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Charice Music Industry 101: Record Labels Revealed

Charice Music Industry 101: Record Labels Revealed

It’s not easy to make your way to the top, and this is true in the music industry especially! A band might spend hours each day practicing, or a starlet might take singing lessons for years, but neither might go any further than performing at friends’ birthday parties. Getting a record deal is every singer, group and musicians’ dream but even then, becoming the kind of music phenomenon that Charice is can’t be guaranteed?

In this special series, entitled ‘Charice Music Industry 101′, we’ll take you through the different aspects of an industry regarded as the most competitive in the world. The idea is to educate you on the real music industry and give you a bigger picture of the world that Charice is taking by storm.

Robert Sheen 75x75 Charice Music Industry 101: Record Labels RevealedI’m Robert Sheen and, for the past decade or more, I’ve worked as a journalist while also managing to travel the world. It’s all in the aid of satisfying my natural curiosities, of which music is one. From the Celtic voices of Ireland to the sambas of Brazil, and from the jazz clubs of New York City to the K-Pop groups of South Korea, I’ve been lucky enough to experience some of the most interesting musical cultures.

Now, I live in the Philippines and have seen at first hand the phenomenal wave of interest that has built up behind Charice – and it is phenomenal! She is the biggest star in this part of the world. In fact, since her appearance on the TV talent show Little Big Star in 2005, she has steadily grown in the hearts of millions of Filipinos to become something of a figure of national pride. Her success in America, and across the world, has created an army of supporters throughout Asia with thousands of new ‘Chasters’ enlisting every day.

Charice has come this far on talent and hard work, but her future doesn’t lie in her hands only. The truth is that, like so many before her, her career will be influenced by different departments at her record label, by the marketing of her music, and by the smart-suited music executives that make the big decisions.

How can this be? Well, in our first series ‘Charice Music Industry 101: Record Labels Revealed’, we’ll show you how. First up in the series is ‘How Record Labels Operate’, where we explain what a record label is and how they are structured. Who is the boss and who makes the real decisions? How many departments are there, and which ones are the most important? So, if you want to know, just read on.

How Record Labels Operate

It all seems a bit magical when you look at it from the outside. Natural talent catapults a star from obscurity and puts them into the limelight, leading to TV appearances, record deals, hit records, world tours, limousines and entourages. Charice has already achieved some of this but, as any seasoned performer will tell you, talent alone is only part of it.

The truth is that the music industry is one giant mechanical mangle of more than 2,000 record labels, with a few major corporations owning the majority of them. Record Labels are basically the companies that sign bands, group and singers, then record, promote and sell their music. They can be small, operated by only a few people, or large, employing hundreds of people in offices around the world.

There are only four major record labels in the world: Universal Music Group, Sony Music, Warner Music and EMI. Together, they own hundreds of smaller record labels. For example, Charice is signed to 143 Records (founded by David Foster) and Reprise Records, both of which are owned by Warner Music. Independent labels, untouched by the ‘Big Four’, made up about 18% of the American music market in 2008, a market worth about $11 billion then.

charice reprise records Charice Music Industry 101: Record Labels Revealed

Record labels are split into different departments, each of which are often split into a number of sub-departments, which only adds to the complexity of the company. However, there are basically 11 departments involved: A&R, Art, Artist Development, Business Affairs, Label Liaison, Legal, Marketing, New Media, Promotion, Publicity and Sales. Of these, the most influential in making an artist a star are A&R, Artist Development, Publicity, Promotion and New Media.

A&R stands for ‘Artists and Repertoire’, and it’s where the magic begins. This is the department that discovers new talent, signs them to the label and then organizes everything from signing recording producers to negotiating studio time.

The Publicity Department and the Artist Development Department both take care of pretty much the same thing, but Artist Development has become less significant because most new artists need little grooming before being launched. Charice is a perfect example, since she is already a proven performer when she was signed. But publicity like photo shoots, media interviews and public appearances all have to be organized.

The Promotions Department is slightly different to Publicity as it concentrates on getting the artist’s music on the radio and their videos on TV. It makes sure that people hear the artist’s work and that in turn encourages sales.

The New Media Department is now second only to the A&R Department. This is down to the development of the internet, which is the greatest medium in existence. Think about it: where do you go when you want to read out Charice? So, record labels have invested heavily in harnessing the internet through websites, advertising, SEO (search engine optimization) and other marketing techniques.

