Data Memos and Reports

We have a huge amount of qualitative and quantitative data that we have collected through interviews, a large-scale survey, and financial case studies. Instead of issuing one enormous report, we have been examining the data through various lenses:

Topline survey respondent characteristics

Specific revenue sources

By genre

By demographic characteristics

By external factors and support structures

Special series


Six Financial Case Studies
As part of this project, a handful of full-time musicians granted us access to their musician-related financial records. Our case studies illustrate each musicians’ income and expenses year-by-year.


Some additional writing about challenges of doing research on this population


Sign up for our monthly newsletter to learn about upcoming releases on income from live performance, whether membership matters, music cities, income for songwriters/composers, or the revenue streams or session musicians, and more.

Additional resources
42 Streams: Existing, Expanded, NewThe same list, but reorganized to identify revenue streams that have expanded – or been newly created – in the past 15 years. Read more
42 Revenue Streams A list of all the potential revenue streams for US-based musicians, performers and composers based on the contours of copyright law and business practice. Read more


FMC’s Digital Distribution A diagram designed for musicians to help them understand how to get their music into various platforms and services. Read more
FMC’s New Business Models Google spreadsheet that shows if/how/how much songwriters, performers, record labels and publishers are paid when their music is used/performed on a variety of new digital platforms. Read more


Music and How the Money Flows An infographic that illustrates how the money flows back to musicians and songwriters when their music is downloaded, webcast or streamed. Read more
Music and Money Quizzes A quiz about the copyright laws, licenses and agreements that frequently determine who gets paid, and how much. Take one of these quizzes and see how you measure up! Read more

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Posted on 25th May, by Kristin Thomson in What We're Learning. No Comments

Money from Music: Where We Live

Posted on 11th September, by Jean Cook in What We're Learning. 1 Comment

How does location impact musicians and composers? Do ‘music cities’ – loosely defined as places where there is a higher concentration of commercial record labels, studios, publishers, or other important commercial industry players – such as Los Angeles, Nashville, or New York offer greater opportunities for artists?

While the over 5,300 respondents of the Money from Music survey lived in all 50 states and also outside the USA, approximately 11% of respondents reported living in the metro areas of Nashville, New York City, or Los Angeles – all cities that have a higher concentration of creative workers [Note 1] compared to the national average.

What is so special about these cities? Do opportunities attributed to location favor artists who play certain roles or are at a certain point in their careers? With the internet making it easy to communicate directly with … Read More »

Does organizational membership matter?

Posted on 5th September, by Kristin Thomson in What We're Learning. 1 Comment

At first look, musicians and composers seem like a disorganized bunch. On an individual level, there are no qualifying exams or prerequisites that certify a musician’s level of “professionalism”. On a group level, there is no one organization that represents their collective interests. But scratch below the surface, and different structures become immediately apparent. In addition to record labels, booking agents, managers and other teammates on which musicians rely, musicians and songwriters can align with a vast array of music-related organizations that serve a number of purposes.

As musicians ourselves, we have a sense that membership in these organizations matters, but in what ways? Do musicians that belong to certain organizations participate in more revenue streams? Do they make more money because of these allegiances? Or is the inverse true; do particular types of work make it possible and/or necessary for musicians to join certain organizations? This data memo outlines the general benefits of membership in music-related organizations, then examines the qualitative and quantitative data related to organizational membership and revenue.

Survey Methods

Posted on 11th July, by Jean Cook in What We're Learning. No Comments

Below is an excerpt of a paper[Note 1] by Peter DiCola that describes the methodology and data of the Artist Revenue Streams project’s Money from Music Survey.

Survey Methods

The Money from Music Survey is part of the larger Artist Revenue Streams Project. The project includes three main parts: (1) qualitative interviews with dozens of musicians about the ways they generate revenue from music; (2) even more detailed case studies in which several musicians allowed a member of our team to have access to their financial and accounting records from recent years; and (3) this Internet-based survey.[Note 2] Future of Music Coalition (“FMC”), which is a nonprofit education, research, and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., coordinated the Artist Revenue Streams Project.

More than 6,700 eligible musicians took at least part of the survey in September and October of 2011. A … Read More »

Mythbusting: Data Driven Answers to Four Common Assumptions About How Musicians Make Money

Posted on 2nd December, by Kristin Thomson in What We're Learning. 12 Comments

There are a number of assumptions made about musicians and money. Some are repeated ad nausea, giving them a special status in the public debate about musicians and income as widely believed to be true, but disconnected from any verifiable data besides random anecdotes, isolated data points and personal opinion. Unfortunately, some of these assumptions are are then used to justify certain behaviors, or to inform policy decisions.

Here are four commonly-repeated assumptions:

1. “Musicians are rich”

2. “In a post-Napster world, musicians make all their money from shows/live performance”

3. “In a post-Napster world, musicians don’t make money selling music”

4. “In a post-Napster world, musicians make all of their money from selling t-shirts/merch”

One of the core goals of the Artist Revenue Streams project was to bring some data into this conversation, to give musicians, policymakers, and the general public a better sense of the complex reality of musicians and composers. In four posts, we will examine the “truthiness” of these assumptions, using qualitative and quantitative data collected through the Artist Revenue Streams project.