The Music Business Lingo & Jobs

When I graduated from college I knew everything there was to know about music theory, operas, html & css, and piano performance. So when I got to Nashville, I was lost when it came to finding a JOB in the music industry. It took me awhile to figure out who was who but now I know who does what and how I can fit in! Earlier this week I visited my alma mater, Virginia Tech, to speak to the music majors about the business and what I do. My goal was to give them an overview of the industry and explain various ways to make money after college! Below is a list of lingo and job titles organized into 4 categories that I pulled together for the presentation. If you're just getting started as a music professional, I hope this helps!

 
music industry job categories
 

Create & Sell Recorded Music

Studio & Engineers

A studio is where music is recorded.
A sound engineer takes the separate tracks of a recording and blends them together. By adding effects, equalizing and adjusting the volume of each track, they make all the tracks work together to create a well balanced and coherent sound.

Producer

A producer is responsible for bringing the album concept to a tangible form. They primarily oversee and encourage the creative process as well as sometimes the logistics of finding and booking studios, hiring session musicians, and other administrative tasks. A producer will often have significant influence over the final product and will receive a portion of the album profits in the form of royalties.

Record Label

A record deal is an agreement, usually of exclusivity, between a record label and a musician or group of musicians. The contract will typically be for a set period of time during which the record label will have the exclusive right to distribute the musician's music (i.e. albums).

PRO

A Performing Rights Organization collects and distributes monies generated by a composer's various works. The Performing Rights Organization tracks the use of the numerous uses of a work throughout the year, collects the appropriate royalties, and distributes them to the publisher and composer. 

United States: BMI, ASCAP, SESAC


Live Music Performances

Booking Agent

An agent is responsible for booking and managing a musician's live appearances.

Promoter

The promoter is responsible for booking the venue, paying for and securing advertising for the concert, and overseeing the running of the show.

Venue

A music venue is any location used for a concert or musical performance. Music venues range in size and location, from an outdoor amphitheater, festival, or concert hall, to an indoor sports stadium. 

Crew

The tour manager is in charge of everything involving the tour: ensuring that reservations at hotels are confirmed, that everyone is supposed to be in the right place on time, collecting money at the end of every show, etc. If it is supposed to happen while a band is touring, it is the tour manager’s job to make sure that it happens, and goes as smoothly as possible.


Personal

Manager

The tour manager is in charge of everything involving the tour: ensuring that reservations at hotels are confirmed, that everyone is supposed to be in the right place on time, collecting money at the end of every show, etc. If it is supposed to happen while a band is touring, it is the tour manager’s job to make sure that it happens, and goes as smoothly as possible.

Lawyer

An entertainment lawyer is an attorney that practices primarily in the entertainment industry. The artist's lawyer is familiar with copyright law, contract writing & negotiation, and other areas of US law that are directed at the entertainment industry.

Business Manager

The Business Manager handles all of the money for an artist.


Press & Broadcast

New Media

New Media refers to any new kind of technology used to deliver music, for example, streaming music online. Record companies have departments dedicated to exploring and delivering music through new media.

Broadcast

Broadcasting is the distribution of audio and/or video content to a dispersed audience via any electronic mass communications medium.

Journalist

A journalist is a person who collects, writes, or distributes news or other current information. Most journalists tend to specialize in a specific genre.

Publicist

A publicist is a person/company whose job it is to generate and manage publicity for an artist's album, tour and/or overall career.


Sources: Musician's Business Dictionary & Wikipedia

Katherine Forbes

Nashville, TN