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John1034



Joined: 22/12/12
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What's the big picture of the music business?
      #1025528 - 22/12/12 01:15 AM


I'm am doing a study on the overall body structure of the music business from the songwriter/artist's perspective and would appreciate some feedback from any experts, executives, college majors, etc. This is a very rough draft that I've put together in the last few days citing Passman's book and Wikipedia mostly. If you have knowledge of the industry please post any changes I should make and/or any major players I might have missed. I think I got most of them in there. I'm still trying to figure out where the unions fit in (SAG-AFTRA and AFM). I see this is a UK based forum, I'm in the USA though so that's the model I'm seeking.

Basically what I'm trying to do here is plot a person who is both songwriter and artist as the center of the universe. From their angle, I'm graphing the relationship between them and the rest of the players in the industry as the product moves from creator to consumer. Thank you all very much for your help.


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Gone To Lunch
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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1025541 - 22/12/12 09:27 AM
I personally doubt the hierarchical structure chart captures the situation.

The PRS have put out business organisation charts that you may find interesting......


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Bitsumishi



Joined: 26/10/11
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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1025555 - 22/12/12 10:51 AM
PRS Universe of Music


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Exalted Wombat



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1025558 - 22/12/12 11:17 AM
Quote John1034:

Basically what I'm trying to do here is plot a person who is both songwriter and artist as the center of the universe.




Well, put what you like then, because that's pure fantasy :-)

Remember Sammy Cahn's famous quote? "What comes first, the words or the music?" "The phone call!"


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MarkOne



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: Exalted Wombat]
      #1025573 - 22/12/12 12:20 PM
Quote John1034:

Basically what I'm trying to do here is plot a person who is both songwriter and artist as the center of the universe.




To be fair, this is what most Singer/Songwriters believe

--------------------
New album 'Fantasy Bridge' available now!
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John1034



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: Bitsumishi]
      #1025606 - 22/12/12 05:37 PM
Quote Gone To Lunch:

I personally doubt the hierarchical structure chart captures the situation.

The PRS have put out business organisation charts that you may find interesting......



Quote Bitsumishi:

PRS Universe of Music




Thanks guys that's just what I was looking for. Well almost, now I just have to figure out where the UK and USA differ...

As for Sammy's quote, if you know science the center of the universe is wherever you are... and I am a singer/songwriter. But for the sake of taking a rip on Sammy, doesn't the phone call come because of the words and music? Afterall it's called the music business, not the record label business. Ohhhhh... LET'S GO!


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oggyb



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1025643 - 23/12/12 02:30 AM
It could just as easily be called "the digital media racket"...

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shufflebeat



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1025654 - 23/12/12 10:21 AM
It's a difficult time to take a reliable snapshot of the business as a whole and even in more stable times no graph or mind map could really capture the nebulous nature of personal contacts and short term relationships that make up the whole.

What will work for your college (?) project may not necessarily need to be an accurate reflection of reality. Just as well because that could drive you nuts.

Do what will get you the mark.

--------------------
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We called but you were out - B Dylan Deliveries (Intntl)


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John1034



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026016 - 27/12/12 08:10 PM
After further research I've made some modifications. I've included trade unions and trade associations and made some other corrections. I'm not sure the hierarchical style tree chart can accurately capture the business but that's the one I'm using because I just want a very simple view, the simplest. Anyone's two cents would be appreciated.



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Exalted Wombat



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026022 - 27/12/12 09:08 PM
Well, it lists many of the people who may be involved in getting a song from the writer/performer to the consumer. But as a flow-chart I'm afraid it sucks! Sorry. But, to take just one example, the music gets to the studio, meets a producer and musicians, then - just STOPS ?


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John1034



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: Exalted Wombat]
      #1026025 - 27/12/12 09:51 PM
Quote Exalted Wombat:

Well, it lists many of the people who may be involved in getting a song from the writer/performer to the consumer. But as a flow-chart I'm afraid it sucks! Sorry. But, to take just one example, the music gets to the studio, meets a producer and musicians, then - just STOPS ?




