Sales and Distribution

This section discusses the functions of a record label artist development / tour marketing department. At this point, you may also want to review the StarPolish dedicated section on Performance Marketing / Tour Support for more details and do-it-yourself tour marketing tips. Some labels refer to product management or marketing as "artist development" (which sounds nicer than "product management"), but at most labels artist development is the touring department. This area not only deals with touring, but also non-recoupable performances like promotional tours, special artist appearances and label events and presentations. First off, if you don't already have a booking agent, the artist development department can undoubtedly help you find one. There is a finite number of major booking agents in the country, and major- label touring departments maintain excellent relationships with all of them. If you need an agent, your artist development representative can help you find the right match. Once you are paired up with your ideal agent, Artist Development can also help you find your ideal touring situation. The label's muscle and promise of marketing support will help you to secure a good tour. If you're up for an opening slot, other agents, headline acts and venues all want to know that their opening artist will have label funds behind them to support the tour with advertising, promotion and visibility to help sell tickets.
Label vs. Distribution
The record label has a relatively small sales staff - usually between 4 and 10 "national" sales people in the main office, and four regional sales managers out in the field. The sales department devises the sales plan for each artist and communicates it to the distribution company, whose sales reps in the field then execute the plans. The distribution company is a massive conglomerate that has between 8 and 10 branch offices around the country in major markets. Each branch is structured the same and generally consists of a Branch Manager, a Sales Manager, Sales Reps (quantity varies on market size), Marketing Managers, a couple of Genre-Specific Marketing Managers (alternative, urban), Field Marketing Reps, College Reps and other support staff. The Branch office is also host to the label's regional sales people and local promotion people.
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