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Illustration of a microphone, sheet music and headphones on a yellow background. Illustration of a microphone, sheet music and headphones on a yellow background.

How it fits together — from creators to listeners

2 min read

How does the music industry ecosystem help a song reach listeners?

Because the number of listeners that a song reaches marks the measure of its commercial success, it is vital to reach as many listeners as possible if this is your goal.

The first consideration is to create a that listeners want to hear. But even a musical masterpiece or well-recorded song does not guarantee discovery or success. That's why it's important to understand how the different roles and parties that support this process within the music industry contribute to the success of a and a .

In its earliest form, a musical work can be visualized as a triangle. The triangle represents the work of a , for example. This triangle is joined by other triangles that represent additional creators who each add their contributions to make the musical work even better. A , for instance, and a . Perhaps an .

A may participate in the musical work's journey at this point if the songwriter has a publishing . Music publishers have a number of roles, more of which you can discover on our Music Publishers page, but one of which is to help the songwriter find the right collaborators during the songwriting process.

Once the musical work has been written, it then needs to be recorded. At this stage, a can go into a studio and create the studio recording, which requires the skill sets of more triangles in the form of musicians, music producers, and engineers who all participate in the recording, mixing, and mastering process.

Or there may be a scenario where a record label offers the creator a recording contract and, in doing so, agrees to pay all the costs in addition to marketing and distribution. More information can be found in our Distribution and Marketing topic.

Finally, all these pieces contribute to making a fully formed song—a well-rounded, professionally recorded musical work ready for release.

The next stage of the song's journey is its to and stores where audiences listen to and access the music. This process can be undertaken by , , or .

Animation credit: Jacob Vidkjær, Playminds