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Music Business Corner: Roles in the music business


A Producer is a Director. This person has a good music ear.

By Sakhele Mzalazala. Edited by Andile Nkosi.

In order to make money in the music industry, one needs to understand the roles of individuals in making of a musical piece. Below are basic terms you may come across on your music journey. While used a lot, most of us do not really know what they mean. I have seen many cases where Composers and Beat Makers who are real creators, call themselves Producers and thus rob themselves of their Composer royalties. Wewill revisit this occurance in future articles. For now, let’s learn the basic music industry roles.

Artist – This is a Performer who can be vocalist or player of an instrument. Including scatting and whistling.

Artist, Arranger, Author, Composer and Producer, Ayo Solanke

Composer – This is the Creator of melodies. They can either write the original song using Stave/Staff Notation, playing the music using an instrument, programming the beat maker, or even teaching someone to sing it.

Author – This is the writer of lyrics or words of a song. This includes sung, spoken and rapped lyrics.

Publisher — This is the Owner of the recording.

Producer – This is a Director of the recording. This is a person has a good ear, able to put the right people roles together to produce a good sounding record.

Arranger — This is a Re-Mixer or adapter of an old song. A new song does not have an arranger.

Executive Producer — This is the bankroler of the recording. This person pays for the recording and thus has ownership of the master copy. Executive Producer do not need music knowledge but should have deep pockets with a strong business eye. NB: This person does not own the music in the master copy, he owns the master recording as he has paid for the recording and not the music.

So, what role do you play in the industry? Are you an Artist, Composer, Author, Arranger, Producer, Engineer or… Keep following Gospel Buzz as each week we will be elaborating on these roles and more. #GospelBuzz

Sakhele Mzalazala is a Creative Industry Entrepreneur, Author, Consultant, Publisher and Businessman. He writes for Gospel Buzz in his own capacity. WhatsApp: +27 74 300 0686 | Email: sakhele@gmail.com