Defining Music Industry Roles and Occupations

Outlined below are some key music industry definitions and descriptions of functionaries that will be helpful in an introduction to the business of music.

Audio Engineers – Also called audio technicians, they include studio recording engineers, mixing engineers, and sound reinforcement engineers for live music presentations. Audio engineers deal with the use of equipment, musical instruments, computer hardware and software for the recording, mixing and reproduction of sound. Audio engineering concerns the creative and practical aspects of sounds and music. They are also responsible for the technical aspects of the recording process, such as sound quality, effects, and the mixing of the various sound components for either the production of a master recording or for presentation to live audiences.
Booking Agent – Responsible for seeking, negotiating and contracting for engagements requiring the services of performers.
Collection Societies – Collection societies or collective management organizations (CMOs) are non-profit members associations typically incorporated by virtue of company law. In the music industry, they represent the copyright and related rights interests of songwriters, music publishers, sound recording producers, and performers, by issuing licenses for public use of the works of their members, collecting licensing fees for use, and making royalty distributions to members.
Distributor (of sound recordings) – Provides warehousing, aggregation, delivery, and promotional services for sale of finished recorded entertainment products such as vinyl records, cassettes, CDs, and digital audio files.
Entertainment Attorney – Provides advice and negotiation services on matters related to intellectual property rights, and a wide range of contracts required in the production, promotion and distribution of entertainment products and services.
Executive Producer (music) – The person or entity responsible for funding the expenditures required to complete the sound recording production and packaging process. The Executive Producer owns the sound recording master produced.
Music Publishers – Represent songwriters by virtue of written agreements that authorize the publisher to administer the copyright interests of the songwriter in relation to the commercial exploitation and use of musical compositions. Good music publishers also seek to secure additional income for songs by having them covered, or used in films, games, or advertising.
Producer (Music) – The person responsible for the coordination and management of all creative inputs by vocalists, musicians and audio engineers that work on a sound recording production. Some music producers also assume responsibility for financing the sound recording production exercise, while others are engaged as independent music producers to deal solely with the coordination of the creative aspects of the studio recording process. A music producer is often a musician or audio engineer.
Producer (Live Show) – The person responsible for coordinating the creative, technical, contractual and promotional aspects of live music performance events.
Artist Personal and Business Manager – Otherwise called Artist Manager, provides career, personal, and business guidance and counseling to artists, and act as liaison and team leader of all other agents and personnel engaged to represent the artist.
Publicists – Develops and disseminates public relations and advertising materials to all media on behalf of artists and other practitioners in the entertainment industry. They are typically responsible for development and distribution of Media Kits (Electronic Press Kits/EPKs), and other activities such as the coordination of interviews, and social media management. Act as the interface and link between artists and the media.
Recording Artist – Includes vocalists (singers and deejays/rappers), as well as musicians who perform in recording studios for purposes of having their performance recorded, mixed and mastered for distribution to the public
Set Designers – Design and construct props, backdrops and other stage decoration and enhancements
Show Promoters – These are the owners, financiers and sometimes organizers of entertainment events, with the ultimate responsibility for the presentation of the event, and the engagement of all necessary service providers.
Song Writers – Include authors of lyrics (words) and composers of music (beats). Songwriters are the first owners of the copyrights in original musical compositions.
Stage Managers – Persons responsible for coordination of all activities on stage, including set changes, supervision of stage personnel, and the flow of the programme from a technical and performance standpoint.
Tour Managers – Provide coordination services with respect to planning and execution of shows on the road, including activities such as transportation, accommodation, meals, supervision of support personnel and interaction between performers, promoters and media.