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Product Manager/Marketing Department

Imagine a wheel with spokes. If all the spokes are the various departments in a record label, the hub of the wheel is the "product manager." Promotion, publicity, creative services, marketing, touring -- everything is funneled through a product manager. Once your album is finished and officially "delivered," your A&R person passes the baton to the product manager. The two will work as a team to represent, defend, fight for and direct your project within the company. Your music is considered the "product" (sorry.some companies call it "Artist Development" instead to make it sound less impersonal). Young artists must understand that labels sell records -- your music is the commercial product. That's not a bad thing; it's a reality of business. The label employee in the marketing department "manages" that product. The product manager in effect is your manager within the record label. He is the person to shepherd and execute your vision throughout the company. He's your point person, your source for information, your defender, and your ally. I, myself, am a Product Manager (although after you do it for a while, they give you fancy titles like mine, Senior Director of Marketing). I have worked in such capacity over the last fifteen years at four different record labels and can provide four completely different job descriptions. The basics, however, are the same. The Marketing Department is responsible for all things that relate to marketing, which includes everything from designing your poster to finding you the right tour. We'll take a look at some of the specific things you can expect from your product manager.
Who and Why
Depending on the size of the label, there could be anywhere between 2 and 20 product managers. The artist does not have the luxury of choosing a product manager, but rather is assigned to one who, based on many different factors, is most likely the best option. A product manager might volunteer for a project because the A&R person may have turned him on to the music, or he may already have a relationship with the manager, or he might be a fan. A product manager can also be assigned to a project because he has an affinity and knowledge for a certain genre of music, or his workload dictates he has time for a new project, or it's just the right match.
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