Record label CEOs manage their companies with a mix of business skills and skills particular to the music industry. The CEO determines the general direction of the marketing, the music distribution and other matters. The CEO must also master basics like improving financial performance and communicating with board members.
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Many of the most successful CEOs have unconventional backgrounds. Some were founders/artists of their labels, like rapper Master P and his No Limit Records. The typical candidate has had mid-level administrative jobs within the music or entertainment industries. Many CEOs come from a traditional business school background as well. Regardless of background, CEOs must have strong skills in business management and financial analysis.
Big and Small Labels
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The CEO's scope of management changes depending on the size of the organisation. A young label with a handful of artists has less paperwork to handle and tends to be independent; usually there's only one or two music genres on the whole label. A big corporation has many divisions and different music genres, and marketing and touring are major operations. In this situation, the CEO delegates duties more often to a large middle management staff.
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CEOs must understand the different kinds of music distribution methods. You must determine the best method based on its profitability and its ability to get the most exposure for the label. Good negotiation skills and a thorough analysis can make the difference between a good or bad distribution deal.
CEOs recruit and hire management staff members. These employees must not only be good at their specific jobs, but be able to effectively communicate with the CEO. Some of these key staff members include the heads of the legal, marketing and distribution divisions.
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CEOs are dealing with an industry experiencing rapid changes in digital music distribution and illegal copying issues. This affects many other things such as artists' contracts. You must understand complex legal issues, tolerate long hours and handle changes well. You should also keep up with industry news and be aware of new music technology.
- New York Times: How a Gangsta Rapper Turns Entrepreneur
- This Business of Music by M. William Krasilovsky, Sidney Shemel, 2007
- 100 Careers in the Music Business by Tanja Crouch, 2008)