This is not a flow chart, it is a tree chart. The product can flow through the lines in either direction.


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Exalted Wombat



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026035 - 28/12/12 12:29 AM
Well, OK. But I still can't see the chart adds any useful information other than "all these people might be involved".


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zenguitarModerator
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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026041 - 28/12/12 12:46 AM
The underlying flaw is that you put the songwriter/artist at the top of the tree. Fine for an ideal world, but in the real world you are somewhere near the bottom. If you can bring other benefits to the table (funding/contacts) you can start to leapfrog your way up, but otherwise resources trump talent. It's wrong, I know, but business is business.

Andy

--------------------
When the going gets weird, the Weird turn Pro.


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DC-Choppah



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: zenguitar]
      #1026045 - 28/12/12 01:55 AM
It might be helpful to try and draw a chart that 'follows the money'. That might be more helpful.

I have been a songwriter a number of times on projects. People know I can write song, so they hire me to write a song and I get a few bucks.

Or, a performer. Someone heard me play piano, so they hired me for a bunch of gigs.

Or an engineer/producer. They found out I have a studio, so they ask tor record and produce a project.

But the key is to know who pays for music creation (not the consumers), and follow the money. It would be helpful to be aware of all the different music creation customers: big studios, local TV stations, website owners, local bands, local companies, churches, ad agencies, local singers, bands who have heard of your reputation, schools, clubs, companies with their own advertising studios, etc.

You could put the person at the center as the person who initiates the project and puts up the money. That could be an lots of different people. But the services they use might be similar.

All the things you have listed are actually services to the customer. You have not listed the customers I think.


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hollowsun



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026046 - 28/12/12 01:58 AM
And you've not included all those in retail in the music biz, software and hardware developers, major league manufacturers and smaller independent developers, etc..

And "PRO's" what? Watch your apostrophes!

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John1034



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026052 - 28/12/12 03:43 AM
OK I think I've gotten everyone confused. Let me break it down. The study is centered around the songwriter/artist, that is why he is at the top. This is not a chart attempting to represent the clout or power of the music industry players. It is being designed for a songwriter/artist who is brand new to the business, to brief him an overview of the relationship between himself and all other major players in the business (only as it directly relates to him.) So hardware/software developers, etc., would not need to be included seeing as the songwriter/artist's lawyer does not draw up contracts between the two, neither does his business manager track the passing of finances between the two. The study does not follow the money trail from creator to consumer, it is not attempting to represent the hierarchy of music business players, but is centered around the RELATIONSHIP between the songwriter/artist and the rest of his tiny music world, as directly pertains to him.

Quote hollowsun:

And "PRO's" what? Watch your apostrophes!



Thanks. lol


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DC-Choppah



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026055 - 28/12/12 03:57 AM
In that case, you could just draw a box that says 'Customer' and connect it to the song-writer through perhaps an agent/manager/lawyer. That customer is the one you will be having contracts with. But that could be anybody.

Last song I wrote was for a novelist to use on her website and possible movie.


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The Red Bladder



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026073 - 28/12/12 11:13 AM
Before the OP puts any more effort into creating something that cannot be created, let me tell you that the any attempt to create an org-chart of the music business as it is today (as opposed to the 'dream' music business that used to exist in a few people's imaginations back in the 60s and 70s) is a complete and utter waste of time.

All modern businesses are to a greater or lesser extent INFORMAL. All those people you have in your org-chart as subordinate to the artist (manager, road manager agent etc.) are always outside of any hierarchy. What you are trying to do, is impose the type of hierarchy once found in a Victorian cotton mill. This kind of structure hardly exists today, except in the imagination of some of the less talented university and business school lecturers who have not worked in the real world. Even manufacturing companies have most managerial positions as staff positions that do not have a senior and a junior. Accounts is not 'junior' or subordinate to production, any more than QC is senior or junior to marketing.

