I have created a series of videos as part of a module on the live music busines that I teach at University of West London. The module is an introduction to the live music business, and this session will set the scene for study in the other sessions. There is an excerpt from the transcript below the video.
“The live music business is part of the wider music business, and there are two other parts – music publishing and the recorded music business. Traditionally each part was separate in its business dealings, and that situation has changed.
Live music has a lot more to do with recorded music these days, and so it’s worth briefly examining the structure of that business.
Recorded music is run by record companies, who are divided into majors and indie labels. The majors are the huge, multi-national record companies that have ‘labels’ within them. There are now only three major record companies, down from six 15 years ago. The indie record companies are so-called primarily because a major label does not distribute the music they release. The majors have their distribution, especially for their physical formats, but indies will use third-party, specialised distribution companies. Indies are also called by this name as they are a smaller, alternative version of the majors, often with an independent spirit.
The whole music business has changed in the last 17 years, and I shall refer to that change as either being in the ‘old days’, or not. For the sake of clarity, the ‘old days’ is anytime before 1999. That’s was the year that Napster, an original peer-to-peer file sharing service became popular. There is some debate about its long-term effect on the music business, but the year of its arrival serves as a useful milestone.
We are talking about the live music business in the modern day, and you should know that it is in very good health. The trade magazine Pollstar releases figures each year, and the screen shows the latest grosses and number of tickets sold.”