The Music Industry (Part 1)

Music School

What’s up, ya’ll??

So, I decided to take a Music Industry class at my local college this year to see if there was anything new I could learn.

We are a bit over halfway through the semester and I wanted to take a moment to share with you guys what I’ve learned so far. Don’t worry I’ll give you the version that doesn’t drag out for four months. šŸ˜‰

Study Music

Truth Be Told…

You don’t need to go to school to learn what you can learn if you take action on your music career.

It was cool to have a professor to ask questions to but these institutions seem to stay behind the times a bit. I was reading the chapter in the assigned textbook, Understanding the Music Business by Dick Weissman, on social media and I gotta say it was mediocre, to say the least.

If you have any type of social media account you know more than this text book can teach you in that aspect.

A Quick Overview

You may or may not know any of this, but here goes…

The Record Industry

Record Labels

The record industry has been dying off, there are only 3 major record labels left:
Universal, Warner Brothers and Sony.

3 Major Cities for Music:
Los Angeles, New York and Nashville.

“If you want to be a songwriter, go to Nashville.” That’s what we were told by a guest speaker in class but personally I think that you can start your dream anywhere you currently reside and go from there.

Publishing rights generate royalty money for the producer every time the song is played, there are 2 companies that handle royalties:
ASCAP & BMI – Everywhere that has live music has to pay the license to ASCAP and BMI, schools and sometimes churches are exempt.

Record Deals

Record Deal

  • Here are some recommendations you may get after a label hears your music:
    • Your songs aren’t focused. (Generally a song should be about one thing)
    • The band doesn’t play well together.
    • We don’t hear any hits.
    • We have too many of your type of band.

There are different types of recording contracts:
Demo Deal – You will get a small amount of money, $3 – $4k to record some demos in a studio.
Signing Bonus – Money you get that does not have to be paid back.
Advanced Deal – This money will be paid back from the money your music generates, if your music does not produce money then no money needs to be paid back.

Remember that whoever pays for for the studio gets to own the master recordings, the creator of the song you get the copyrights.

I thought this was pretty cool, it’s called a Key Man Clause – it’s a clause in the contract that states that if the person that signs the artist leaves that label the artist may choose to go with them.
If this is not in the contract the artist must stay with the label.


Royalty Money

Recoupment – The record companyĀ expects to be paid back for what they put into you. The record company gets paid first.Ā 

Development Deal – You get enough to test a couple of songs before going all the way.

One Off – Generally used by smaller labels, a single gets produced in hopes you will be a big hit to be able to continue.

360 Deal – The record company handles your releases, tours, merchandise, etc… Live Nation invented these deals.

Cross Collateralization – In this case the sales from your second album pay for the costs of the first album (if the first album didn’t generate enough money).

P&D – Promotion and Distribution, getting into stores or on the right sites so that people can buy your music.

These are a couple of the unions you may want to know about:
AFM – American Federation of Musicians and…
AFTRA – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists which for singers.

If you happen to find yourself in a situation where you may need to sign a contract then you may want to look into Entertainment Lawyers to represent you.
They should offer free consultations so make sure you interview a few before choosing one and show them the contract before you sign, they may be able to get you a better deal.

In Closing

I realized that school was actually a great place to network with like-minded people, assuming that you are taking the right classes.
In the past three months I have met and began working with rappers, engineers and even people who started their own label.

Also if you ever need good references teachers are great people to write those up for you, so make sure you try your best and get on their good side.
When I first decided to move to California I got my first internship at a major studio with a letter of recommendation from one of my professors fromĀ SAE Institute of Technology-Nashville,

If You’re Serious About Your Music Career…

I urge you to –> check out our beats <— we are currently runningĀ  a pretty great deal where you get TWO FREE BEATS if you purchase one.

I hope this cleared up the air for you a bit if you were being indecisive about going to school and as always I’m eager to hear about your thoughts and experiences so don’t hesitate to reach out and leave a comment.

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4 thoughts on “The Music Industry (Part 1)

    1. Spencer says:

      The whole spectrum, it was about the industry as a whole so we didn’t concentrate on any one type of music. Were you interested in country or rock music?

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