The music industry is the business of performing, recording, and selling music through a number of different methods. There are many different types of people involved in this industry, from musicians who create and play music to sound engineers who work to properly record music and producers who oversee the entire process. While this term typically refers to recording and selling music through physical or digital means, live performances of music are often a part of it as well. The industry in a particular country or area may be overseen by a number of different record labels and companies.
There are many different professions and individuals involved with properly running and organizing the music industry. Musicians are often on the front line, and the music that is written and created by musicians usually acts as the actual commodity sold by the industry. Sound engineers and recorders are usually involved with the process of recording music, and a producer will typically be involved with the production of an album. There are other professionals who act behind the scenes, such as studio executives who run the business side and road crews who work on live performances.
The products offered by the music industry have changed over the years, beginning in the 20th century with vinyl records, which transitioned into tape cassettes, and then into compact discs (CDs). Toward the end of the century, digital music recordings became more prevalent as a legitimate commodity, often played through portable media devices and computers. Live performances are also an important part of the industry, as this allows new fans to be established for performers and gives existing fans a chance to hear the music they enjoy in a live venue. Radio stations also typically play a major part, and they have traditionally been a platform for showcasing new songs and performers.
In any given country, the industry is typically overseen by a number of recording studios and record labels. These companies put forward the money necessary for music to be recorded and distributed through physical or digital means. Marketing expenses, costs for live performances and tours, and payment of royalties to songwriters and musicians are also typically handled by these studios. The music industry can also refer to the means by which music is distributed, such as stores that sell music media and online websites that sell digital recordings of music.