In old-fashioned manufacturing, we still have some residual hierarchies, (e.g. production manager -> foreman -> charge hand -> labourer) but in the loose and informal world of music, a visiting engineer can be working for the studio, or the studio can be working for the engineer. The producer may have employed the artist for one week and the artist may employ the producer the next week.

In the music biz, we all just rub along together in a more or less lateral structure.

A real org-chart of the music business would be to put those people in a big circle and then just draw a line from everybody to everybody else that they could possibly have to deal with.


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John1034



Joined: 22/12/12
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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026116 - 28/12/12 05:54 PM
Am I speaking English LOL? This chart is not graphing the hierarchy of the music industry. It is graphing the "hierarchy" of the songwriter/artist's relationship to the music industry. Those who he has the strongest relationship with are at the top.

The lawyer drafts contracts between him and all the others, the manager oversees and advises him on all the others, the business manager tracks the finances between him and all the others. They are up top because he has the strongest and most direct relationship with them. He sees them more than most.

Below is the producer (yes he has a relationship with the producer but mostly only when it comes time to record), the merchandiser (mostly only when it comes time to sell merchandise), the agent (mostly only when it comes time to tour), the publisher (mostly only when it comes time to collect publishing monies), the label (most of the time but mostly through his manager, lawyer, and business manager. There is little direct contact other than A&R as far as I can see.) Correct me if I'm wrong. This is where I want help.


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The Red Bladder



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026221 - 29/12/12 12:34 PM
Quote John1034:

Am I speaking English LOL? This chart is not graphing the hierarchy of the music industry. It is graphing the "hierarchy" of the songwriter/artist's relationship to the music industry.




You are still trying to create a hierarchy. If you have an org-chart, you have a hierarchy. It may not be a conventional hierarchy, like my production manager to labourer above, but it still is a hierarchy, albeit one of relationships.

Assuming that we are talking about a successful artist, the most important person in his life will be his agent. The agent is often also the manager. Many successful artists employ management on a fixed wage or manage themselves (or get the wife/husband to do it).

Lawyers come and lawyers go. Some people always go to a different lawyer, some go to specific lawyers for different tasks. Any successful artist will have to have a different lawyer for each and every jurisdiction - obviously! Your US lawyer is not going to be the same guy as in France or Germany.

If the artist is clever, he will be his own business manager, but employ a bookkeeper and accountant. Indeed, an accountant for the promoter is required at each and every big gig, to hand over the cashier's cheque for the remaining 50% of the gig money. There will also be someone there from the contingency insurance.

Like all people who are outside the music business, you have left the finance company out. When you are putting a tour together, your relationship with the tour manager and the finance company has to be very, very close indeed. It is the finance company that steers the whole thing into profit and deals with the promoters, raking in those all-important deposits that confirm bookings and give the tour legs.

The finance company also has to work closely with the designers and will be sitting down with them, together with the tour manager and the artist, to keep a handle on costs and cash flow (Cash Floe, gadd, how I loved that woman!) They all will be working closely with the various staging companies (lights, hydraulics, sound, pyro, rigging, trucking, etc., etc.) If the artist is working with one of the big international tour promoters, a rep from these boys will attend meetings as well.

As the man said above, follow the money! The money is in touring and licensing, so the money men behind these two activities are more important than all that guff about lawyers and labels, studios and producers that outsiders think of.

The music business is almost exactly like the circus business. I have known both worlds. In both worlds, it's all about money, trucks, food, bookings, agents, money, TV licensing, money, mud, lights, staging, money, merchandising, money, breakdowns (people and equipment) and more mud.

And like the circus, it is always informal. If you are a flyer in the circus, the riggers are the most important people in your life - but you still want to get paid and you still need to get booked next season.


