How Music Industry Works: A Complete Beginner Guide

Music industry is one of the best industries to work with if you are a musician. Like all businesses, this type of industry is often misunderstood particularly for beginners dreaming to become big rock stars, pop stars, etc. The same with other industries, the path to success is persistence, great talent, great working attitude and the extreme patience of neglecting rejections.

This short guide is written for a beginner musician wanting to work in the music industry. This is by no means an official guide and this is based from my years of experience and interaction with this industry.

The beginning: Songwriters and the Music Publisher

The best way to show how the music industry works is by showing them logically in a chart with the interactions of key industry players:

How music industry works

How music industry works

It all starts with a songwriter, and then the songs of the songwriter will be signed and marketed by a music publisher. This is if the songwriter is connected or affiliated with a music publisher. This is not really necessary. By laws of copyright, the songwriter or the author of the work automatically possess music publishing rights upon creation.

There is a lot of reasons why songwriters would want to be signed by a publisher. These are the following reasons:

1.) Music publisher have more expertise in marketing music more than the songwriter. This would allow greater opportunity compared to working both as a publisher/author at the same time.

2.) The business side of things are complicated to learn. The music publisher can fill in this role while the songwriter can focus on the creative side of things.

3.) The songwriter does not have a lot of contacts that could help increase the opportunity of having the song landed in big and lucrative projects. The music publisher would have a lot of contacts to make this happen.

The music publisher will then provide songs to the rest of the industry namely:

1.) The recording labels
2.) Film production companies
3.) TV production companies

It is important to know what is the difference between music publisher and music library. As you can often see a lot of music libraries today in the Internet, while at the same time there are also a lot of music publishers.