Why Understanding the Business Side of the Music Industry is Key to Success as a Musician

The music industry has undergone significant transformations throughout its history; driven by technological advancements, the entry of new players, and a fiercely competitive market. For musicians, understanding the business aspect of the industry has become just as important as honing their artistic skills. With the rise of digital platforms and tools, artists need to adapt to changing ways of creating, distributing, and consuming music. Direct engagement with audiences through social media and live streaming has blurred the lines between creators and fans, emphasizing the need for tech-savviness alongside musical talent.

In addition to technology, the range of key players in the industry has expanded beyond traditional record labels. These days, independent distributors, music publishers, licensing agencies, and various online platforms now wield significant influence in shaping an artist’s career. 

Navigating this intricate web of relationships requires a nuanced approach to collaborations and partnerships. Musicians must not only find those who resonate with their artistic vision but also those who can help them figure out the complex terrain of rights management, music promotion, and revenue generation.

In today’s highly competitive environment, musicians must equip themselves with both creative brilliance and a strategic mindset to thrive in the ever-evolving music landscape.


In This Article:

  • Know the Industry Landscape
  • Be Aware of Your Rights
  • Know Where Your Money Comes From
  • Stay Informed about Industry News and Trends
  • Utilize Technology


Know the Industry Landscape

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Sofie Tollefsbøl, vocalist for the Norwegian band Fieh seen smiling with Adam Lewis; a music promoter and Founder of the Artist Development Firm Planetary Group, at SXSW in 2022

Understanding the ins and outs of the music industry landscape is like getting to know how any business environment operates. Just as in other fields, there are different people and trends at play here, all shaping how things work. Musicians need to take the time to explore this business so they can get a good grasp of how things function.

This involves doing some research to figure out who the big players are. These could be record labels that help artists get noticed, streaming services that deliver music to listeners, and radio stations that help with exposure.

Keeping an eye on what’s currently popular is also crucial–whether that’s certain music styles, ways of making music, or even how it’s marketed. Armed with this knowledge, musicians can make smarter decisions about their own careers and steer themselves in the right direction amidst the ever-changing currents of the industry.

Today’s music industry is all about platforms like Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Are you working to promote your music on social media? If not, we can help with that.


Be Aware of Your Rights

As a musician, knowing your rights is a must. This means understanding what you can do with your music, how you can protect your brand, and how you make money. Getting a handle on copyright rules and contracts is super important to keep your work safe and secure. Plus, it’s key to figure out what kind of earnings you deserve and how to actually get them.

Copyright laws are like a shield for your music. They help you decide who can use your music and how, and they give you the power to let others use it in certain ways. Contracts are incredibly important as well–they’re the agreements that lay out how you work with others, like your publicist, record labels, or managers. These deals also spell out how your music will be used and how the money will be shared.


Know Where Your Money Comes From

In addition to understanding rights and technology, knowing the sources of your income as a musician is vital. Earnings in the music industry can come from various streams, and comprehending these sources is essential for financial stability. This knowledge empowers musicians to make informed decisions about their careers and navigate the complex world of music revenue.

Music income can arrive through a multitude of avenues, each playing a role in an artist’s financial puzzle. These streams encompass not only sales and streaming royalties but also live performances, merchandise sales, licensing deals, and even crowdfunding efforts. It’s crucial for musicians to map out where their earnings are generated, allowing them to strategize on maximizing these sources and diversifying their revenue streams. Moreover, understanding the timing of payments and the mechanisms behind each income source ensures that musicians can manage their finances effectively and plan for the future.

Furthermore, being aware of industry standards and norms for income distribution is also in any artist’s best interest. This knowledge helps musicians gauge whether they’re being compensated fairly and equitably in comparison to their peers. It also empowers them to negotiate contracts from a position of awareness, ensuring that their talent and hard work are appropriately rewarded.

Did you know that radio is still one of the top ways many songwriters are paid? Don’t miss out on new fans and revenue–try radio promotion for musicians today.


Stay Informed about Industry News and Trends

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Keeping up with the latest news and trends in the music industry is a good idea for all musicians. This means staying in the loop about technological shifts, how the market is changing, and what listeners are into. Being in the know helps musicians stay on top of their game and make smarter choices for their music career. 

When it comes to technology, things change fast–from how music is made to how it’s shared. By staying informed, musicians can adapt to these changes, maybe even embracing new tools that can help them create and connect with fans.

Also, understanding what’s happening in the market helps musicians anticipate shifts in how music is consumed and valued. This awareness can guide them in choosing the right strategies to get their music out there and build a loyal fan base. And of course, keeping a finger on the pulse of audience preferences is a game-changer. Knowing what listeners are vibing with helps musicians tailor their sound and style, making their music more relevant and appealing.


Utilize Technology

Embracing technology is a huge opportunity for musicians, as it has completely transformed how the music industry operates. With the rise of technology, musicians now have access to an array of tools that can become immediately important for managing their music and business affairs.

From platforms that help distribute music far and wide to systems that keep track of royalties, the digital landscape offers a variety of tools that can propel musicians toward success. It’s essential for musicians to tap into these resources and make the most of the technological advancements at their disposal.

Music distribution platforms have altered the way music reaches listeners. Musicians can now easily share their creations across the globe, reaching new audiences they might never have been able to before. Moreover, the introduction of royalty tracking systems has resolved a long-standing challenge–ensuring artists get paid fairly for their work. These systems help monitor where and how often music is played, ensuring that musicians receive the compensation they deserve. By embracing such technology, musicians can streamline their operations, enhance their reach, and secure their earnings.

If you’re getting ready for the next chapter of your musical career, give Planetary a call and we can talk about how to get your music heard! (323) 952-5050