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John1034



Joined: 22/12/12
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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026264 - 29/12/12 06:27 PM
Quote:

Assuming that we are talking about a successful artist, the most important person in his life will be his agent. The agent is often also the manager.



This must be a UK thing, assuming that's where you're from. Passman says quite the contrary.

Quote:

Like all people who are outside the music business, you have left the finance company out.



I wasn't aware of these guys. Who are they employed by? Do you know where I could find more info on them?



As for lights, sound, staging, etc., thanks for reminding me. I do need to include these. Correct me if I'm wrong, on major tours these are usually employed by the venues and charged to the artist right? As far as relationship goes, they're more in contact with the tour manager, not the promoter? What about trucking?


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narcoman
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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026267 - 29/12/12 06:34 PM
Agents and managers are rarely the same person/team in the UK.


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Scramble
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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: narcoman]
      #1026292 - 29/12/12 09:15 PM
>It is being designed for a songwriter/artist who is brand new to the business

If he or she is *new* to the business then most of your chart doesn't apply, does it? There's no lawyer, no business manager, no concert promoter, no merchandiser, just a few local gigs, maybe some recording sessions at a local studio.

Even ignoring that, your chart is pointless. How does it help you as a singer/songwriter? Or is it for a high school project?


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John1034



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026315 - 30/12/12 12:16 AM
Look, this chart is happening. Just make you're peace with it.

Let me defend my thread for the fifth time, and then hopefully people will actually start to contribute some useful information. (Not dissing those who already have: Shout-out… Gone To Lunch, Bitsumishi, DC-Choppah, The Red Bladder, and last but not least… well actually yeah, least… hollowsun! The rest of you can suck it.)


Quote:

If he or she is *new* to the business then most of your chart doesn't apply, does it? There's no lawyer, no business manager, no concert promoter, no merchandiser, just a few local gigs, maybe some recording sessions at a local studio.




It is being designed to brief a new songwriter/artist on what their team might look like if they achieve great success. Suuure every team is different, not the same. I guess I’m just going to have to make a typical, AVERAGE, model then. Whew!



Quote:

Even ignoring that, your chart is pointless. How does it help you as a singer/songwriter? Or is it for a high school project?




It helps a new singer/songwriter by saving them from going onto a forum and being brainwashed into thinking that the biz is way more complicated than it actually is. Or that you need a PHD or 20 years of gigging experience to understand basic principles.


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Exalted Wombat



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026318 - 30/12/12 01:09 AM
Quote John1034:

As for lights, sound, staging, etc., thanks for reminding me. I do need to include these. Correct me if I'm wrong, on major tours these are usually employed by the venues and charged to the artist right? As far as relationship goes, they're more in contact with the tour manager, not the promoter? What about trucking?




No, they're a large part of what goes in the trucks. And though you'll probably pick up a certain amount of local labour, you'll tour the vital members of the crew who set up and operate them.

I know this isn't what you want to hear, and you've married yourself to including this chart. But it isn't really much use. All you can really do is give a list of all the possible contributors and say "Many of these may need to be employed - and your music has to produce the revenue that pays them. Frightening, isn't it!"


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hollowsun



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026329 - 30/12/12 05:15 AM
Quote John1034:

Look, this chart is happening.



It's also wrong and naive

Quote John1034:

Let me defend my thread for the fifth time, and then hopefully people will actually start to contribute some useful information.



John - you're eight posts in here and you have already chosen to ignore the advice of people here who have been working in this industry for 30 years or more, witnessed and rolled with the changes, adapted to new technology and business strategies, won a few, lost a few, etc.. I think that falls under the category of 'biting the hand that feeds you' or some such ... or maybe you CAN teach your grandmother to suck eggs!

Some of the contributors who have taken the time to proffer advice to you here are producing new talent, another has one of the few remaining commercial studios surviving and flourishing in this country, others make a respectable living from gigging, songwriting, soundtrack work, etc., while some have been to the school of hard knocks, it didn't quite work out as planned and now enjoy music making as a pleasant and distracting hobby while 'the day job' pays their bills.

