The Music Business Journal is an online journal based in the United Kingdom. The two editors, JoJo Gould and Jonathan Little, are both lecturers, researchers, and writers in the music industry. When they saw that the music industry was underdeveloped in academic terms, the two founded the Music Business Journal to «facilitate the sharing of information and knowledge across a range of music industry activities.» Consultants for the journal come from a wide array of expertise and from all over the world. Countries represented are the U.K., Australia, U.S.A., and Turkey.
The members of the Music Business Journal never have formal meetings as it is specifically an online journal. Members from around the world, however, can submit articles, interviews, reviews of products, etc. to get posted on the website for their peers to view. In fact, each year one member earns an award for writing the best article published on the journal’s site. It is important to note that many of the members of the MBJ are also members of music business associations such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and/or the National Association of Recording Industry Professionals (NARIP), both of which hold annual meetings.
The specific audience for this publication are music industry professionals; including recording label’s staff, studio engineers, and producers; however the journal can also be useful for educators, journalists, and the general public. The information provided in the journal could serve a variety of purposes but it is mostly an analytical source of news. The articles within the journal analyze the latest trends in the music industry and layout possibilities for the future.
The articles in this journal are not topic specific. There are a wide variety of articles found in the journal with topics ranging from record labels to sampling to copyright infringement to safety regulations and even historical information. By taking this wide angled approach, the MBJ makes sure to include information for anyone’s personal interest in the music industry, without being too specialized. A reader would probably never use this journal as their primary source of news/education in their particular focus within the field; however, they could use this journal as a way of learning about other facets in the music industry they are not already familiar with.
As mentioned earlier, the writers for the Music Business Journal come from all over the globe, with the editors and staff mostly working as professors and lecturers at universities. There are no set standards to who can write in the journal and who can not, since many of the articles are simply e-mailed to the editors; however, there is a level of proficiency that the writer must display to have his or her work accepted into the journal. One must use proper grammar and English, and must write in an academic form. Most of the articles submitted are written by researchers in the field or professors of music; but most of the authors fit both of these categories. This usually means that the author’s have researched their article’s topic quite exhaustively, and are very familiar with the subject matter.
Articles admitted into the journal include industry interviews, product reviews, news, law updates, conference schedules, and resources. Since these topics range across a broad spectrum, there are no standards for what can be admitted as evidence, or rather what evidence can be considered valid. For example, the interviews found in the journal assume that the interviewee has his or her own opinion, and that the reader can assess the validity of that person’s opinions for him or herself. Many of the articles are research based, and like any other academic writing; they contain many citations and the sources used. Most of these articles are written as theoretical or statistical analysis based on the status quo in the music business industry.
Most of the articles appear to be between four and six pages with very few visualizations (pictures, graphs, etc.). There is very little in the way of technical jargon, with the exception of musical/business terms such as copyright, trademark, composition, royalties, and sequencing, to name a few. The writers expect the readers to be at least somewhat knowledgeable with the recording industry’s processes (signing, recording, producing, promoting) to be able to follow the articles completely.
In one of the article’s I read, «Market Source 2004: The Major Music Marketplace» by Matthew Brown, the reader is presented with information regarding the five major record labels; BMG, Universal, Sony, Warner, and EMI. These five labels control about 80% of the market share in the record industry. The article discusses how the five groups were founded, and tells how these five major labels could quickly become three or even two super companies through mergers and buyouts. In fact, in the fall of 2003 Sony announced its intentions to buyout BMG, while EMI announced it’d do the same with Warner. Fortunately for the music industry, neither deal happened because other private groups bought the two major labels and continued their independent growth.
Merger’s within the music industry are often very attractive because they solve a money crisis quickly and efficiently in the short term, but over the long term they have a tendency to destroy market shares, and create a monopoly from these oligarchy companies. If merger’s among the top five major labels happen, it could eventually destroy the Recorded Music Industry (RMI). As it stands now, major labels are huge corporations who have little direct contact with artists they sign. Music has always been a business that was on a more personal level than big corporations like insurance agencies or software companies; yet slowly but surely it’s becoming an industry that only wants to deal in numbers, rather than the music that provides its foundation.
The article seems to be focused towards the general education of people active in the music industry. The writing is not too basic that it would bore a college graduate, however it is not too technical that it would be confusing for someone with little to no musical expertise to pick up. That being said, someone without the musical background probably wouldn’t find much interest in the journal since the articles go much deeper than a general outside interest in music.
This journal was originally started because there was such a lack of any type of academic writing in the music industry. In comparison to other fields, music business was decades behind in terms of the advancement of literary content. Teachers in the field teach from specific technique books or from sheet music, there is much less of a need for academic journals. When one thinks of a profession such as psychiatry, you’ll notice that there is an abundance of training and education that goes into becoming certified. A lot of the education involves certain standards, requirements, and tests to become a working psychiatrist; all of these things must be written and published nationally for others to follow. Musicians don’t have such standards or requirements; like all art, music is a body of creative thinking made to appeal to human emotions. The two editors felt that there was information out there that was important enough to publish within the music industry; and the Music Business Journal was born.