So, throughout my work as a music industry marketer and educator, I’ve found that there’s often a lot of confusion surrounding the various terms for different roles in the music business. It’s really tricky to find concrete info for this. Now some of this might seem basic and obvious, and I’m certainly not touching on every role in the music industry – just some of the key ones that a DIY unsigned band should know about.
If you want to get a show in a new town, you need to be out there looking for promoters.
PR is probably the most important term on this list for a band to know if they’re trying to get at least a few eyeballs on them. A PR person is someone who can get you reviews and interviews.
A booking agent is someone who can go out and book shows for you. He is NOT the local promoter or the guy booking shows at a specific venue. Instead, he goes out and books tours for a percentage of the guarantees — aka, the door money — that you bring in.
The tour manager is the guy who goes out on the road with the band and makes sure everything runs smoothly. They’re the ones getting advance details with the promoters, overseeing and helping with load in and mucking in with all that good stuff.
Guide artists through the album release process collecting their assets like music, art and layouts.
Label heads. They’re the guys with the vision. Often, they’re also the guys with the business mindset.
The label manager is the guy who puts everything together. He oversees the various staff and makes sure all the books are balanced. This is probably one of the most ‘bean counter-esque’ positions in the music industry.
If you’re looking for a jack-of-all-trades person to help you with every aspect of your band, you’re looking for a manager.