Case Study: Indie Rock Composer-Performer


Posted on March 15th, 2012 by Jean Cook in Financial Case Studies, Participant Data. 6 Comments

Previous: Gross Revenue Time Series

Income v Expenses

The pie charts below show aggregate gross income, and the related expenses, for 2008-2011.

The pie chart for expenses has been scaled visually to represent that expenses consume about 53% of gross income. The table below provides details about expenses from 2008-2011.

The vast majority of the Artist’s expenses are tied to his solo work, which for many years was subsidized by his salaried work in other bands.
Expense Category 2008-2011 Details
Travel 35.8% Flights, hotels, per diem, local transportation on tour
Overhead 12.7% Communications expenses, mailing expenses, legal, bank charges, insurance, research, office expenses
Artist Fees Paid 11.1% Sidemen in live performances and recordings
Equipment Purchase and Repair 10.5%
Publicity, Marketing and Design 9.3% Publicity, web hosting, fan management platform, album and merch designs, photography
Recording Expenses 7.9% Engineers, studio rental, mixing, mastering
Merch Expense 7.2% Buying CDs at cost, printing cost of merch items, customs, duties
Booking Commissions Paid 4.2% For his solo tours
Production 0.9% Rehearsal space, live production crew
Membership Dues 0.5% Paid to AFTRA, AAA, AFM
The chart below shows income versus expenses on a year-to-year basis. The grey line indicates net income, which has increased over the four years.


The artist’s overall net income in 2011 is 66% greater than his net from 2008. His solo tours became profitable in 2011, after three years of his solo tour activity being subsidized by his other music activities.

By 2011, the Artist’s solo work is self-sustaining, and he no longer works on salary with other bands. But his income is completely dependent on a very active touring schedule.
On the next page, we break down Indie Rock Sideman’s income by role – as a performer, salaried player, composer and recording artist – and provide detail about the income earned by each role in this time period.

Next: Income by Role


About the Case Studies

Graphs do not have a Y-axis dollar value in order to observe the conditions of our privacy policy. In addition, graphs and visuals in case studies are not comparable within or between case studies. For more details about this, read about our financial case study protocol.

Information detailed in case studies is based on data received directly from the artist or their authorized representative. The data analysis and lessons learned here are based on individual experience, and do not necessarily reflect the experiences of all musicians in genre or roles.

Case studies are one of three ways this project is looking at music creator income.




6 Responses to “Case Study: Indie Rock Composer-Performer”

  1. [...] examining the books of a successful indie rocker, for instance, the Future of Music Coalition found thant nearly 40% of [...]

  2. [...] Allerdings dürften sich die Einkommensquellen teilweise verschoben haben. So erzielen Indie Rock Composer-Performer nach Angaben der US-amerikanischen Future of Music Coalition fast ¾ ihrer Einnahmen im Rahmen von [...]

  3. [...] example, the case study of an Indie Rock Composer-Performer:  ”While he is an active member of four bands in addition to his solo work, 94% of his [...]

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