Recording Studios, Record Labels and Music Publishers

Many clients and artists that walk through our doors at Cosher recording Studios in Cape Town don’t really fully comprehend the music industry and we don’t blame them, it can get extremely complicated especially in the finer details. However we do feel it is necessary for musicians, managers, artists, singers and songwriters to understand the broad spectrum of the industry and it’s main components. In this post we try to break it down very very simply and talk about recording studios, record labels and publishers.

The Recording Studio

A recording studio most likely won’t sign or manage artists. They are not a record label and many up and coming artists get confused between the two. A recording studio is a place with recording equipment, that facilitates the recording  and producing of music. With the use of microphones, instruments and sound processing gear, the studio facilitates the realisation of the song/s.  Technology and the information age has seen a rise in ‘bedroom studios’ with some having the same quality as a normal studios, however most do not provide recordings of a professional standard.  A professionally treated studio with the latest technology and equipment is essential for studio and album quality recordings. Additionally, one of the most important factors in the recording process are the producers and sound engineers. Producers and sound engineers work at the recording studio as they have the knowledge and skills to synthesise a product that is of industry standard. The recording studio is the place where the magic happens. Artists, managers, producers and sound engineers come together to produce and record a final product which is ready for the public. It is up to the independent artist, record label and publishers to push and promote it to that specific market via PR and marketing.

The Record Label

A record label is a business that  provides funding for the creation and distribution of music. They are the ones that sign and manage artists and invest in them. In exchange, the label is entitled to a cut of the sales. Once the label has the product, it is in their best interest to push the artist and product as much as possible to ensure the best return possible. The relationship between the artist and label is somewhat of a partnership because both parties want to reach the same end goal. 

The Music Publisher

Once the product is registered, the music publishing company ensures that the composer/songwriter receives the payment from the commercial use of the product. Additionally, music publishers push and try place artists music to movies, television, film production companies, advertising agencies and other record labels. So, if the song plays on an advert for television, the music publisher will collect that money and make sure that the artist receives it. 

In these times of blurred lines and rushing for the finish line, it is smart to understand your task at hand. Aspiring artists are often out of the loop when it comes to the roles of these facilities. Arm yourself with the knowledge of knowing where you fit in to the music industry. In the next few blog posts we will talk about each individual section and dig a bit deeper.