Interested in the Music Industry? Here Are Six Things You Need to Know

From the outside-looking-in, the music industry seems overwhelming with tours, contracts, artists recording in studios, glamor, glitz, and bright lights. This may seem appealing, but there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of the music industry and a lot of people involved.

Ascend Agency is working with Digital Music News to create opportunities within the music industry.

The music industry is an umbrella term for individuals and organizations creating musical compositions, writing, and selling their music. There’s so much information and detail that goes into the business side of the industry, it can become overwhelming. We have done the research for you and are willing to share six things you need to know about the music industry below.

Music Distribution

Music distribution is the process of making your music available on digital storefronts and/or physical storefronts. The means of music distribution has shifted dramatically over the last couple of decades with the rise of digital streaming services such as CD Baby, Distrokid, and Tunecore. You take your music, pay a fee, and they will upload it to popular streaming services such as Apple Music, Spotify, and Tidal. The majority of these music distribution services allow you to maintain 100% ownership of your music and you receive a large cut of your royalties depending on the number of streams. Every digital distribution service is slightly different so make sure you do your research before committing to one over another.

Promote Promote Promote

According to Digital Music News, 91% of all music artists are completely undiscovered, meaning the vast majority of artists online are hardly gaining any traction or notoriety whatsoever. To avoid becoming lumped into this statistic, it’s highly important that you promote your music far and wide. Many artists achieve this through pushing content such as song snippets, giveaways, merchandising, music videos, video blogs, and more all in an attempt to be heard. Find ways to engage with fans on social media platforms such as TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram. Visibility is a crucial part of the music industry, so think outside of the box and don’t be afraid to promote yourself.

Know Your Rights

A lot of music artists simply wish to create art and make music, but knowing your rights is an essential part of the music industry. Be careful signing contracts of any kind and try to hire a music lawyer, so you don’t get caught up in a bad deal. When purchasing an instrumental, it’s important to know how much of the publishing and royalties the producer will receive when your music comes out. Look into music performance rights organizations such as Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) and the American Society of Composer, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), who pay you performing rights royalties anytime your music is played on TV, radio, or someplace else.

Record Labels vs. Independence

The music industry has changed dramatically over the past three decades, where artists now have the power to be successful independently or go the traditional route and sign to a record label. There are several pros and cons for both of these options, and neither is a guarantee for success. Record labels have the ability to give you a big budget, pay for your studio time, put you on tour, shoot music videos, and more. However, you might not own your masters, or the record label could be taking a large cut of your royalties. Independent artists tend to have more creative control, more of a say so in final decisions regarding music decisions, and maintain a large cut of their royalties, while maintaining a sense of freedom.

Create A Team

It’s important to create a solid team so you can be successful in the music industry. Every big artist has a team around them composed of music managers, lawyers, publicists, marketers, videographers, creative directors, social media managers, and more. It’s up to you to decide what team fits your brand, aesthetic, aligns with your values, and could realistically meet your goals. Trying to do everything on your own in the music industry is too much pressure and way too unrealistic to carry out in this day and age. Assemble a dedicated team and you’ll be on your way to success.


The music industry is full of ups and downs, and it can be confusing how to navigate the evolving terrain. Music distribution has largely gone digital, giving several artists the ability to release music without the need for a record label. The business side of the music industry is tricky, and many great artists have become trapped in bad contracts. It’s important that you know your rights, get a business lawyer, and educate yourself on the terminology. Another major aspect to consider is signing with a record label or staying independent. Both come with pros and cons, so it’s important you know which one is the right fit for you in the long run. Also, any music artist looking to succeed, needs to create a team of reliable people, so the music has the greatest impact when released. Read these six things above and you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to potentially flourish in the music industry.