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:
Specific revenue sources
- Off The Charts: Examining Musicians’ Income from Sound Recordings
- Artists, Brand and Revenue
- Orchestral Recordings and Performer Payments
- Does Organizational Membership Matter?
- Does Radio Airplay Matter?
- Where We Live: The Impact of Location
- Teams, Time Allocation and Technology
- Musicians’ Teammates and their Effect on Earnings
- Are Musicians Benefiting from Music/Tech?
- Mythbusting: “musicians are rich”
- Mythbusting: “musicians make all their money from touring/shows”
- Mythbusting: “musicians don’t make any money selling music”
- Mythbusting: “musicians make all their money from t-shirts/merchandise”
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.
- Indie rock composer/performer
- Contemporary chamber ensemble
- Jazz bandleader
- Jazz sideman
- Professional orchestra player
- Background vocalist
- How many musicians are there?
- Are musicians making more or less money?
- Why “I don’t know” is an acceptable answer
- Leverage: how much or little control musicians have over how – and how much – they are paid
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.
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 »
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.
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.
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 »
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.