But if you want to live under the delusion that a career in this business can be mapped out on a simple Powerpoint chart, then so be it. But what you have presented here is what I might expect a 10-year-old to put together for a classroom project. And sadly, having done some career advice for local schools, it is the kind of arrant nonsense put around by teaching professionals and has all the deluded naivety of the Monty Python 'How to do it' skit. Whatever their background/experience, they have solid advice to offer which you seem to be choosing to ignore in favour of some easily digestible (and naive) chart you have devised.

Quote John1034:

It helps a new singer/songwriter by saving them from going onto a forum and being brainwashed into thinking that the biz is way more complicated than it actually is.



You seem incapable of knowing the difference between 'brainwashing' and 'having a good injection of reality'. I've known people who have struggled for years to be heard (and given up) and others who happened to be in the right lift at the right time and slipping the right person a cassette (only to be discarded when it didn't pan out).

And I know singer/signwriters who are unknown but earn a f'k'n fortune from publishing. Diane Warren is one such songwriter - you may never have heard of her (most people haven't) but she's penned countless £million selling hits. And a drummer friend of mine does similarly writing soundtracks. An ex-guitarist chum of mine similarly. Another friend abandoned aspirations for stardom a good while back and is now now turning down eye wateringly well paid work as a programmer making the gear that people use in this biz because he is just so damned good and so overwhelmed with work (which is a bugger because I want him to do stuff for me but he's too busy). Another friend packed it in and is in music biz retail, MD of an international company with a very decent salary, company car, expense account, foreign travel, pension scheme and health care and so on. He was once a music aspirant, took a job as a photocopier salesman to pay the bills and now runs a UK EMI company (as in electronic musical instrument ... rather that the ailing record company). He plays in several bands for the fun and the hell of it.

Quote John1034:

Or that you need a PHD



No-one here has suggested that a qualification is a pre-requisite. On the contrary. There are very few - if any - accredited quals for this and many seasoned pros here are very suspicious and cynical of those places who offer quals in this business as a panacea to achieve success because, frankly, such quals are total and meaningless bollocks.

Quote John1034:

...20 years of gigging experience



Nowt wrong with playing your arse off, refining your technique, learning to play an audience (Christ - some would benefit from learning to play an instrument!), building a fan base, getting to know people (ideally, getting to know people in the know), etc.. Having a few demo tracks, a website and a YouTube/Facebook presence is unlikely to garner a career. It can work for some but Jeeeeez, you have to work it.

And work and graft is the thing, the key point ... like any business. And this IS the music 'business'.

But long gone are the days when you wrote a nice tune in your garret and others then made it a success leaving you in the lap of luxury for the rest of your life. In fact, those days never really existed and there's truth in the old adage that it can take several years to become an overnight success!

I don't know the purpose of your chart TBH but IMO, it is simplistic and naive and if it's being handed out to aspiring individuals wanting to enter this business with a chance of success, it is misleading.

If it's a high school project, it may well get you the marks ... but that doesn't mean it's an accurate representation of this business. But then, whenever has anything been taught at school recently that's actually been useful in real life (but that's possibly the subject of another unrelated thread in Musician's Lounge here!).

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John1034



Joined: 22/12/12
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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026330 - 30/12/12 06:43 AM
Woah. uhhh..


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IAA



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026334 - 30/12/12 08:58 AM
Hollow Sun right on the money.
Can't quite see what OP is doing this for..... but someone sure will benefit....


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Scramble
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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: IAA]
      #1026348 - 30/12/12 11:08 AM
If this is Colin again then you have produced a work of art.


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The Red Bladder



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: Scramble]
      #1026355 - 30/12/12 12:59 PM
Quote Scramble:

If this is Colin again then you have produced a work of art.




