The Music Industry
and guests at home...
Question: Are you a workaholic?
First of all, I would like to thank everyone of you to have been reading this newsletter for what is a little more than four months. I have narrated different stories of what is happening in my life and some experiences ranging from my trips to growth to even some tips on remote work.
With all your love and appreciation for Know Me? No! Me! I have grown to be more in tune with myself and pick out moments in my life to talk about. I hope that you have enjoyed having this perspective on how I work and learned something.
Now, as some of you might have seen on my Instagram stories, I asked you to give me the names of industries that you would like to know more about or discover through a business-minded perspective. I have received quite a few responses and I sincerely thank all of you who responded and gave me incredible ideas.
Thing is, I’ve been constantly thinking about how I can bring the most value to all of you and I decided to change up the newsletter a little bit. From now on, you will receive a package that talks about the industries that you help me pick up as I do a deep dive and give you a healthy dose of all that you need to know about this industry. And as a bonus, I will talk to people who are working in the industry and have their startups in it!
I’m ready to put in much more work than ever into enlightening all of you so it would mean the world to me if you could share this newsletter to your friends and family and ask them to subscribe. Thank you again for all your support and see you very soon!
On Guests at Home 🏠
Sometimes I wonder, sitting in my 9 m2 studio in Paris, all the times that I've had guests coming home. It makes me think about how we as humans like to show off our skills and also create tiny, unique moments of joy and tranquillity by cooking food, making our nests look tidy, smiling and enjoying the fruits of our labour. The word 'communal' is something that brings warmth and images of a fireplace (even though I've never had one) surrounded with raucous laughter or discussions of miscellaneous topics that probably distil down to society, politics, pop culture or philosophy.
We have had family friends coming home for a long time, as my mum is a very sociable person and makes friends very quickly everywhere she goes. We've always had people come home most Fridays as in Dubai, Friday and Saturday is the weekend and I used to be excited for these days as mum would cook up something special and the guests would bring in something as well. It used to be a feast as we love food and is possibly one of the moments in life that made me a gourmand.
I might not have had that gene from her, but I definitely have my dad's antisocial tendencies. I should give you more context to how such weekend dinners go, as my dad would often spend time playing with the babies and kids as he loves making faces and me, being a self-declared nerd, would talk to my uncles and aunts constantly asking questions and debating with whoever accorded me their time and attention. I find it quite endearing that my father rarely loves being with people and my mum is the exact opposite.
As a kid, I used to be a HUGE nerd, all my friends from school and my parent's friends can testify to that, but as I've grown older, whether through my experiences as a lifelong learner and my experiences in launching businesses or by forcing myself to be uncomfortable in new places, I've come about to make quite a few friends. Especially when I came to France, without a single person who I knew and being an introvert, I was forced to mingle and ask and talk to people and I did make quite a few friends (and perhaps a couple of enemies too). I believe this is a quality that is extremely important because it opens you up to differing experiences, opinions, thoughts, and ideas.
Now, with all the friends I've made, they have welcomed me into their homes, their families and it is completely false that the French are closed off; to the contrary, they're very kind and generous people but if you don't make an effort to integrate into their way of life or at the very least, speak a little French, it will be harder than usual but not impossible to have French friends. I've had barbecues, dinners, lunches and parties with my friends here and it is an experience indeed.
Given that I've been in France for a little more than a year now, I feel the same urge to get a place that I can call home so that I can invite friends over and chat and have that human connection but in these times, I believe it is going to be hard to act it out at least for quite a while as there are many hurdles that I need to cross in order to achieve that one goal of mine. It doesn't sound like a lofty, impossible dream but somewhat of longing for verbal exchange and regular contact with like-minded people that you admire that you start to think of once you're just old enough and get out of your parents' cocoon of security.
Let me tell you one thing that I love doing, I absolutely love cooking and it accentuates my love for it when I have the chance to cook for people and it multiplies furthermore when it's people you love! I've had the pleasure of introducing some facets of Indian cooking to my friends here and although they say it's a little spicy for them (I'm kidding, it's VERY spicy), they absolutely love it and if not for the pandemic, we would have been redoing some of it. There's this little story that I always love talking about when I talk about cooking. My mum uses a tiny serrated kitchen knife that is often found in most, if not all Indian households and I have a chef knife which is kind of the opposite of what my mum uses and she always tells me that I have always been a fancy child to which I reply that I'm just very picky about the tools I use.
In a nutshell, my childhood has been filled with me asking intriguing questions and also trying my hand at cooking and thoroughly enjoying eating as well. It has been helped in no small part by my mum and all of our family friends who are all excellent cooks in their own right.
I wish everyone who's reading this, always have a home where you always get guests and I wish upon you the chance of making them great food. It's a simple joy but one of the purest ones there is.
The Music Industry 🎵
Most of us think of the music industry composed of singers, songwriters and mystical businessmen in suits who manage these artists and make millions off of these record deals. Or you might even have heard of the Kanye West tweets talking about getting his masters back and you must’ve been like “what is this guy talking about?”
I must say that this is quite far from the actual reality as there is a myriad of actors and stakeholders in this industry who make sure that artists create their magic and distribute it to the world.
Let’s take a look at this industry through the eyes of an artist and see who they have to meet or what they have to do to get their music into the ears of potential fans and achieve stardom.
Firstly, the artist would be recording their music in a home studio with a rudimentary kit (not necessarily, especially with the advent of specialised software) and would already have some presence online or through other musically inclined friends. They might upload a clip to Soundcloud or to YouTube to build up their audience apart from being fixated on Instagram or TikTok.
What happens next is subject to the artist’s talent and ability to market their work but if it does perform well, they might get in touch with a music publisher who would possibly extend them a contract based on their money-making abilities in the future. Yes, you heard me right, it’s not only talent that counts, but a combination of lowest risk, highest success percentage and maximising profitability.
Record deals are made on the basis of the future amount of money the artist will make and in return for the rights to the song, the artist receives an entire repertoire & team of people working for them. Some of the examples of the supporting crew for an artist are: songwriter, composer, music producer, recording engineer, mixing and mastering engineer, A&R (artist and repertoire), publicist, etc.
Once the record deal has been negotiated upon by both parties, the real work begins. The artist now has access to a whole team of professionals to support them in their creations and now they need to start working on creating singles or EP’s or albums which would be written, produced, recorded, mixed, mastered, and arranged with all the album artwork being done and promotion plans being put into place.
The promotion usually requires the artist’s manager and publicist to use their Public Relations skills to get the artist airtime on different relevant channels to get the word out and usually happens through talk shows, editorial pieces, reviews, interviews and many more. This is to generate a buzz around the upcoming album and probably create pre-sales to gauge the market demand and popularity of the artist. Major labels can end up spending $75000 a day to promote singles so when they put an artist on promotions, they mean serious business.
Once the album is released, the revenue is generated through music streams, downloads, purchases, vinyl, concerts, shows and merchandising. Although, the majority of the record label revenue streams are through having physical concerts and shows, merchandising, music streams and vinyl purchases play a key role in determining the album success.
Sometimes, the artist’s music is used in movies and series, through which arises another form of revenue that is, music rights for commercial usage. All of this coupled with the royalties the artist gets through their music are the different ways a record label (music publishing company) and an artist can make profits. One point to note, however, is that without a good distributor, all the effort can easily go to vain.
This process usually loops and repeats itself in different permutations and combinations and has tons of little details that I have missed or haven’t gone through, but I will continue this breakdown another time.
Thank you for reading and spending time with me!
Love, from Paris, 🇫🇷