The music industry is a compilation of buyers, sellers, movers and shakers. People love to listen to music and people love to make music. So, someone needs to profit, right? Essentially, the music business sells compositions, recordings and performances of music, that’s it in a nutshell, but it’s a vital, global and dominating force billions gravitate to.
There are many individuals and organizations that make up the whole within the industry. Let’s take a look at some of the parts the make this machine run.
* There are the musicians who compose and perform the music
* There are the companies that sell the music (record labels)
* There are companies that help produce and create the music (studios)
* There are the individual professionals who create the recorded music (music producers, engineers etc.)
* There are the individuals who sell the music (retail stores, online sites)
* There are those who present the live music shows (booking agents, promoters, music venues, road crew, performance rights organizations )
* There are those who aide the musicians (talent managers, business managers, entertainment lawyers)
* There are those who share the music publicly (satellite and broadcast radio, music journalists, educators; musical instrument manufacturers) and the list goes on.
Many years ago, in the late 19th century and early 20th century, it was the makers and publishers of sheet music that dominated the music industry. However, by the 1950′s, records had surpassed sheet music as the largest player in the music business.
This is how the term “the recording industry” got started. Vinyl changed everything. It was the LP that started the movement toward what is now the need for portable, instant, and on demand music. However, the last 10 years or so have seen a drastic drop in record sales though. Since 2000, sales of recorded music have dropped off substantially, while live music has increased fairly dramatically.
Currently, there are three major corporate labels that dominate the recorded music industry. These are the Universal Music Group since they purchased EMI in November 2011, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group. Each of these mega-companies consists of many smaller companies that serve different regions and markets across the country and around the world.
The live music industry is dominated by the event and organizational company Live Nation. They are the largest promoter and music venue owner in the United States. Live Nation is a former subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications (remember hearing about them a few years ago?). Clear Channel is the largest owner of radio stations in the United States and many were afraid they were becoming a monopoly and beginning to dictate the entire countries musical tastes and listening interests.
There are two other important music industry companies that you should known about. The first is include Creative Artists Agency which is the largest music management and booking company in the country. The other is Apple Inc. Apple owns and operates the world’s largest music store, the iTunes Store. iTunes sells more music than anyone else on the planet. You may even be listening to a song on your iPod as you are read this…