Who’s who in the music business?

Posted on 15 July, 2007. Filed under: Music |

Something I’ve always struggled to understand (or even just remember) is who is who on the back of CDs and records. It always seems a million people are involved in the creation of an album. Someone has the copyright, someone’s got a licence, someone did the distribution, someone else did the mastering, someone was involved in post-production and that other person is their manager. It suprises me how rich some people get from being involved in the creation of an album, especially when the royalties are dispursed among so many people!

Anyway, I did a little reading and thought I might just quickly mention some of the basics here…


The person who writes the tune, words or both of a song.

Record/Music Producer

The person involved with:

  • controlling recording sessions
  • coashing and guiding musicians
  • organising and scheduling the production budget and resources
  • supervises recording, mixing and mastering process

Example: Rick Rubin (Beastie Boys, Linkin Park)
Writer/producer – Trent Reznor, Brian Eno

Audio/Sound/Recording Engineer

This person is involved with:

  • the production and manipulation of sound through mechanical (analog) or digital means
  • recording, editing, manipulating, mixing and mastering.

Example: Phil Ramone (Chicago, Madonna, Ray Charles)

Record Label (also referred to as Record Distributor)

  • a brand or trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings or music videos
  • also coordinates production, manufacture, distribution, promotion and enforcement of copyright
  • conducts A& R
  • maintains contracts with recording artists and their managers

Examples: Polydor, Mushroom, Distinctive Breaks, Botchit & Scarper, Metalheadz

A&R (Artist and Repertoire Manager)

  • responsible for scouting and artist development

Example: Linda Perry (Pink, Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera) 

Music/Talent/Personal Manager

  • guides the career of a music artist
  • oversees day-to-day business affairs of an artist
  • advise and council artist on professional matters and career decisions

Music Publisher

  • primary job is to link new songs by songwriters with suitable recording artists to record them
  • promote songs
  • supervise collection and payment of royalties for sales
  • placing songs in other media, like soundtracks and advertisements
  • sometimes also serve as record producers and managers

Example: Dick James (Beatles, Elton John)

Recording Contract/Deal

  • a legal agreement between a record label and a recording artist to make a record (s) for the label to sell and promote

There are all sorts of other people involved, and some of them vary a little in their tasks in the electronic music industry. I’ll investigate further and let you know what I come up with.


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[…] Who?s who in the music business? Example: Linda Perry (Pink, Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera). Music/Talent/Personal Manager. guides the career of a music artist; oversees day-to-day business affairs of an artist; advise and council artist on professional matters and … […]

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