The music industry (or music business) sells compositions, recordings and performances of music. It employs about a quarter of million people, including: the musicians who compose and perform the music; the companies and professionals who create and sell recorded music (e.g., music publishers, producers, studios, engineers, record labels, retail and online music stores, performance rights organizations); those that present live music performances (booking agents, promoters, music venues, road crew); professionals who assist musicians with their careers (talent managers, business managers, entertainment lawyers); those who broadcast music (satellite and broadcast radio); journalists; educators; musical instrument manufacturers; as well as many others.
In the late 19th century and early 20th century, the music industry was dominated by the publishers of sheet music. By mid century records had supplanted sheet music as the largest player in the music business. Since 2000, sales of recorded music have dropped off substantially, while live music has increased in importance.
There are four "major labels" that dominate recorded music — Sony Music Entertainment, EMI, Universal and Warner — each of which consists of many smaller companies and labels serving different regions and markets. The live music industry is dominated by Live Nation, the largest promoter and music venue owner. Live Nation is a former subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications, which owns a majority of the radio stations in the United States. Other important music industry companies include Creative Artists Agency (a management and booking company) and Apple Inc. (which runs the world's largest online music store, iTunes, and sells the iPod).
 Albums sales and market value
The following list shows album sales and market value in the world in the 1990s–2000s.
N Country Album Sales Share Share of World Market Value
1 USA 37-40% 30-35%
2 Japan 9-12% 16-19%
3 UK 7-9% 6.4-9.1%
4 Germany 7-8% 6.4-5.3%
5 France 4.5-5.5% 5.4-6.3%
6 Canada 2.6-3.3% 1.9-2.8%
7 Australia 1.5-1.8% 1.5-2.0%
8 Brazil 2.0-3.8% 1.1-3.1%
9 Italy 1.7-2.0% 1.5-2.0%
10 Spain 1.7-2.3% 1.4-1.8%
11 Netherlands 1.2-1.8% 1.3-1.8%
12 Mexico 2.1-4.6% 0.8-1.8%
13 Belgium 0.7-0.8% 0.8-1.2%
14 Switzerland 0.75-0.9% 0.8-1.1%
15 Austria 0.5-0.7% 0.8-1.0%
17 Russia 2.0-2.9% 0.5-1.4%
18 Taiwan 0.9-1.6% 0.5-1.1%
19 Argentina 0.5-0.7% 0.5-1.0%
20 Denmark 0.45-0.65% 0.5-0.8%
The music industry is made up of various players, including individuals, companies, unions, not-for-profit associations, and rights collectives, and other bodies. Professional musicians, including band leaders, rhythm section members, musical ensembles, singers, conductors, and arrangers, and sound engineers create sound or video recordings of music or create live performances in venues ranging from small clubs to stadiums. Professional musicians negotiate their wages, contractual conditions, and other conditions of work through Musicians' Unions or other guilds. Composers and songwriters write the music and lyrics to songs and other musical works, which are sold in print form as sheet music or scores by music publishers. Composers and performers get part of their income from writers' copyright collectives and performance rights organization such as the ASCAP and BMI (or MCPS and PRS respectively for the UK). These societies and collectives ensure that composers and performers are compensated when their works are used on the radio or TV or in films. When musicians and singers make a CD or DVD, the creative process is coordinated by a record producer, whose role in the recording may range from suggesting songs and backing musicians to having a direct hands-on role in the studio, coaching singers, giving advice to session musicians on playing styles, and working with the senior sound engineer to shape the recorded sound through effects and mixing.
Most professional musicians, bands, and singers are signed with record labels, which are companies which finance the recording process in return for part or full share of the rights in the recording. A record company is an entity that manages sound recording-related brands and trademarks which consist of their owned labels; their owned and licensed master recordings; and various related ancillary businesses such as home video and DVDs. Labels may comprise a record group which is, in turn, controlled by a music group. As such, a larger umbrella label may have a number of sub-labels releasing music. Music publishers exist separately (even if sharing the same ultimate holding company or brand name), and they represent the rights in the compositions - i.e. the music as written rather than as recorded.
Record companies and record labels that are not under the control of the "Big Four" music groups and music publishers that are not one of these four groups are generally considered to be independent or "indie" labels, even if they are part of large, well-financed corporations with complex structures. Some music critics prefer to use the term indie label to refer to only those independent labels that adhere to criteria of corporate structure and size, and some consider an indie label to be almost any label that releases non-mainstream music, regardless of its corporate structure. According to US Market Research Firm NPD Group, iTunes recently surpassed Wal-Mart as America's largest music distributor. A record distributor is a company (often a record label) that works with record labels to promote and distribute their records, either in their home market or overseas.
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