When people reference the “music industry,” they usually mean the record industry—a vibrant business community formed around those who make a living through the creation, recording, and distribution of songs and albums. No organization is more associated with the industry than the record label—a multidepartmental company that promises to handle the business aspects of music so that artists can focus on their craft. Large record labels, such as those controlled by the so-called “Big Four” conglomerates, typically have marketing, publicity, promotions, legal, and A&R departments.
Other important groups in the industry include recording studios, music publishers, merchandisers, and the artists themselves. The record industry has been dramatically affected by the internet revolution—established labels have seen revenue plummet because of music piracy, leading to the incorporation of new business models such as music streaming. At the same time, new tools for self-publishing and marketing have led to a rise in independent releases and indie labels. One thing is for sure: the field is ripe for innovation.