In this section, we will introduce you to the basic concepts of live performance and touring. Performances include club dates, college gigs, in-stores, live radio, festivals, shows in all sizes of halls and theaters, or special events, like a corporate party or fund-raiser.  Performances can be one song on a TV show, thirty minutes at a special event, several sets in a club, or complex shows at large venues. In this video, you’ll hear from several artists (Mia Borders and the Givers) and an artist manager (Billy O’Connell) about the elements of touring and live performance including why tour, tour crews, how gigs are booked and paid, staging, lighting and sound, connecting with fans and merchandise, and  marketing and promotion.

This infographic will give you some idea of the crew needed for a large tour.  For emerging artists and artists on every level, live performance is complicated and takes a village, even if the band or artist are its only residents, and have to do all of its functions to make it run efficiently and effectively.  All groups have similar issues and various ways of dealing with them.  The audio track below the graphic will list the positions and their responsibilities.



Until an artist or a band can afford to hire people to do the jobs required of a successful artist, they will have all of those responsibilities themselves.  An artist does not need a manager until there is something to manage.  What the manager will be managing are the businesses of the artist and their relationships with labels, publishers, agents, and others involved in what the artist or band does, including making recordings, writing songs, producing videos, performing, and licensing their intellectual property.  The video below will give you an overview of some of the most important of this and other related positions.  

The infographic below will allow you see the some of the possible members of an artist’s team.  If you would like to hear a description of these positions, click the audio file below. 



Our next area of focus concerns the uses the of a song or composition and the recording, and the revenue streams these uses create.  Songs/compositions and sound recordings are two of the eight categories of creative work protected under federal copyright statutes.  The rights are the same for both.  These rights include the right to copy, the right to distribute (make public), the rights to control the public performance and public display of the work, and the right to make derivatives from it.  The sound recording enjoys a sixth right to control the digital transmission of the work (Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, et al).  

It’s important to note that for a song only the words and melody are protected by copyright statutes.  If more than one person is involved in creating either one of these elements, it is a joint work and everyone is paid according to songwriter contracts and agreed upon royalty splits.  All those involved in a joint work have an ownership interest in the work not in just the lyrics or melody that they may have contributed to.

The sound recording is another one of the eight categories of copyright protection.  (The others are visual works (painting, sculpture, photography, etc.), audio-visual works (films, videos), literary works (books, poetry, blogs), architecture (you can’t copyright a building but you can copyright the plans that built it), dramatic works (plays, musical theatre), pantomime and choreography (because you can write down the steps and moves).  The owner or owners of the sound recording have to pay owners of the songs on the sound recording for the use of the songs.  The rate for the use of a song for audio recording only, is the statutory rate and currently 9.1 cents per use; that is per CD, LP or download manufactured or sold.  This is not true for streaming, which has its own royalty rate set by the federal copyright commission pursuant to federal copyright statutes.  Rates for other uses, like in film or TV, are negotiated and vary greatly depending on the use.

The video below touches on some of these uses followed by an infographic to provide a visual representation of the revenue sources.  The attached audio file explains the uses in more detail.




The Art of the Deal is another important area we would like to touch on in this module.  This usually refers to the negotiations regarding the transfer of copyright rights from the person who created the work (the author) to another person or company who can monetize those rights (the rights of publication).  This transfer can be for a period of time or for the the duration of copyright.  Both sides to this deal should have entertainment lawyers representing them because these transfers can be quite complicated, mostly because there are so many revenue streams and mitigating factors that have to be addressed. 

The rights being transferred are the five (or 6 in the case of a sound recording) exclusive rights under federal copyright statutes that attach to any and every original work.  As mentioned in the section “How Music Makes Money”, these include the right to copy the work (copyright), the right to publish the work (to distribute it, share it, give it away, sell it, market it), the right to control the public performance of the work, which is what ASCAP and BMI – Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) – collect for), the right to control the public display of the work, and the right to make derivatives of the work (a movie from a book, a ring tone from a master recording, a translation of the song).  

The Art of the Deal is the method through which these rights are transferred by the author or creator of the work to others who will monetize those rights and pay the author or creator a percentage of the profits, often described as royalties.  

More often than not, songwriters and recording artists do not want to run the businesses these rights make them.  If you write a song you have the rights of a music publisher.  If you record music you have the rights of a recording company. If artists are curating only their own music, they may not have the resources to exploit their rights so they transfer them to a company or person who can, like your company.  And in that transaction lies the art of the deal.  These negotiations between the copyright owner and the entity or person is acquiring the rights are generally engaged in by entertainment lawyers who represent each side.

Although these can be very complicated transactions, the basic terms of these contracts, these transfers, these deals, are similar for songs, recordings, videos, or other types of IP.  There are specific characteristics for each type of work, and the video below will discuss some of the most obvious points to be covered by these agreements.

The infographic below is oriented more to a recording contract than a publishing deal but often the terms are similar:  term, territory, royalty compensation, ownership, commitments, etc.  Publishing deals involve various types of relationships, including co-publishing and administration, and in respect of songwriters, they may involve minimum delivery requirements or are tied to the release of a song or an album.



The term of art in the music business for a publisher of sound recordings is record company or label.  For songs and compositions, the term of art is music publisher.  These publishing entities share similar functions and derive revenue in similar ways through the interaction of these functions and the monetization of the IP created and shared.  These functions include Marketing, Finance, Legal and Business Affairs, Creative Services, A&R (Talent Acquisition), Production and Manufacturing.  Product Development in the music industries is built around spotting talent, encouraging and nourishing it, and branding it.  The company’s job is to develop innovative ways to use and exploit its IP assets.  

The video below is a basic overview of the general responsibilities of these various areas of the company.

The infographic below will provide a visual representation of the divisions and functions of a typical music company.  The audio file contains a more detailed explanation of each function.

In the video below, Billy O’Connell discusses music marketing from both the company’s and artist’s perspective.



1. (True or False) Booking agents are responsible for their acts starting shows on time.

2. (True or False) Venues are generally responsible for promoting shows, because shows take place within their space and their incentive is to have the largest audience possible. 

3. (True or False) One of the ways for an artist or band to be paid for a performance is a “versus deal." This means that the band will receive a guaranteed fee versus a percentage of gross ticket receipts - whichever is greater.

4. (True or False) The most important person on an artist’s team is their lawyer, because the work she performs for that artist most greatly impacts on that artist's success.

5. (True or False) Managers are generally paid 15% of net revenues from an artist’s public appearances.

6. (True or False) Other than the live performance, music makes money in two forms: the publication and exploitation of the song (or composition) and the recording (of a song). Revenue is derived from the exploitation of the copyrights and intellectual property rights that attach to these works.

7. (True or False) The exclusive rights under copyright statutes that attach to a song or sound recording include the right to copy and the right to distribute.

8. (True or False) The negotiation between the author of an original work and a label or publishing company involves the transfer of the five or six rights that attach to the work through the operation of copyright law.

9. (True or False) Royalties are the monies paid to an artist and songwriter for the use of their work, and are paid by the number of units sold or by the use.

10. (True or False) All of the departments of a typical music publisher or recording company are aimed at two things: the acquisition and retention of customers.



Obviously, all of the areas touched on in this module could have their own modules and there are many other areas that are not included at all but will become available over time.  In this test module we have attempted to provide an example of several methods of creating content related to specific topics for a typical learning management system. 

We propose to accompany the modules with daily one-minute “flash briefings” on the module topics as well as provide summaries of current music business news both in the US and in other countries in which the company plays a major role.