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Journal of the Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association

Volume 5, Number 1 (2005)

Artists and Their Managers Take Control: The Evolving Role of the Artist in Today’s Music Industry

Ava Lawrence

Northeastern University


The relationship between artists and record companies has historically been somewhat one-sided; in that record companies have governed the album recording, manufacturing, distribution, and marketing process. This is because record companies traditionally shouldered the financial burden of building their artists’ careers. To offset this risk, record companies structured artist agreements to their advantage, recouping their investment before remunerating any artist royalties and requiring ownership of any resultant sound recordings. Today’s music industry, however, has created a significant paradigm shift away from the record company model, with managers becoming the centerpiece of their artist’s careers. Many modern artists and their managers have either funded the recording and production process themselves, or sought alternative sources of funding, helping ensure that the sound recording copyrights previously sacrificed by artists stay with them. Coupled with retention of music publishing rights, this opens the door for the artist manager to pursue new and creative licensing opportunities, including film, television, video games, merchandising, and commercial advertising. By keeping asset ownership out of record company hands, artists and their managers stand to enjoy a greater and swifter financial return should their music be commercially successful.

Keywords: artist management, recording industry, music business, music industry, music licensing, recoupment

Lawrence, Ava. “Artists and Their Managers Take Control: The Evolving Role of the Artist in Today’s Music Industry." Journal of the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association 5, no. 1 (2005): 91-101. https://doi.org/10.25101/5.6

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