POSTED ON 18th January 2019 BY The eric team
Brought to you by Warner Music Group
So what exactly *is* a record label? Record labels primarily focus on the ‘recordings’ side of music. Dealing more-so with the artists than the songwriters (publishers do this), although of course an artist can be both, but let not complicate things for the time being.
There are many cogs that make up a fully functioning label, here are the fundamental ones below:
‘Artist & Repertoire’ – fancy yourself as a bit of a Sherlock Holmes, do you? Well instead of chasing down serial killers try serial heartbreakers as you’re on the search for the crooners of tomorrow. This department works very closely with the signee, in addition to the other label departments in planning the career path of the artist. With the statement ‘they’re only as good as their last signing’ following them around like a bad smell, do you care to agree or disagree?
In charge of planning the long-term campaign of an album, it can be argued that how you market something is as important if not more important than the quality of your product. What use is having a diamond if it's just hiding under your bed when the person next to you is flogging their overly polished pebble? This department has a range of roles on offer including: album artwork creation, shooting promotional videos and branding merchandise to name but a few. The marketing department communicates closely with the promotion, publicity and sales departments to help not only launch an album into the public eye, but keep it there.
With the key responsibility of getting the artist and its music to the public, building relationships with radio stations and video channels are therefore essential. Where the marketing department could be seen as the team to ‘gift wrap' the album, the promotions team are the individuals who hand it over to media platforms with a big toothy smile. Good interpersonal skills such as negotiation abilities and an over-winking eye will serve you well in this team.
This department primarily deals with the press relations of the artist. For example upon the release of an album or commencement of a tour, they will look out for press opportunities to spread the message on a larger scale. This could be in the form of pitching interviews, album reviews, getting the artists spots on TV shows and radio. Having a thick book of contacts is important as you'll be relying heavily on newspapers, radio stations and websites for coverage fn the artist you are trying to break or perhaps one which is already established and making a return to the music scene.
The sales department in essence works to get albums onto the shelves of retail stores. Individuals in this team really do need to possess the gift of being able to 'sell ice to Eskimos' as your job will ultimately be convincing the likes of HMV and the large chain stores just why they should place your CD/DVD on their shelves as oppose to the blu-ray special of '50 Ways To Die'.
Digital / New Media
The digital team deals more with the technological side of the business for example, the upkeep of an artist’s online presence. And furthering this point, the analytics of their social media following eg. what platforms are best for the type of artist that they're working with, what the demographic of their followers is and so on. Also part of the digital spectrum is the placement of music videos across various online platforms and not forgetting the launching of tracks on various music streaming services and the consequent analysis of this.
Music, as much of an art, it is a business, and with any business admin is adamant. Just as important as every other department that comprises WMG is the business affairs unit, their business duties range from general to specific. From the planning and organisation of finances for example payroll and bookkeeping to forecasting and strategising ways to expand the business.
In addition to the more general things like contracts between artist and record label, and label to other companies, once in a blue moon a real gem sweeps across the desks of the legal department. Such a case may be if your artist punches that adoring fan or thinks they’ve made a hit song when really they’ve subconsciously stolen the melody of Celine Dion's - ‘Titanic’ then this department gets the memo.
Written by The ERIC Team
Brought to you by Warner Music Group
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