Behind the Curtain: The Business of Entertainment

Biz of Entertainment Pt 2

This article is part of an ongoing series examining the Anatomy of the Entertainment Business

What springs to mind when you think of the entertainment industry?

Shouting ‘CUT’ from the director’s chair? The glitz and glamor of awards ceremonies? Performing to an arena of adoring fans singing your latest hit song?

Yes, all of these things are a big part of the world of entertainment, but there’s a lot more to it than being in the spotlight.

And one crucial driving force of this industry is the business side of entertainment.

In this blog post we’re going to delve into the realm of entertainment business, the backbone of what just might be the most enchanting industry in the world.

So, what types of roles are in the entertainment business? And what career paths do they lead to? And importantly, how can you get started?

The Business of Entertainment Business

Entertainment + business.

Possibly the greatest (and most profitable) merger of all time.

Talent management, finance, legal, marketing—not to mention the talent behind the scenes of the music business—are just some of the cogs behind the silver screen that keep the machine turning, translating ideas into projects from development to production and distribution.

Key roles in the entertainment business

There are many roles and responsibilities that fall within the business side of entertainment, many of them interconnected with each other.

Here’s a snapshot of the major players:

Talent management roles

Talent agencies are no longer just about finding jobs for artists. 

Their focus is also on nurturing talent, guiding them through the complexities of the industry and acting as a buffer against industry pitfalls.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Career development
    Talent management is all about strategy, developing an artist’s career plan that aligns with both the industry and the artist, playing to their vision and strengths.

  • Networking and opportunities
    A huge part of launching a new talent into the public eye is providing the right opportunities.

    Talent management agencies will have crucial connections already in place, opening doors that might otherwise remain closed.

  • Image crafting
    Creating a star isn’t just about talent, it’s about image too.

    Talent management plays a key role in shaping an artist’s public persona and brand.

    They strategize about everything from social media presence to public appearances, ensuring the artist’s image resonates with their target audience and amplifies their marketability

Example career paths in talent management:

  • Talent agent
    Working independently or as part of an agency, as a talent agent you’ll be your artist’s representative and first point of contact.

    You’ll help negotiate contracts, seek out job opportunities, and manage relationships with studios, producers, and casting directors.

  • A & R Manager
    A huge skill in the business side of the music industry, an A&R (artist and repertoire) manager is a talent-scouting professional. You’ll be deep-diving into recorded and live music, on the hunt for fresh talent that’s ready to hit the big time.

    You’ll need to be clued up on everything to do with music: from industry jargon, to what makes a sound really pop. You’ll be the hype person your artist needs, sharpening their skills and boosting their confidence while they navigate the industry.

  • Casting director
    As a casting director, you’ll be a specialist at selecting the right talent for roles in film, television, theater, and commercials.

You’ll work closely with directors and producers to understand their vision, organize auditions, and recommend potential artists who would fit the part.

Business administration

Of course, the industry isn’t purely about entertainment. There’s also crucial admin, planning and finances involved—and lots of it.

Although not as dazzling as some roles, business admin and management is essential for finding opportunities and providing much-needed stability.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Budget management
    Budgeting. Sounds boring, but it’s a must for long-term success.

    And it’s not just artists who need financial planning, it’s any business in the entertainment industry, such as talent agencies, entertainment companies or film studios.

    Budgeting planning allows clients to maintain financial stability, bringing invaluable advice such as insights on tax-saving strategies and profit allocation.

  • Business management
    Whether you’re interested in the music business specifically or the broader entertainment world, business management is a key player in steering companies to success.
  • Funding acquisition
    Ever wondered how films get their funding?

    One side of finance in the entertainment business is to identify and secure funding sources, from studio backing and independent investors to crowdfunding campaigns. Finance advisors will develop a compelling business plan—showcasing financial viability—and build strong relationships with potential funding sources.

Jobs in entertainment business management: 

  • Entertainment finance analyst
    As a finance analyst, you’ll be diving into all the numbers, forecasts and budget sheets for productions such as movies, music tours and theater shows—the go-to person for making sense of all that data and guiding the big money decisions.

    With regular financial analysis, you’ll figure out if these projects/companies/artists are hitting their financial goals or if they’re just burning cash.

  • Entertainment industry CFO (Chief Financial Officer)
    As CFO of an entertainment company, you’re at the top of the financial food chain, calling the shots on everything money-related.

    From making sure financial reports are spotless to figuring out the smartest places to invest, you’re responsible for guiding your company to growth and profitability. 
  • Production accountant
    Production accountants are in charge of making sure that everyone on a production set is on track financially.

    Whether it be managing payroll (from the lead star to the coffee runner), or tracking expenses, you’ll be making sure the production is in good financial health.


Once a project is ready to greet the world, it needs an audience.

Entertainment has turned to digital, and with fresh talent emerging on new platforms every day, every artist needs to stand out from the crowd and reach the right audience.

And that’s where marketing comes into the picture, creating buzz, anticipation and fanbases with clever marketing campaigns and strategies. 

Key responsibilities:

  • Branding
    Marketing is key to making brands pop.

    And creating a strong brand that people can instantly recognize? That’s the golden ticket to pulling in sponsors, teaming up with the right partners, and building a crowd of die-hard fans.

    Branding is all about building—and maintaining—a strong brand presence that clicks with a client’s target audience.

  • Market research and analysis
    Marketing is about numbers too.

