Persona is a very mutable concept. Perhaps its mutability is no more prominently displayed that in its intersection and integration into music and musical culture. In this opening essay for our special issue on music and persona, we chart the meaning and the value of persona analyses to the study of music. Essentially, our objective here is two-fold. First, we want to provide a map of how persona has been employed in research in music. What this will generate is a critical investigation of these traditions, but also what we hope will be a valuable reference for future music and persona scholarship. Second, and of equal importance, is how these uses of musical persona can be further informed and assisted by the more recent scholarship in persona studies most openly articulated by this journal over the last five years, but also the widening array of related books, articles and book chapters that are percolating in connected fields. We attempt to pull together our review of the current field of music and persona with the urgent need to identify with greater thought and clarity the industrial structures that shape our relationship to music performance and its relation to audiences and its constitution of celebrated individuals and recognizable and market-sensitive personas. Our essay concludes with the introduction of our series of articles in this issue and how they intersect with these various traditions that have explored persona’s imbrication into music.