Running the whole show are the record label President and Vice-President, but their decisions focus on the company rather than individual artists. It depends how large the label is, with presidents of small labels usually getting involved in practically everything. The larger company presidents have the vice-president and department heads to get things done for them.

So, as you can see, there is nothing simple about the music industry. While a new artist gets to see their dream come true, a thousand people are working behind the scenes to make that happen. Charice may boast an extraordinary talent but her place in the spotlight is certainly helped along by a team of professionals she’ll probably never meet.

By Robert Sheen,

62 Responses to “Charice Music Industry 101: Record Labels Revealed”

  1. We stumbled over here different web aaddress and thoought I may ass well check
    things out. I like what I see so i am just following you.
    Look forward to exploring your web page again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. It’s an remarkable piiece of writing designed for all
    the onlline people; they will obtain benefit from it I am sure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. jonah says:

    Thanks a lot Mr. Sheen. Learned a lot from your article. Love watching Cha’s performances. This is why I came across charicemania. I am very appreciative of what you are doing…thanks, thanks, thanks!!!!!!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Julio says:

    Thank you Mr. Sheen for a very good information regarding how the music industry makes/create a “Star”. Charice is one very talented individual that many record business bigwigs are giving full attention because they believe that Charice has what it takes to be a big one. Yes, Charice is directed in the right direction with her different projects. Concerts, gigs, Glee shows, concerts and movies perhaps?.

    Charice gathered 250 million “views” worldwide on YouTube already. And with her new songs and album the international community will be most accommodating for her concerts. Like Celine, she will be one of the top live international performers in the next decade.

    To the Top Baby#

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. jwk says:
    why not invite mr. sheen as a guest for Fan Talk so we can ask more questions? Just a suggestion. :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  6. WebScribes says:
    Remember, this is just “101″ – it is much more complicated that this foundation that Mr. Sheen has so kindly provided. I am so thankful Charice has some of the best people in the Industry to guide her, sharing their knowledge, connections, and ability to attract the best managers, writers, producers, publicist, collaborations, training, high profile events, higher level of financial backing, and security. This keeps the career momentum going in the right direction, and minimizes the politics, hidden agendas, and loss of priority that plague most artists that are even lucky enough to get signed. Sorry but I have seen it firsthand. Charice along with the many that love her, that are inspired by her and those yet to be inspired have much to be thankful about!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 1

  7. Marie says:
    Thanks a bunch & well done Robert Sheen for sharing & educating us on this kind of industry. Music is everybody’s life and yet most of us don’t know behind the making of every songs we listen.

    Thanks to Charice, the Ambassador of Goodwill which brings peace & harmony in every home. Yes, in our home. We all watched the premier episode of Glee Season 2 in NZ TV3 and for the 1st time my hubby sit in front of the TV to watch Charice/Glee and waited to finish before going to the beach to watch the Fireworks Display. Awesome!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  8. Jessica86s says:
    “Hoorah” for the unsung heroes! In every field and anything great, there are these unsung heroes, without their efforts and dedication, these successes may never come to be. Yes it’s about time people learned to appreciate these people in the background who take none of the credit and accolade most of the time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  9. Sam49 says:
    Nice article Robert, by the way does any one knows how much Charice made on every dollars this Record labels make?, I know this questions is out of line, it just one person curiosity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 5

    • mingsfan says:
      Charice’s compensation is whatever is spelled out in her contract. A contract consists of three parts: (1) offer, (2) acceptance, and (3) consideration. (“Consideration” is something of value which passes between the two parties.) If any of these is missing, it’s not a contract.

      One provision of Charice’s contract might state, for example, “In consideration of the amount $XX, Ms. Charice Pempengco agrees to deliver to WB #YY albums by no later than [date].” Unless otherwise provided, contracts can be dissolved only by mutual agreement.

      I doubt that Charice’s compensation is based on sales of music tracks or CDs . This arrangement (“royalties”) is most commonly used for songwriters. Even the most popular songwriters, though, make pennies on the dollar of sales.

      The music industry is like any other business: businesses exist for the purpose of maximizing the return on each dollar invested. These business aren’t philanthropic organizations. If an artist isn’t generating enough revenues to offset the expenses her company incurs for all of the things Mr. Sheen notes — plus producing a profit — her contract won’t be renewed.

