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Record labels have staffs of varying sizes, depending on the type; labels may be major, mini major or independent. While degrees are not always required in the record industry, there are several higher education majors geared toward those interested in a record label job, such as Music Business and Management, Music Law, Music Industry Marketing and Music Industry Entrepreneurship.
A record label's executive positions include president, vice president and director. Executives are in charge of different departments and are usually employees, though the label's president may also be the company's chief executive officer (CEO) or the owner of the label. These high-level positions involve supervision of all aspects of the department and responsibilities that range from overseeing all album artwork to creating legal contracts.
Artist and Repertoire
Artist and repertoire (A&R) is the department that discovers and signs new talent and prepares budgets for signed artists. A&R coordinators search for artists by attending music festivals, watching unsigned bands perform in clubs, reviewing demos and following the buzz in the music world. Once artists are signed, A&R helps them find producers, a recording studio and session musicians and helps with song selection. The business end of the signed artists' relationship with the label is also handled by the A&R department in conjunction with the label's legal and financial departments.
The public relations (PR) department handles publicity and promotions. Record labels have publicists, sometimes in addition to the artists' own publicists, who promote the artists and arrange media coverage such as interviews and television appearances. Label publicists send out promotional copies of CDs in advance of the release to magazines, newspapers, web sites, TV shows and radio stations and follow up by phone, encouraging them to publish reviews, interview the artists and/or play the album's single. Many record labels also have a separate New Media department that promotes and produces music videos by the label's artists and markets them on the Internet.
The marketing department is responsible for the signed artists' marketing plans; each artist is concentrated in certain music markets, such as rock, country, hip-hop, pop or a combination. Marketing representatives also track the sales of the label's products and report the numbers for the sales charts.
The art department is in charge of working with artists and A&R to design album covers, insert art, posters, advertising and any other design work needed in the marketing and promotion of the products.
Most record labels employ lawyers to draw up contracts and deal with any legal issues that arise, such as copyright infringement.
Sales and Advertising
The advertising department creates advertising campaigns for retailers, print, radio and television. The sales department works directly with large retailers in conjunction with the PR department and the distribution company.
Delaware-based Daisy Cuinn has been writing professionally since 1997, when she became the features editor for her local biweekly music newspaper. She has been a staff writer and contributor to online and offline magazines, including "What It Is!," Celebrations.com and Slashfood. Cuinn holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Temple University.