UNDER THE LABEL
Production Coordinators & Production Managers
Collecting assets for new releases and scheduling them for delivery by street date.
The role of the production department in a major label is to plan releases, meaning they coordinate and collect assets for digital and physical releases. Assets include cover images/artwork, credits, lyrics, legal lines, BA clearances, music masters, and metadata.
Their strict timelines are based on when the assets are due; for digital releases, this is 2 weeks before the music goes live, and for physical releases, 6 weeks before the music goes live. While they shoot for these deadlines, there are often problems to troubleshoot and navigate that create a rush. They work closely with Marketing and A&R to make sure that everyone is on the same page and schedule for pre-release promotions. They also work with the sales/revenue team, to keep track of the stock and production data, and business affairs, to ensure everything for the release is cleared legally and ready for delivery.
The production team is also responsible for making sure that the artist’s record will be done in time and that they can collect assets, such as the master, lyrics, credits, etc., from their management, A&R, etc. In addition to their jobs of gathering assets, working with the system (product building, scheduling, shipping), and managing release schedules, their main goal is to corral the departments they work with well enough that the release will be successful.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE HEAD OF PRODUCTION
Production @ Interscope Records
THE TASKS OF THE PRODUCTION DEPARTMENT
Whom they work with and what they do
- Understand the timeline the marketing team has established for the release
- Coordinate the other departments according to this schedule
- Manage timely delivery of assets through digital and physical supply chains
- Overall time management of music production
- Communicate and make sure the release is ready in time
- Collect assets (e.g. master, credits, lyrics)
- Optimize release plans and make sure they make sense
- Keep track of stock and production data for sales records
- Manufacture and package records on a strict timeline
- Source costs, samples, capability, and capacity from manufacturers
SALES & REVENUE
- Ensure all assets of the release are cleared legally (credits, lyrics, cover image, master, etc.)
- Note the legal line for DSPs (includes the year released & source; e.g. the legal line of “Say So” by Doja Cat is ℗2019 Kemosabe Records/RCA Records)
- Submit all assets for the digital release based on the timeline and in advance of the street date
- Submit to Spotify 1 week before the street date for their pitch tool (for placement on playlists/to be featured)
Analysis of a lot of radio and streaming data
Is a degree required?
Is a degree recommended?
Very good skill for international students who have a natural
understanding of the consumer behavior of people in their home country (popular genres, the way people listen to music, etc.)
There is no specific degree for production, but a college background is strongly recommended to learn/build crucial skill sets such as problem-solving, time management, etc.
HOW TO GET STARTED
A lot of training is required on the job, so it is very beneficial to begin at an entry-level position in production, such as an internship or as an assistant/coordinator, and advance from there. This grants knowledge of systems used (which vary from company to company), assets, processes, and inputs that are key for working in production. Any background in A&R admin, recording studios, manufacturing plants, etc., and/or a strong foundation of relevant industry basics such as masters, ISRC, UPC, physical manufacturing (CD, Vinyl), etc. will prove useful.
Digital Service Provider (DSP) is an online store (iTunes, Amazon Music, etc.) or streaming service (Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, YouTube Music) that features digital albums and singles.
Universal Product Code is a barcode used to identify a particular product (e.g. single, album, multi-track single, etc.); the parent code to ISRC(s).
Direct to Consumer (also known as B2C) means that products are being sold directly to the customer without having a third party involved.
For example, an artist having their own store to sell all merchandise as well as exclusive products (e.g. box sets) directly to their fans as opposed to selling through a retailer.
A disc that is cut once the music master is ready and is then shipped to the manufacturing plant to be used for manufacturing vinyl.
International Standard Recording Code, the code that identifies an individual track and is attached to a parent UPC.
Business Affairs clearance; verification that the track is completely cleared in terms of legalities.