      In this sense, Charice is just a commodity to be traded. No matter how much David Foster loves her, if Charice ultimately turns out to be a losing proposition (and I am not suggesting that she will), there is a limit to how much even he can do to retain a money-losing artist.

      Bottom line: Buy lots of Charice’s CDs!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

      • mingsfan says:
        I want to emphasize how extremely fortunate Charice is to have David Foster as her mentor because he is intimately familiar with, and extremely influential in, both the artistic and business sides of the music industry. I think all of us are familiar with his accomplishments on the artistic side: consistently identifying and developing extraordinary new talent, producing hit songs and albums for a wide range of famous artists, and composing and arranging hit songs. These accomplishments have, among other things, earned him 15 Grammy Awards (3 for Producer of the Year), 44 Grammy nominations, an Emmy Award, and three Oscar nominations. On the business side, Foster founded a new record label (as noted by M. Sheen), 143 Records. Finally, he is Senior Vice President, A & R of Warner Bros. Records.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  10. dadartful says:
    Charice is relatively new in the business releasing her first USA album this year. She has experts in the music business on her team headed by ninong David Foster so we fans of her’s should display patience with her unstoppable rising star. Taylor Swift released her first album at age 16 in 2006, second in 2008 and third this year. She’ll be 22 in December. Her first solo concerts in the US was in 2009. Charice is ahead of Taylor’s pace having her first solo concerts one year after releasing her first album. Charice’s rise to superstardom in inevitable or as DF says “it cannot not happen”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 2

  11. justcharrie says:
    Yes we got a record company 101 crash course lesson, thanks to Robert. From the very beginning I trusted Warner completely, believing they will give their full support to make Charice one of their biggest produced talents. With her ninong DF and Chasters around, I wouldn’t worry much.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  12. Ate Lina says:
    I agree with you Nonieboy 100%. Now we are educated on how WB music manages Charice singing career. Now we know that Charice is in the good hands of experts. Her raw amazing talent + expert handling will catapult her to the TOP. Let’s not forget the magic of “We The Chasters” who will support Charice to her journey to the top. Let us just let the experts do their job.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0

  13. vincent says:
    Now we know; any more questions about the Music industry? Let us all concentrate on getting Charice on Top in record time. Once and for all let’s prove to all her detractors that she deserve to be recognized as a true performer/entertainer and role model of an honest to goodness human being. Despite all her success; she remain as humble as can be. God is truly kind to those who really knows how to acknowledge and appreciate the gift that were given to them and knows how to give back and share what they have to those that are in need.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 41 Thumb down 1

  14. Nek says:
    very educational article…

    …more albums to come for Charice…

    …Whatever happen to the career of Charice in the music industry, what matters most is that…
    …Charice was able and will always be able to inspire a lot of people in this world through her talent…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 2

  15. saudi_charistic says:
    hope that charice receives more blessings!!!
    more sale for her cd’s and more songs to come hehehe!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0

  16. nonieboy says:
    Bottomline is, as far as Charice career is concerned leave this to the experts. As far as her well being is concerned leave this to her Mum. But as far as putting her at the top is concerned, leave this to the chasters! hurray!!


    I want to be a chaster so freaking bad!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 85 Thumb down 1

  17. mirmo says:
    that’s why DF quoted “I don’t find TALENT, TALENT finds me” Indeed, he was actually pertaining to our charice. She deserves everything that is happening to her right now and no one has the right to take that happiness from her. proud to be chaster =)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 0

  18. Fran says:
    That was an intriguing synopsis by Robert Sheen on the traditional music recording industry; however, this is no longer the dominant business model of today evident by the dramatic decline in album (cd) sales… mainly because of piracy in the newly emerging internet and the sophisticated gismos, gadgets and online innovations everyday on the web. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Chaster and I have bought all her albums several times and downloaded songs from ITunes and Amazon. But I also have an IPOD Touch that is storing many of her videos and music tracks. In short the landscape is changing in the music world.

    This also may come to surprise many of you….. most of the top stars “live performances” are where the action is. In the past decade, the Vancouver Sun recently reported that the top artists’ concert revenues typically are 2-3x their album sales. Celine Dion was at the top with $256 million album sales while $522 million in concert sales. Many of those concert tickets were bought by fans that got to like the artist after listening to downloaded tracks, radio or viewing it through YouTube and the like.