As I know who is behind ColinS, I know that he wouldn't do that, as he has a profound social conscience and would hardly want to spread disinformation.

As for the agent/manager thing, point taken. At some levels, they can be the same in some areas of Planet Earth, but usually in the UK and US they are well-and-truly separate.

As for the OP, your org chart is totally misleading because all your relationships will be different, according to how far up the ladder you are and who you are. It is all completely informal.

If you are a small act, your most important person is your agent. In fact, with the almost total demise of the established structures, that will be the only real relationship you will want or need. As the act grows, you bring on board other people.

If you tell us what this is supposed to be for, I might be inclined to tell you more. But as it stands, it is totally misleading and could cause some beginners real damage.


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John1034



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Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026383 - 30/12/12 05:20 PM
Quote:

As for the OP, your org chart is totally misleading because all your relationships will be different, according to how far up the ladder you are and who you are. It is all completely informal.

If you are a small act, your most important person is your agent. In fact, with the almost total demise of the established structures, that will be the only real relationship you will want or need. As the act grows, you bring on board other people.




As I said above it's modeled after someone of great success (at the "top of the ladder").



Quote:

If you tell us what this is supposed to be for, I might be inclined to tell you more. But as it stands, it is totally misleading and could cause some beginners real damage.




It is for a small child who dreams of being in the business. I think it's time to go to another forum...


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narcoman
active member


Joined: 14/08/01
Posts: 8501
Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026395 - 30/12/12 06:25 PM
Quote John1034:


It is for a small child who dreams of being in the business. I think it's time to go to another forum...




never encourage kids to get into this business. Never.

Let them pursue music, of course, but don't excite dreams of "making it".


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shufflebeat



Joined: 09/12/07
Posts: 3189
Loc: Manchester, UK
Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026397 - 30/12/12 06:49 PM
Quote John1034:

I think it's time to go to another forum...




Can I suggest:

http://xfactor.itv.com/

--------------------
Dear Mr God,
We called but you were out - B Dylan Deliveries (Intntl)


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GlynB



Joined: 26/09/03
Posts: 4014
Loc: Lancashire, UK.
Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026445 - 31/12/12 12:36 PM
It should be inverted, with the artist at the bottom... crushed under the weight of 'the business'.



--------------------



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John1034



Joined: 22/12/12
Posts: 11
Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: GlynB]
      #1026494 - 31/12/12 06:57 PM
Quote GlynB:

It should be inverted, with the artist at the bottom... crushed under the weight of 'the business'.






Hehe you might be joking, but I'm actually going to do that...


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DC-Choppah



Joined: 20/07/12
Posts: 327
Loc: MD, USA
Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026525 - 31/12/12 11:22 PM
There is nothing unique about the music business really though. Whenever you are talking business, then it is just about the mechanics of how the money moves around. This has little relationship to art.

A local music business here makes millions a year. They set up stages for big events all over the area. They run sound too, and hire acts. But the expensive part is all the labor and trucks it takes to set up big stages, tents and cover the insurance and keep people employed. They can get the artists for free almost. That's not the expensive part, so that's not the 'business' part so much.

The art of medicine has little to do with the health industry.

The art of carpentry has little to do with the building industry.


But go ahead and ask a stage hand to write and perform a touching song for a funeral that lovingly captures a lifetime?

Go ahead and ask an insurance company executive to fix someone's aorta using a new technique invented by a brilliant surgeon?

Hire a financial analyst to build you a custom crib for your daughter?


Just look at music as an art and you won't get crushed or confused. If you happen to make it big, that's great. But that can't be the reason to do it.


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petev3.1



Joined: 11/05/10
Posts: 376
Re: What's the big picture of the music business? new [Re: John1034]
      #1026957 - 04/01/13 12:11 PM
Not sure why all the flack, John, but maybe you should present it as a mind-map rather than a hierarchical chart. That would defuse most of the criticism.


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