Record labels can differ from one another in terms of their organizational structure. The large labels, for example, may have many subsidiaries incorporated into them that affect the organization. Smaller independent (indie) record labels may structure their company in a completely different way again. A major record company will be run overall by the chief executive officer (CEO). Each label within this company is then headed by its own president, who will in turn have vice presidents reporting to him.
Legal and Business Affairs
The Business Affairs department handles the finance and payroll side of the company. Record contracts are the responsibility of the legal department, who deal with these agreements between the label and artists as well as with other companies. This department will handle all legal matters, such as lawsuits.
Artist and Repertoire
The Artist and Repertoire (A&R) department provides the link between an artist and all other areas of the record label. It is responsible for finding new talent, and deciding which new acts will be signed to the record label's roster. The A&R department will then assist in selecting tracks and finding the right recording studio and producer for the artist.
A plan of how an act is to be publicized and promoted is devised by the Marketing department. The Sales department then feeds into this by building strong ties with the music retailers and monitoring all retail activities of the label. Also involved in marketing is the Art department. It is responsible for designing advertising print media such as posters, as well as the actual album artwork.
The Promotion department ensures that the label's acts are being played on the radio and television channels such as MTV and VH1. It will also work with the New Media department to utilize the Internet for music streaming and maintaining a strong presence on the web. Then there is the Label Liaison department which acts as a link between the record label and its distribution company that will be getting the product to the retailers.
An artist's career is planned and developed by the Artist Development department. Its task nowadays is geared towards making an initial impact on the industry and making money immediately. This differs from the traditional role of the department that considered the long-term career of an artist and is determined largely by shareholder pressure. Because of this, the department is sometimes known as Product Development.