Case Study: Background Vocalist

Posted on February 24th, 2014 by Chhaya Kapadia in Financial Case Studies, Participant Data. 2 Comments

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TV Background Performer
Film Background Performer
Live Background Performing Artist
Background Recording Artist

1997 – present


The following is the breakdown of 2009-2010 income from a Background Vocalist, who performs as a background singer on network TV, live on tour, and on recordings. She also writes songs and performs and records her own music as a solo artist. She produces records for herself and others.

For the purposes of this case study, we will look at her income from her work as a session musician and background vocalist only – both in the studio and live on tour.

This artist tours regularly as a background vocalist for several different featured artists. Previous tours have included performances at concert halls, theaters, opera houses, resorts, and festivals. She is also part of the regular “music crew” – as a background vocalist – on a live network television program with a house band, appearing on 34 episodes over four seasons. She has also performed on over 50 recordings as a background vocalist for more than 30 different artists.

The Background Vocalist does not have formal musical training. She is a member of SAG-AFTRA, NARAS, SoundExchange, and ASCAP and is registered with the AFM & SAG-AFTRA Fund. Through her affiliation with SAG-AFTRA, she qualifies for health insurance and is earning pension credits. She does not have a manager or bookkeeper.

This case study includes:

Next: A Note about Session Work

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.

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