    Yes, Charice is pointed in the right direction with her gigs, Glee shows and concerts. Her “views” on YouTube has already approached 250 million worldwide. And with her new song and album the international community will be most accommodating for her concerts. Like Celine, she will be one of the top live international performers in the next decade.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 85 Thumb down 0

    • Yeoh Ho says:
      In the past, live concerts were promotional strategies to drive record sales. These days recorded music, given the availability and ease in accessing it, becomes a precursor for people to see live performances.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  19. Jaju says:
    Now we all know charice is in good hands. Thanks Mr. Sheen for the informative article. Labyo Charice. I promised when you have a solo concert in San Francisco, LA or here in Vegas my wife and I will be on the front seat. We are eagerly waiting for your new singles and album too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 0

  20. lord-king-leader says:
    not too bad making an article about charice

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  21. Philmor says:
    Nice article.. this is really an eye opener for me about the music industry… I’m happy that Charice’s career is in good hands… Thx Robert..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 0

  22. Luisa says:
    thank you mr. sheen for enlightening us how music industry work or run. we all understand that in order for a business to be successfull every dept. must do thier share of hard question in my earlier comment was more aimed for the people behind the marketing dept.we all know that charice has been working very, very hard, and we all know that she is also very, very good, publicity wise, will we all know all her concerts has been sold out and thanks to chasters in that dept, my point is, she on ly have one album and two singles. “note to God” which has about 6million views, “pyramid”26 million views,which tells us that she has millions of fans around.Now the question goes to the Label dept.did they produce enough of this 1 album and has the marketing dept. distributed enough to the stores so the public can buy them? u have to excuse my curiosity, I was watching Access Holywood tody and they were talking about Taylor Swift releasing a new album in less than a month selling over 1 million copies. Poor charice her album has been out there since last may and we don’t even hear about billboard chart anymore. thank goodness for Japan, thier marketing strategy must be pretty good, they are they only country with the gold record award with same album. hoping for it to turn platinum before christmas. Lets go Chasters we can show the world that chasters USA is the best. pls don’t get me wrong, we love chasters around the globe. Lets buy charice CD album for christmas gift.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  23. Cizcan says:

    Huge talent + Big record label + CHASTERS = SUCCESS!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 52 Thumb down 1

  24. Ripley says:
    Thank you for this article Mr. Robert Sheen. It’s really an eye opener. Thank you too to all these people in the different departments of Reprise & 143 Records who have really worked hard to promote/sell/help Charice be recognized all over the world. Of course to Chasters too, CM staff included, who have also tirelessly promoted/supported Charice. With dedicated people like these, Charice will always come out on top! I wish you all the best!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 41 Thumb down 0

  25. edy says:
    based on the article, maybe some departments in ABS-CBN recognized Charice’s talent but never believed on her saleability. Love you Charice, you are indeed on good and professional hands now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 46 Thumb down 0

    • dmadman77 says:
      Networks are in the business to make money. When they see a talent the first question they ask themselves is whether they will make money out of this talent. Businessmen are not artists. To them it’s all about marketability or commercial viability. Nowadays everyone in the corporate world is measured by only two things…..revenue and profit. Everything else comes a poor third. So even if Charice has this undeniably great talent (someone said she was born to sing), the businessmen in the network didn’t think she would ‘sell’ and they would have difficulty ‘packaging’ her as she looks very Asian. And especially in the music industry, looks can make or break a career. It’s not only the face, you would have to be fair-skinned or black, tall and sexy. Some artists even go to the extent of showing more skin to compensate for their lack of talent. Real artists are those who create art out of sheer joy in creating art and to share their art and talent. Many of the great painters were virtual unknowns and were in hiding when they created their greatest works. Some died penniless. To these real artists the monetary reward is far from their mind (only when they get hungry and there’s nothing on the table). Let’s be thankful for this ‘little girl’ who now doesn’t have to sing because her family would go hungry but who now can sing (always from her heart) just out of pure joy. Let’s just thank God for not only giving Charice this talent but for letting her share this talent to those who believe in her. Let’s also pray that God gives her the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength she needs.
      To Charice: Keep your feet grounded. Stay humble. Everybody loves to see the ‘underdog’ become the ‘topdog’. Salamat po.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0


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