A music record label generally has a standard for how it operates, especially in regard to finding new artists. Some of the basic terms around running a music record label relate to both artists looking for representation and record labels looking for new artists to work with. These basic terms also show how the music industry has changed over time. Knowing about some of these basic elements for establishing a relationship with music record labels will help a business be more informed about the industry in general.
The demo is the key in most music record label contracts: The company assesses a new artist mainly on the strength of this "sample" recording. These days, a good demo is often worth its weight in gold.
The "head shot" is a black-and-white or color picture, generally an 8-by-10 inch size, that a music record label will also use in assessing new artists. Musicians and bands want to have these included in a press package along with the demo.
A music agent generally represents artists and musicians and helps them get established, including setting up relationships with music record labels.
An A&R (or artists and repertoire) representative is really a talent scout. Today A&R people go to live shows. They also scour MySpace and other music-related social networking sites and they review demos. The A&R person is a key player in getting an artist together with a record label.
One rule of the music industry is that the format is constantly changing. What is the format? It's simply the medium for the music. The format used to be vinyl (records). Vinyl still exists as a viable format, along with tapes, CDs and other forms of recorded music. New formats of the future include .wav files, MP3s and more digital music items.
Another way that record labels do business is by interacting with the "Big Three" music licensing companies: ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. All three of these companies collect blanket royalties for huge repertories of artists, and work on the behalf of songwriters and composers.