How Does the Music Industry Work

Every song published, every album released, every concert, and every trending artist is the final product of a hardworking industry, with different people handling different aspects of music. While singers and songwriters are what we see on the surface, there’s a lot of work done by artist managers, music publishers, booking agents, and labels, to name just a few. Here’s how the music industry works.

The music industry comprises various parts working together. While each part is responsible for a specific job, the goal for all is to get a music recording or album as popular as possible. 

Artists that are popular today are backed by good publishers and managers who get the artist’s music to millions of people. You could torrent these artists’ music by searching for the best torrenting sites and downloading the song of your choice.

1. Singers and songwriters

Singers are not always the ones who write their songs. Many singers give their voice to someone else’s writing. Songwriters spend hours perfecting their lyrics, which are then tweaked to it a melody or the tone of the singer. For singers who write their own songs, things are not very different but only differ in terms of one lesser element in the production of music. 

Singers are responsible for contributing to their music’s reach by interacting with fans and holding concerts throughout the year. This would also include music artists who are involved in producing music and not vocals. Artists like FKJ, Marshmello, and Kygo are a few popular names. 

2. Artist Managers and booking agents

Artist managers, as the name suggests, make their living by managing the professional life of different music artists. They are the point of contact between an artist and a third party. The artist manager also takes care of the public image of the artist along with any information that may be related to the artist. The manager, as the point of contact, is the one who reaches out to the booking manager who is responsible for setting up a recording or concert.

The booking agent ensures that the artist and their work get the right amount of exposure. As soon as the artist has something promising, a publisher is contacted, who then takes care of publishing the artist’s music. 

3. Music publishers

The publisher is responsible for getting a composition recorded and then released to as many platforms as possible. A decade ago, things were very different. Publishers would manage sales through DVDs, selling to labels, and play the artist’s music on radio stations to get more people to buy the music. With streaming platforms, however, things have changed dramatically. People can now stream music over a variety of platforms like Amazon Music, Spotify, and YouTube Music. 

Having a music publisher is extremely important today as music is now global. It isn’t sold as a hard copy but is available all over the world. To ensure the artist gains royalties for their music every time someone else uses it, a music publisher has to keep a strong track over each sale. One way through which music publishers make their job easy is by selling the music to a record label on a contract basis. 

4. Record labels

A record label essentially manages the rights over music recordings and music videos. These recordings are trademarked and if anyone wants to play those recordings, they must pay a royalty on them. This way, how an artist’s music is used is accounted for by these record labels. They also manage their own artist scout program and if they find a suitable artist, they sign a contract with them to hold legal rights over the music they produce. 

5. Sync-Publishers

If a song is to be played in an advertisement or synced with any form of content, sync-publishers are the ones that are contacted. Unlike music publishers and record labels, sync-publishers are very selective of that which they choose to represent. A sync-publisher doesn’t sign the artist or their entire album. Rather they only pick specific songs, those that have the most potential to become popular. 

For a sync-publisher to synchronize a song, they must take the license from both the artist and the record label that represents the artist or the artist’s music. Synchronizing songs with video can provide a lot of publicity to the artist. These could be done through advertisements, movies, video games, and broadcast TV. Based on the contract signed by the publisher and the artist manager, the earnings are distributed. 


The music industry is a lot more complex, but it can be broken down into these chunks. As one would expect, a single song release will have the hard work of many, making the music industry extremely gigantic and equally efficient. With more and more ways for people to access music, the industry has to find new ways to ensure the works of various artists get their fair share of time under the spotlight. 

See More: Best Free Music Sites

Abhishek is a startup ninja who has spent his time meeting entrepreneurs and helping them tell their stories efficiently. You can find him biking around in his past time. Based out of New Delhi, he is a geek at heart, gadgets are his toys and internet technology is what keeps him going. Email:
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