Music Industry Project Management – Process Groups

The Five Project Management Process Groups for the Music Industry
The Five Project Management Process Groups for the Music Industry

Looking to make sure your next recording project actually ends in a recording?

Want to make your next tour more successful?

Try using the concept of the Five Project Management Process Groups for your next endeavour!

The Five Process Groups are used in project management to help ensure that the project is consistent, to know when the project has met expectations, to help keep the budget in check, and makes sure you don’t spend forever on trying to finalize the details of the project.

The Five Process Groups are:




Monitoring and Controlling


1. Initiating – make sure your project has a definite START date. This process includes the idea that you need to make sure you have everything in place, as much as possible, before you start your project.

Questions to answer:

WHY am I doing this project? To make money? To increase sales of my previous releases? To support my new release? To generate interest from a label? Identify who, what when, where, and why before you even start your project, and don’t leave these questions hanging – you may not like the answer you get after you’ve spent time and money on the project.

WHO needs to be involved with this project, and who is impacted by this project?You don’t have to identify each individual person explicitly, but know what kind of people you’ll need to complete this project before you start.

2. Planning – Start setting priorities for your project. What is absolutely necessary, and what can be left out, if needed?

What’s the end-goal of this project? Make concrete, your goals and plans for this project. Do you want a seven-song EP recorded at home, with mixing and mastering being done by other people? Do you want to spend three weeks out on a tour of the midwest, playing at least eighteen gigs in that time, and playing in front of at least 2,500 total people?

3. Executing – This is the actual work in your project. A lot of executing involves managing teams and people. No one is an island in the music industry, and you’re no different. This is where a lot of communication happens, accomplishing your project on time and under budget.

4. Monitoring and Controlling – This process happens throughout the other four processes. You monitor and control because nothing will ever go they you plan it. You planned on using a specific engineer to mix your album, but she’s busy with another project when you need her? Time to take control and change your plans. It takes you twice as long to record the first four songs than you planned? Time to take a look at what you want the outcomes of this project to be (called scope), and either look at adding more money and time to the project, or scaling back on what you want the end product to be.

Monitoring and controlling are continuous processes, controlling the risks you take, addressing on-going time and budget situations, and dealing with other changes to the plan while still making progress toward your goals.

5. Closing – Following through to the end of the project, making sure that all the bills are paid, reviewing the progress that was made with your team, and updating your records. Good project managers also make sure to include evaluations of the project’s performance, so that the NEXT project is even MORE successful.

Project Management for the Music Industry

Let’s face it: A lot of us musicians really aren’t that organized. And that lack of organization can cost us – money, time, opportunities.
How many times have you heard of an artist that had a chance to take advantage of a big opportunity, but missed out on it because they weren’t ready – their demo wasn’t finished, they were “still in the songwriting phase”, or they weren’t happy with the results of their last recording session, and had to go back i and spend more money and time getting what they want?

ALL of these problems can be mitigated via effective project management.

I, as an engineer and music producer, have seen, first-hand, the ill effects of poor (or, usually, no) project management activities inside of projects undertaken by musicians.
Using project management techniques does several things for the musician who uses them:

It will help you spend your time and money more wisely.

The lack of planning and control leads to wasting time and money in the recording studio, whether it be from spending time recording songs that really aren’t ready to be recorded yet, spending time on using the wrong studio or engineer on the session, or not having a clear idea of what you want to get out of the session time you’re paying for (and trust me, studio owners are more than happy to let you waste time in their studio you’re paying for by the hour).

It helps you track your progress towards your end-goals.

Using project management techniques will help you know when you’re meeting your goals as a musician. Is your goal to quit your “day job” and become a musician full-time? Do you want to know when you’re easy to release your next album and go on tour? Proper project management techniques help you define your goals and track progress toward those goals.

The use of project management for your music projects revolves around using techniques that will ultimately:
  1. Decrease the rate of failures with your projects
  2. Decrease the amount of money you need to spend to complete your projects
  3. Increase the quality of your music
  4. Increase the speed at which your projects are complete
I hope this series of blog articles will help improve you music by teaching  you techniques for managing projects in the music industry.
Got a comment for me? Let me know what you think!

Thinking About Setting Up a Recording Studio in Your Dorm?

Photo Courtesy Dave Cintron
Photo Courtesy Dave Cintron

Recroding music in a tiny space has never been easier.

You know what beats out a great-sounding A/D converter? A great-sounding vocalist, musician, or song.

You know what’s beter than going into a bunch of debt buying a bunch of hardware and software for your recording? Buying the minimal amount of gear and learning how to stretch that gear ot the limits, using every single feature/knob/contol/button on the gear/software.

A small space != small creativity.

Thinking About Setting Up a Recording Studio in Your Dorm?

Read more:  Thinking About Setting Up a Recording Studio in Your Dorm? · NYU Local
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Children naturally want to make music. Anything that gets children more interested in music is a good thing.

Rolling Recording Studio Promotes Music Education In Carlsbad |

I know there are problems with quantifying the positive impact music education has on students (not like there’s a standardized test for this kind of thing), but there’s increasing data to suggest that music education impacts the learning skills & communication abilities of school-age kids.

It’s not hard to get students interested in recording music, either. One of the biggest impediments (in my opinion) is resistance from the educators in charge. Let’s change that.

Research Suggests Positive Impact of Music Education

Support music education!