Which Professions Do I Need Around Me As An Artist?

As an artist,  the professions you need around you are the following:

  • Manager

  • Producer

  • Record Label

  • Tour leader

  • Publisher

  • Musicians/Band

  • PR Person

  • Roadie Crew

  • Songwriters

  • Sound Technician

The collective knowledge from these professions will give you the tools and guidance you need in order to build a good career. Also, it is essential that you know about each of these roles so next time you need assistance you know who you need and can more efficiently delegate the tasks to the right person.

Artist Manager

A Manager or Artist manager will represent you, overseeing business and financial negotiation and deals, and sourcing and securing opportunities for your music. If you are open to it, a manager can also offer creative input in terms of how to best present your music; for instance, they may have suggestions on the best stand-out tracks to send onto labels from previous experience they have in dealing with them. The role can vary greatly, depending on what stage of your career you’re at and who else you may have on board e.g. agent, label, PR company etc. For instance, if you are yet to find a booking agent to work with, your manager may undertake all gig, tour and festival bookings for you.

An artist manager will typically work on a commission basis, taking a percentage of the artist’s earnings. As the main point of contact for your band, they will meet with suitable contacts to further your career, oversee your schedule, and generally take care of all business-related tasks, freeing up your time to focus on your music.

Record Label

Record labels are companies that market recorded music and corresponding videos. They engage in a wide range of functions in the music industry, including new artist recruitment and development (known as A&R, which stands for artist and repertoire), music publishing, and copyright enforcement.

Record labels are companies, large or small, that manufacture, distribute, and promote the recordings of affiliated musicians. Essentially, record labels work to sell the brand of the artist and the products they create. There are various departments within record labels that work together to best sell their products and artists.

Publisher

A music publisher or music publishing company is responsible for ensuring songwriters and composers receive payment when their compositions are used commercially. Remember, this differs from the ‘recording’ of a song, music publishers are only concerned with the actual song composition.

If you sign a music publishing deal, the publisher will take over the rights to your songs and will work to promote the songs for use in advertising and brand partnerships, films, TV or for another artist to record. Their role also involves issuing licenses for the use of a song, collecting the royalties, accounting, and so on. There are 3 main areas where income can be generated: Performance, Mechanical and Synchronization.

PR Person

People who work in PR liaise between labels and/or musicians and the media to try and get album reviews, profiles of the band, reviews of live shows and so on. Many music PR companies have a dedicated focus—for instance, they only do print media or only digital.

Songwriters

Songwriters create lyrics and melodies for songs in different genres. Some Songwriters may also perform and record their own songs. They are also called Composers or Lyricists. So, a songwriter is either a person who writes the WORDS to a song or the person who creates vocal or instrumental sounds which combine in such a way as to produce beauty of form.

Producer

Based in the studio, working with a good record producer can make a vital difference to the sound and recording of your track. The role of a producer varies, depending on how hands-on you want them to be, but can involve gathering creative ideas for the project, suggesting changes to song arrangements, controlling recording sessions, organizing session musicians and supervising the entire process to produce the best quality recording possible. You can read more on the roles of a music producer here. Some recording studios have their own in-house producer that you can work alongside, or if you have a record deal, your label may suggest a reputable independent music producer for you to work with. Most producers are paid a flat fee or an advance, but some also receive points (a percentage of the dealer price of a record, and/or a share of the profits made from the recordings).

Tour leader

A tour manager is a person who runs the show when a band is on tour. Tour managers are responsible for making sure a concert tour runs smoothly. Their jobs involve looking after the tour finances, making sure everyone is where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be—and generally making sure that everyone on tour is on task.

Musicians/Band

A Musician is someone skilled at playing one or several musical instruments. Musicians can also read, compose, conduct, perform, orchestrate and arrange music in a variety of different styles. Musicians for theatre often work alongside a band or orchestra to provide live music for a production or performance.

They may also concentrate in different styles (for instance rap, hip hop, rock, jazz, classical, country, folk etc). They gain experience through playing in bands, small groups or orchestras and through becoming proficient in several styles of music and musical instruments. They build-up a popular reputation by playing at clubs, weddings or other places and gain a following of fans in order to reach the goal of signing a recording contract or gain agent representation.

Roadie Crew

Roadie Crew  or Roadies typically have many other duties aside from the one in which they focus. One of the prime roadie duties is being a member of a team and doing whatever it takes to make the show successful. This can mean pitching in for other areas that might be struggling. It also means keeping a sense of humor in the face of crisis. You’ll also need to polish those communication and people skills, as the hard work and long road can fray nerves and exhaust your reserves.

Often times, roadies are the mediators between the artists and others, such as the venue owners and operators. It’s the roadie’s job to balance the needs and artistic vision of his employer with that of the public and venue. While the artists, for example, might want a 30-foot column of flame to launch during a certain song, the roadie must work with the venue to ensure the safety and feasibility of such an effect. It may fall to the roadie to explain why some things cannot be done.

Sound Technician

The primary duty of most sound technicians is to record or reproduce sound using audio equipment. However, they may also be responsible for setting up audio and mixing board equipment for sporting events or artistic productions.

Summary

For a very long time in your career you will have ALL of these roles yourself. And, of course, if you want to know what you’re talking about (which you do!) it’s imperative that you are using the right names and terms. Sure, it might sound tempting to delegate all these tasks to someone else, but for every new person you hire, the less you’ll earn yourself in the end. The sooner you understand which roles there are, and the quicker you learn to become that person yourself, the faster you’ll become successful, easy as that. The reason is very simple. The more you know about each role, the easier it is for you to delegate that role when the time is right. You are the CEO of your own career, and if you don’t have at least some knowledge about what your “company” needs, then you’ll never succeed.⠀