artists. They do this by getting the music into films, printing it and putting it onto records. Often record companies go to publishing companies to get songs for a band or performer who does not write their own music. The revenue gained from an artist’s music being used in those formats is then collected from the users of the music by collection societies. Once the collection society has collected the revenue they then pass the money onto the publisher, who takes a 50% cut before passing the rest onto the artist. The 50% cut the publisher gets seems to me to be an extortionate amount, when they have done little more than pass your work onto someone else. However, top producer Michael Jay, who has worked with Eminem, Celine Dion and Kylie Minogue, says, “Working with a publisher can grant you access to some high-level projects and the ability to form relationships with top A&Rs”. In other words a publisher has the connections to get an artists work used in places the artist wouldn’t have been able to have alone. It could also help an unsigned artist get a record deal or, like in the case of Michael Jay, help a songwriter/producer get his songs used by a record label.

There are two main types of collection society. The first are Performance Rights Societies, whose job it is to collect the revenue from live performances, radio play, jukeboxes, background music in shops and DJs using copyrighted music. The second main type of collection society is the Mechanical Rights Societies. These collect the revenue from CD sales, vinyl sales and from music used in film. Once they have collected the money they then pass it onto the publishers. In the UK the PRS pay the writers directly and also ensure that the writer gets at least 50% by refusing to pay publishing companies any more than half the royalties. They are all non-profit societies and only take a small amount of money to cover their costs.

There are several different collection societies in the UK, they are the MCPS (Mechanical Copyright Protection Society) and the PRS (Performance Rights Society). In the USA there is the HFA (Harry Fox Agency), which is a mechanical rights society and the ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) and SESAC, which are all performing rights societies.

The MCPS works using two contracts for collecting royalties from record labels, the AP.1 contract for majors and the AP.2 for independents. Under these contracts the major labels only have to pay out twice a year while the independent labels have to pay every time a record is pressed. This system seems incredibly unfair to independent labels, as they have to pay out royalties before having sold the records. This biased system makes it harder for independent labels to grow and easier for the majors to stay ahead of them. I also think it discourages new music to be released, as the financial implications imposed on indie labels by the contract makes it harder for them to release records.


Sunday, 28 October 2007

Health and Safety

First off, health and safety. Yeah it’s boring, but for a club owner following these rules is essential if you want your club to stay open.
In order for a venue to be aloud to open there are lots of health and safety regulations that they must adhere to. In a venue that has a lot of live music there will be a lot of wires around and these must all be taped down, with white tape, so that people can see them and to prevent anyone tripping over them. A venue must have fire exits with at least two with disabled access. The number of fire exits a venue has determines it’s capacity, so they are generally designed to incorporate a lot of fire exits. Of course there is a limit to any venues capacity so they must employ bouncers to guard the doors once it is full, and also to turn away any unsuitable customers e.g. if they are underage.
A venue has to provide water for free and they must also provide toilets. If there are steps or obstacles these must be clearly lit to prevent people from crashing into them or falling down. In the case that someone does get hurt first aid trained personal must be on hand to deal with it. If the venue plays music over 85db they must provide earplugs to stop peoples ears from getting damaged by the noise.
If a venue uses strobe lighting it must warn the audience of this, using signs, and ensure that the strobe is legal, as to many flashes per second is against the law. It has also recently become necessary for a venue to put a no smoking sign beside all of its entrances, as people are no longer allowed to smoke in public areas.
If a venue does not comply with any of the health and safety regulations they can be shut down. Check back soon for a more interesting post, next up music publishing, which includes the copyright laws and if your a songwriter - how to get hold of your share of the money.



Hello and welcome to the music industry guide. On this blog I will be posting everything you need to know about the music industry, whether your a songwriter or a musician the information provided here will be essential to you. Working in music it is possible to make a lot of money but if you don't know how the industry works you will probably miss out on a lot of money that should have come your way. On this blog I will explain the basics of music publishing and how a record label works in order to help you succeed in this every competitive industry. Also check out my music reviews blog -, and find out what I think about old classics and the latest releases.