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Journal of the
Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association
Volume 11, Number 1 (2011)

Music Industry Administration in the Digital Age – A brief description of the evolution of current industry practices and some of the challenges to come: Will our college graduates possess the necessary skills to enter this marketplace?

Melissa Wald
Middle Tennessee State University


    The conversation regarding digital media and the transformation that has occurred in the music industry has been the subject of many articles over the past decade. While it is the hope of the industry that the digital formats and sources will continue to increase and fill the void of the lost physical format sales, it remains a fact that the overall income from the sale of music has contracted. The value of the global recorded music industry has dropped 31% over the years 2004-2010.

    What is not often discussed is the impact that this event, most notably the release of iTunes 1.0 in January of 2001, has had upon the administration departments for both record labels and music publishers.2 While income has decreased, the amount of licensing and resulting data that must be managed has grown exponentially. Employees in these departments are now required to possess basic music licensing and accounting knowledge as well as advanced data management and analysis skills.

    This paper provides an overview of some of the history of, and changes in, industry practices with respect to the royalty administration of copyrights contained on both physical and digital products and the administrative problems associated with the rapid growth of new formats such as streaming, tethered downloads, and subscription services. Each of these new business models represents a radical change in the way music is monetized. Are music business education programs adequately preparing the future entrepreneurs and innovators in this industry?

Click here to download pdf of the full article (17 pgs, 2.1 mb)