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Music and Sound Recording - What You Need to Do

What Music People Do

On this page:

Making a music CD or DVD

CDs, DVDs, commercial jingles, opera, digital jukeboxes, film soundtracks, symphonic concerts, ballet, the Internet – music is everywhere. But not everyone involved in the music business is in the spotlight. Lots of people work in many fascinating, behind-the-scene jobs. Explore this part of the website to see what kinds of careers you could have in the music and sound recording industry.

When you pick up a CD or DVD in your local music store, do you think about everyone involved in all aspects of the recording business? A CD or DVD brings together many people and a variety of fascinating occupations. Scroll through the image below to see what people in each of these positions do.

Music People

Composes the lyrics and/or music of a song.

Sings on recordings.

Plays on recordings.

Music critic
Comments on performances, compositions and recordings.

Music journalist
Writes about artists for newspaper, magazine, radio, television and online publications.

Music publisher
Promotes and administers a songwriter's material.

Artist manager
Responsible for promotion, public relations, financial management and negotiations on behalf of the artist.

Union representative
Looks after the interests of the musicians.

Entertainment lawyer
Negotiates publishing and recording contracts.

Record producer
Responsible for artistic supervision of the recording process and management of the project budget.

Recording engineer
Mixes the sound during a recording session.

Mastering engineer
Makes a "master" of the finished stereo mixes.

Record label manager
Responsible for promotion and marketing of all artists signed to the label.

A&R (artist and repertoire) representative
Finds talent for a record company.

Artist development representative
Acts as the contact person for the artist at the record label.

Promotion representative
Gets radio airplay for a CD/DVD on behalf of a record company.

Sales / Marketing representative
Maintains product flow, sets pricing and organizes retail promotion and advertising on behalf of a record company.

Foreign record company
Buys licensing rights to specific international markets, usually from independent labels.

Distributes music over the internet.

Digital distributor
Sells digital music to consumers.

Record distributor
Sells CDs/DVDs to retail outlets.

Radio music director
Decides the "playlist" - what songs are played on air.

Disc jockey
Plays CDs on the radio or in live performances.

Video jockey
Interviews artists and plays videos/DVDs on television.

Retail sales clerk
Sells CDs/DVDs to customers.

Going on tour

In order to survive in the music profession, touring is inevitable regardless of whether you're part of a three-piece jazz combo playing small clubs or a hundred-piece orchestra playing the concert halls of Europe. Even established acts with expensive music videos know the importance of getting out in front of their fans. A tour contributes to record sales and an artist’s ultimate success. Meet many of the behind-the-scenes workers you might find on a tour. Scroll through the image below to see what people in each of these positions do.

Touring People

Concert promoter
Initiates and coordinates the development of concerts, including designing and polishing the concert and presentation.

Sings in performances on tour.

Plays in performances on tour.

Booking agent
Arranges for artists to perform at venues.

Tour coordinator/manager
Plans every detail of a performer's tour.

Advance person
Coordinates local venue details at each location on a tour.

Travel agent
Makes travel arrangements for artists, support people and equipment.

Union representative
Addresses local venue issues, immigration and work permits, etc.

Road manager
Handles artists, equipment an personnel.

Production manager
Takes care of all details from catering to security.

Sound technician
Mixes sound on the road.

Oversees the handling of equipment and lights on the road.

Stage manager
Oversees activities onstage and off-stage before and during a performance.

Facility director/venue manager
Supervises the operations of a club, concert hall, arena or theatre.

Travel agent
Makes travel arrangements for artists, support people and equipment.

Resident lighting technician
Handles the lighting requirements of a particular venue.

Moves equipment and props before and during performances.

Sells performer's products such as t-shirts and posters.

Usher / box office clerk
Sell tickets and seats patrons at performances.

Television broadcaster
Oversees program development or purchase, budgeting, marketing and distribution.

Television producer
Develops live concert program ideas, raises financing, and oversees program production.

Tour publicist
Coordinates publicity for the touring artist.

Local promotion representative
Helps with the artist's publicity and promotion on behalf of the record company.

Creating a soundtrack

When music comes to mind, you probably think about CDs and concerts, but music soundtracks are virtually everywhere.

Where Can You Hear a Music Soundtrack?

  • Cartoons
  • Commercials
  • Corporate videos and DVDs
  • Digital media
  • Film
  • Mixed-media productions
  • Radio
  • Theatre soundscapes
  • TV shows
  • li>Video games
  • Websites

Interested in working on a film score? Here are some soundtrack careers specific to film production. Scroll through the image below to see what people in each of these positions do.

Soundtrack People

Composes the lyrics and/or music for movies, TV productions and commercials.

Sings on soundtracks.

Plays on soundtracks.

Creates background and thematic music for the soundtrack.

Prepares and directs an orchestra for performances.

Music producer/editor
Oversees details of the soundtrack production.

Recording engineer/scoring mixer
Assists in the creation of the overall sound of a recording.

Production sound mixer
Records sound as it plays live, and determines the types of microphones to use and their best placement.

Supervising sound editor
Directs and coordinates the postproduction sound staff and handles all related administrative functions such as scheduling mixes.

Re-recording mixer
Combines individual dialogue, music and special effects tracks into their final form.

ADR (automatic dialogue replacement) supervisor
Re-records dialogue that wasn't recorded properly during the shoot.

Foley artist
Creates sounds that cannot be properly recorded.

Sound designer
The conceptual mastermind of a movie's soundtrack, who design and creates the audio component of a film.

Voice-over talent
Narrates the script for a jingle

Transcribes music written for one set of instruments so that it can be played with another set of instruments.

Writes horn or string parts, or arranges vocals.

Ad agency producer
Hires a jingle writer or music house to produce music for the ad.

Talent contractor
Hires other musicians for a particular studio gig.

Film director
Hires a composer to write a film score.

Requires a soundtrack for a particular project.

The indie CD

The independent label is an alternative to the large, non-Canadian commercial record companies – the “majors”. Artists can try to either get on with an indie label or start their own label and sell their CDs or DVDs themselves at performances and on the Internet. People who participate in the development of an indie CD or DVD include:

  • Artist manager
  • Booking agent
  • CD/DVD manufacturer
  • Distributor
  • Graphic designer
  • Independent promotion representative
  • Mastering/Duplication engineer
  • Music producer
  • Music publisher
  • Music studio owner
  • Performer
  • Promoter
  • Publicity agent
  • Record label manager
  • Record label owner
  • Songwriter
  • Tracking representative

Distinctly Québécois

Québec singers, songwriters and musicians can forge a viable career at home in their own province. The reasons are:

  • Québec companies control a substantial part of distribution and retailing.
  • The industry obtains a significant part of its funding from the federal and provincial governments.
  • In Québec, a successful album can sell 50,000 to 75,000 copies.
  • Music and sound recording in Québec form part of a vibrant entertainment industry, which includes CDs and DVDs, festivals, concerts, radio and television.
  • Québec has its own music and video awards show: Gala de l’ADISQ