How Well Do You Know the Music Industry?



9 Questions

What is the largest promoter and music venue owner in the live music market?

Who owns compositions in the recording industry?

What is the name of the pioneer of modern music printing who secured a twenty-year monopoly on printed music in Venice during the 16th century?

Which technology disrupted the commercial interests which published sheet music in the early 20th century?

What is the name of the popular music-website that was shut down by the record industry in 2001?

What is the name of the subscription-based 'pay to stream' service over the Internet that debuted after 2010?

What is the name of the new business-relationship that increasingly relies on the record companies?

What is the name of the joint venture of Sony and BMG that created the 'Big Four' in 2004?

What is the name of the company that revealed in its 2015 earnings report that streaming services were responsible for 34.3% of the year's U.S. recorded-music-industry revenue?


Overview of the Music Industry

  • The music industry includes individuals and organizations that earn money by writing songs and musical compositions, creating and selling recorded music and sheet music, presenting concerts, and aiding music creators.

  • The industry also includes talent managers, artists and repertoire managers, business managers, entertainment lawyers, music journalists, music critics, DJs, music educators and teachers, musical instrument manufacturers, and many others.

  • The modern Western music industry emerged between the 1930s and 1950s when records replaced sheet music as the most important product in the music business.

  • The largest portion of the live music market for concerts and tours is controlled by Live Nation, the largest promoter and music venue owner.

  • In the first decades of the 2000s, the music industry underwent drastic changes with the advent of widespread digital distribution of music via the Internet.

  • The recording industry produces three separate products: compositions, recordings, and media.

  • Compositions are owned by composers, recordings by record companies, and media by consumers.

  • Recordings are created by recording artists, with the assistance and guidance from record producers and audio engineers.

  • Recordings are traditionally owned by record companies, but some artists own their own record companies.

  • When a recording is broadcast, performance rights organizations collect a third type of royalty known as a performance royalty, which is paid to songwriters, composers, and recording artists.

  • A promoter brings together a performing artist and a venue owner and arranges contracts. A booking agency represents the artist to promoters, makes deals and books performances.

  • In the 2000s, traditional lines that once divided singers, instrumentalists, publishers, record companies, distributors, retail and consumer electronics have become blurred or erased.A Brief History of the Music Industry

  • Printed music using machine-printed sheet music developed during the Renaissance music era in the mid-15th century.

  • Ottaviano Petrucci was the pioneer of modern music printing, who secured a twenty-year monopoly on printed music in Venice during the 16th century.

  • At the dawn of the early 20th century, sound recording began to function as a disruptive technology to the commercial interests which published sheet music.

  • In the first decade of the 2000s, digitally downloaded and streamed music became more popular than buying physical recordings.

  • Total "music-business" revenues in the U.S. dropped by half, from a high of $14.6 billion in 1999 to $6.3 billion in 2009.

  • In 2001, the record industry succeeded in shutting down the popular music-website Napster, and threatened legal action against thousands of individuals who participated in sharing music-song sound-files.

  • Legal digital downloads became widely available with the debut of the Apple iTunes Store in 2003.

  • After 2010, Internet-based services such as Deezer, Pandora, Spotify, and Apple's iTunes Radio began to offer subscription-based "pay to stream" services over the Internet.

  • Spotify pays artists based on their "market share" (the number of streams for their songs as a proportion of total songs streamed on the service).

  • The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) revealed in its 2015 earnings report that streaming services were responsible for 34.3 percent of the year's U.S. recorded-music-industry revenue.

  • Music-performing artists now rely on live performance and merchandise sales for the majority of their income.

  • The music industry is characterized by many mergers and/or acquisitions, for the major companies as well as for middle-sized business.Overview of the Music Industry

  • The "360 deal" is a new business-relationship that increasingly relies on the record companies.

  • Record companies can offer a simple manufacturing- and distribution-deal that gives a higher percentage to the artist but does not cover the expenses of marketing and promotion.

  • Independent musicians can produce their albums through crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter.

  • The availability of inexpensive recording-hardware and -software makes it possible to record and distribute music worldwide.

  • The changes in the music industry have given consumers access to a wider variety of music at a price that gradually approaches zero.

  • Consumer spending on music-related software and hardware increased dramatically over the last decade, providing a valuable new income-stream for technology companies.

  • The global digital album sales grew by 6.9% in 2014.

  • The industry was dominated by the "Big Six" until the PolyGram-Universal merger in 1998. After the merger, the "Big Five" commanded 77.4% of the market.

  • The joint venture of Sony and BMG created the 'Big Four' in 2004, and in 2011, the "big four" controlled about 88% of the market.

  • After the absorption of EMI by Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group in December 2011, the "big three" were created.

  • The largest players in the music industry own more than 100 subsidiary record labels or sublabels, each specializing in a certain market niche.

  • Total album sales have declined in the early decades of the 21st century, leading some music critics to declare the death of the album.

  • The Nielsen Company & Billboard's 2012 Industry Report shows overall music sales increased 3.1% over 2011.


Test your knowledge of the music industry with this informative quiz! From the history of music printing to the rise of digital streaming services, this quiz covers a range of topics related to the music business. Learn about the various players in the industry, how royalties are earned, and the impact of technology on the music industry. Whether you are a music lover or just curious about the business side of the music industry, this quiz is a fun and educational way to test your knowledge.

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