How Music Industry Works: A Complete Beginner Guide

Recording Label Role

Let’s check what will happen when the song reaches the recording label. The recording label would then hire a recording producer to create quality recordings for a certain artist.

When the record producer officially accepts the terms and agreed with the label/artist, the music production project officially starts. Music production process is a very complex process. It involves a lot of time, cost and energy among other players in the industry. Below are some important tutorials pertaining to this process, you can read below for more details:

Music Production Process: How does it take to produce a song
How to Release a Digital Album Online: Complete Steps

The finish product of the recording label is an album, single or any recordings made by the artist.

Distribution of recording albums, singles

The recordings would either be released as an album/single to record stores which fans can buy. The recording label has a distribution department that coordinates with different store outlets.

Alternatively, it will be released in iTunes as a digital album or single. Radio stations and music television also gets songs from the record labels for promotions. Big recording labels (such as the major labels) have departments solely responsible for marketing and promotion of recording artist and their albums.

For film production companies, once the song has been received from the music publisher, it will then be included in a movie sound track and it will be distributed to be seen in the movie theaters or released as a DVD, etc. Same thing with TV production companies, the producer or director will get songs from the music publishers then add that songs to their TV programs and it will then be aired on TV channels. They also work with recording labels to get permission for the use of sound recording of a particular song.

Bear in mind that music licensing is a very broad topic since involves a lot of rights. For example there is a lot of music rights for film that the licensee needs to be cleared before the music and the underlying sound recording can be used in the film/movie projects. In standard definition, the music publisher owns the song/lyrics copyright so the film companies would be asking permission for sync, mechanical rights, etc. This is except for the sound recording/master recording for which the usual owner is the recording label.

There are other big and important licensing rights that you need to understand in the music industry. Refer below:

Public Performance Music License
What is a mechanical license agreement

The gold rectangles in the chart are the ones which music consumers/fans and normal people like you will interact with the products of the music industry. Those behind the box (in light blue shaded), you normally won’t notice their contributions as they are behind the action.

But those components are vital to keep the music industry alive. So if you are planning to join this industry, where would you be? If you are artist, you will be working with recording labels; the same thing with recording producers, mixers and engineer. If you are a songwriter, you will be working closely with music publishers.

Content last updated on July 25, 2012