Case Study: Contemporary Chamber Ensemble

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

Previous: Gross Revenue Time Series

Income v Expenses

The pie charts below show aggregate gross income, and the related expenses, for 2002-2010.

The pie chart for expenses has been scaled to visually represent that expenses consume about 51% of gross income. The table below provides details about the expenses 2002-2010.

Expense Category 2002-2010 Details
Manager Commission 30.3% Commission paid to manager, who primarily secures and negotiates concert dates
Touring Expenses 26.8% Transportation, hotel, per diem, etc.
Artist Fees 17.0% Artist fees paid to guest artists or subs, make up artist, videographer, choreographer, stage manager, rehearsal pianist, wardrobe etc.
Publicity 10.8% Publicist for live engagements
Teaching-Related 3.4% Costs related to educational partnership with a conservatory in 2010
Marketing 2.8% Flyers, conference fees, website
Merchandise 2.5% The ensemble purchases their CDs at cost from the label to sell on the road
Taxes Paid 1.7%
Accounting and Finance 1.3%
Production 1.2% Concert dress, rehearsal space, sheet music, hospitality
Composer Commissions Paid 0.5% Commissions paid to composers to write new works for Ensemble D to perform and record.
Venue Commissions on Merchandise 0.5% Each venue they perform in typically takes a commission on CDs sold at shows
Administrative and Overhead 0.5%
Postage 0.4%
Legal 0.2%

The chart below shows income versus expenses on a year to year basis. The grey line indicates net income, which fluctuates from year to year but has steadily increased overall.

Though the gross income has fluctuated from year to year, the net trend is a steady upwards one.

The column graph above indicates that the ensemble’s income is net positive from year to year.

Touring is not based on album cycles for them, but rather, concert hall season schedules.
The Ensemble released records in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010. These expenses are not included on these charts because the record label covered the expenses of the recording. With touring, the Ensemble assumes all of the risk and covers all their tour-related expenses, but the reward is exponentially higher. They have earned a modest record royalty from their catalogue of releases.
Even though some of the Ensemble’s records have recouped, the profit from touring is exponentially higher than for recording. Records are essentially a form of marketing for the ensemble.
Most of the financial benefit related to recording comes from CD sales on the road, which are bought at cost from their label and sold at a higher price, minus the venue commission, at the shows. While album sales themselves are not a significant source of income from year to year, recording regularly is a way for the Ensemble to stay relevant in the eyes of the public and presenters. Albums also provide additional marketing around their tours, and are an opportunity for radio airplay.

Next: Reflections on the Classical Music Market

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 […]