Since the publishing houses of Tin Pan Alley realized the potential of selling sheet music, the music business has been in a constant state of evolution. And with that progression, there are myriad career opportunities for people who want to get behind the scenes and chart the future of the industry, whether it’s from inside the boardroom or from behind the mixing board.
Artist Relations agents play a crucial role in the beginning of most popular musicians’ stories, acting as a liaison between the record label and new up-and-coming talent; they listen to demo tapes, attend shows, and keep their ear to the streets to discover emerging musical talent to sign to the record label.
No matter how talented or charismatic an artist may be, they won’t get far without a good manager to help guide their overall career direction. They’re the ones who oversee all of an artist’s business decisions, from looking over contracts to negotiating endorsement deals to ensuring that a project is being promoted properly.
That task is relegated to professionals working in Music Marketing and Promotions. They’re responsible for securing radio, soundtrack, and television placement for artists and their songs. They also develop promotional materials and events (anything from stickers and posters to in-store appearances and meet-and-greets) to help develop an artist’s buzz; some professionals also focus on and build relationships with retail markets
Many professionals in the music industry specialize in working with some of the ways that technology has enabled us to access music developing digital distribution plans and other ventures for artists like ringtones, podcasts, music video downloads, and more.
But successful artists don’t just rely on record sales to make their money. Booking agents work with musicians to book single performances or entire tours, which are guided by Road and Tour Managers who take care of production decisions such as coordinating local media events, routing the travel/show schedules of a tour, and handling travel accommodations like flights and hotels. Meanwhile, merchandisers handle the creation and sales of the artist’s shirts, hats, posters, and other merchandise, along with negotiating the revenue split with each venue of the tour.
Outside of the income made from being on the road, artists also help their careers through the use of their music in film, television, commercials, video games, and more. Licensers manage these deals by maintaining relationships with music supervisors at these various outlets and by researching which move will be best for the artist.
SonyBMG Marketing Coordinator and Full Sail grad Aaron Ford has helped break records by groups like Modest Mouse, Outkast, and Fiona Apple through word-on-the-street research and grassroots promotional campaigns.
Full Sail grad Priscilla Miller works in the field of New Media/Digital Services for digital music company the Orchard, broadening awareness for artists through distribution and marketing programs with digital service providers (DSPs) like iTunes.