Case Study: Contemporary Chamber Ensemble

Posted on March 15th, 2012 by Jean Cook in Financial Case Studies, Participant Data. 2 Comments

The ARS project includes a series of anonymous financial case studies, being released throughout Spring 2012. These case studies are based on the real finances from real artists, anonymized to protect their privacy.


New Music
Contemporary Jazz

Sideman/Session Work

1997 – present



Key Findings

This case study looks at the world of classical small ensembles through the finances of one Contemporary Chamber Group. Unlike other case studies, we are examining only the financial picture of the ensemble and not the individuals.

Looking at the gross income, we see that 95.4% of the Ensemble’s gross income comes from live performance fees. They retain a professional manager in 2004, and their touring income more than doubles by 2005.

When taking expenses into account, we learn that though their gross income fluctuates from year to year, their net profit is steadily increasing. We also see that while their records are doing very well for classical music and have recouped, the Ensemble does not rely in this income at all (0.1% of their 2002-2010 income is from record royalties paid by a label) and instead treats recordings as marketing for the ensemble.

We reflect on the classical music marketplace, which is distinct from other markets. Their situation is similar to Professional Orchestra Player‘s in that they are highly skilled musicians that are usually paid a relatively high wage in an extremely competitive marketplace.

The PDF/printable version of the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble case study is downloadable below.

Next: Introducing Contemporary Chamber Ensemble + Table of Contents

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.

2 responses to “Case Study: Contemporary Chamber Ensemble”

  1. […] the case study of a Contemporary Chamber Ensemble: “We learn that though their gross income fluctuates from year to year, their net profit is […]