Case Study: Jazz Bandleader-Composer


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

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Gross Income by Role

Jazz Bandleader’s gross income can be divided into five categories: touring, recording, composing, session/sideman work and income related to his knowledge of craft. The chart below shows what percent of each year’s income falls into these five categories. Clearly, live performance fees are a majority of his income.

Below are breakouts of of his income by role, from 2004-2010.

Role 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Details
Touring 66.4% 78.7% 85.6% 59.9% 77.5% 90.3% Live performance fees as a leader or soloist
Composing 18.1% 14.7% 3.6% 21.3% 9.1% 7.7% Mechanicals, PRO royalties, commissions, grants and awards, sheet music sales
Recording 14.1% 1.2% 2.0% 16.3% 10.1% 1.2% Record label advances, record sales, record sales on tour, digital performance royalties
Sideman 1.1% 1.8% 5.8% 1.8% 2.0% 0.2% Session or sideman work on tour or in the studio
Knowledge of Craft 0.3% 3.6% 3.0% 0.8% 1.2% 0.6% Advisor, producer, speaking
Jazz Bandleader’s actively pursues performance and recording opportunities. The knowledge of craft and composing-related income is generally initiated by someone other than him or his team. Approximately 8% of his gross income falls into this more passive income category.


Touring is an area that is actively pursued by Jazz Bandleader, and it’s the role through which he makes the vast majority of his income. He retains a booking agent to contract engagements for him in the US, Europe and other territories. Jazz Bandleader has also earned significant money as a sideman, both on tour and in the studio.


Most of the composing-related money is relatively passive income. With the exception of a handful of grants written by Jazz Bandleader earlier in his career, the vast majority of this income is initiated by someone other than Jazz Bandleader or his team.


Recording is the most complex area of income for the Jazz Bandleader-Composer. He receives regular income every year for record sales and digital sound recording performance royalties. He actively sells his recordings on tour which makes up a stable portion of his income. The biggest differences from year to year are the record label advances, which accounted for 65% of his recording-related income from 2006-2011.


Knowledge of craft income, like the composing-related income, is largely passive. Organizations and institutions hire Jazz Bandleader to give a lecture or masterclass to university students, speak at industry conferences, or advise or produce.

Next: Income by Territory


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: Jazz Bandleader-Composer”

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