    To shine brighter than other stars, fill gaps and grab opportunities, an artist or project needs to understand what the market looks like out there, including factors such as consumer behavior, preferences and media habits.

  • Event planning
    In the entertainment business, event planning isn’t just about throwing parties.

    From project launches and movie premieres to exclusive meet-and-greets or intimate concerts, it’s all about providing opportunities to showcase a brand, and providing unforgettable experiences leaving audiences wanting more.

Example career paths in entertainment marketing:

  • Publicist
    If you’re in the entertainment world aiming for the top, bringing a talented publicist on board is a wise idea.

    As an expert in PR and marketing, you’ll be the one getting the name of an individual or company in the spotlight, maintaining public image and seeking out promo opportunities.

  • Content marketing
    As tastes and trends shift, there’s a hunger for content that’s not just new, but real and resonant.

    It’s all about hitting the sweet spot with content that grabs attention—and keeps it.

    As a content marketer, you might be dropping teaser trailers, creating buzz on social media or crafting news articles online, getting people hyped about a brand through words.

  • Event Manager
    Event management is a popular path in the entertainment industry.

    Your role is pivotal in orchestrating memorable, seamless events that promote artists and businesses alike.You’ll deal with all aspects of an event; venue selection, decor, food and refreshments. Even down to every last sparkling light. You’ll need to be creative yet precise with meticulous attention to detail (and more than ready to deal with a diva or two!)


Technology transformed the media and entertainment industry some time ago—and that is no different for the way products are distributed. 

Distribution plays an important role in ensuring finished projects captivate, entertain and inspire on a global scale, making entertainment accessible to everyone, everywhere.

Key responsibilities:

  • Acquisitions
    Rights to distribute (and sometimes produce) a film are snagged at different points: from script stage, before the main shooting kicks off, throughout post-production, or once the project wraps up.

    And let’s not forget, competition can be fierce out there, making it a must to secure opportunities early.

  • Platform negotiation
    Securing distribution channels, from streaming services to traditional cinemas, can take serious negotiation skills.

    Agreements with sales agents, deals with producers, bidding wars with festivals—they’re all key to getting the very best deals for clients.

  • Release strategy
    In the entertainment business, a savvy release strategy is pivotal for distribution success.

    A perfectly planned release strategy makes sure that content not only reaches its intended audience but does so at a time when it can dominate attention, drive conversations, and ultimately, achieve commercial success.

Example career paths in entertainment distribution:

  • Distribution executive
    As a distribution executive, you’ll likely find yourself working at a film studio, TV network or streaming platform, overseeing the strategy for releasing content across different markets and platforms.

    You’ll negotiate deals, set release dates, and strategize on the best platforms for content to maximize revenue and audience reach.

  • Distribution analyst
    Analyzing numbers plays a huge factor in effective distribution.

    Data analytics shines a light on the performance of content across different channels and platforms, driving clever choices for the perfect distribution strategy.

  • Licensing executive
    You’ll take charge of licensing content for various uses, like merchandise, broadcasts, or other media platforms.

    You’ll be responsible for things such as handling royalties, making sure everything sticks to the licensing agreements and ensuring legal and financial smoothness in every deal.

The entertainment industry is also a minefield of contracts, copyrights and law considerations.

Legal professionals ensure that artists and producers can focus on their work, knowing their rights and assets are protected. 

Key Responsibilities:

  • Drafting and reviewing contracts
    This involves the careful crafting and meticulous examination of contracts for productions.

    The main aim? To ensure clarity, fairness and protection for everyone involved. This process is vital for setting clear expectations and safeguarding interests.

  • Protecting intellectual property
    At the heart of entertainment law is the protection of intellectual property. This includes managing legal issues around trademarks, copyrights and rights of publicity. It’s about defending the creative rights of artists and producers, ensuring their work is protected from unauthorized use or infringement.
  • Resolving disputes
    The entertainment world is no stranger to conflicts, whether they’re over copyright infringement or contractual disagreements.

    Mediating these disputes to find fair and profitable solutions is essential to maintaining relationships and ensuring the industry’s smooth operation.

Example career paths in entertainment law:

  • Entertainment lawyer
    Entertainment lawyers are now more sought after than ever.

    Your role will involve navigating the complexities of film, television, music and digital media law. Get ready to advise on issues such as contracts, intellectual property, litigation and compliance.

    And remember: your mission is to connect with your client, ensuring their creative visions and rights are protected and advocated for.

  • Music rights manager
    Music rights can be a tricky business.

    As a music rights manager you’ll be collaborating with record labels, music publishers, artists and platforms to ensure that music is rightfully used and creators are fairly compensated.

  • Entertainment compliance officer
    Your responsibility as an entertainment compliance officer is vital to the integrity of the entertainment industry.

    Your roles include making sure companies are staying on the right side of the law, are up to date with any new rules and regulations and adhering to guidelines

    You’ll be responsible for developing and overseeing compliance programs, ensuring a safe and ethical environment for entertainment to thrive.

How the Los Angeles Film School fits in

If the entertainment business sounds like something you’d love to be a part of, we’re here to help.

Our Entertainment Business degrees are a launchpad into the industry, giving you all the skills you need to excel in your chosen pathway.

And if your focus is on Music Business? We’ve got a concentration designed with you in mind. You’ll learn all about concert management, A&R and music industry marketing, plus much more.  

 Take a look for yourself.