Jazz Musicians and Money from Music

Posted on June 13th, 2012 by Jean Cook in What We're Learning. 4 Comments

2. Jazz musicians have more formal education, play many different roles, and have simpler support teams than musicians in other genres. Like other musicians in other genres, though, they wish they could spend more time performing, recording and composing, and less time on the business side of music.

Education. About 60% of the musicians in the survey population – jazz or non-jazz, AFM or non AFM – had gone to a music school or had a music degree. 77% of jazz musicians had college degrees or higher, greater than any other group except classical, where 94% of musicians had college degrees.  The Money from Music population had a higher percentage of graduate degree holders than the “Changing the Beat” population, suggesting that some jazz musicians receive more formal education now than they did 10 years ago.

Roles. On the survey, we asked all respondents to allocate their music-related income earned in the past 12 months amongst eight possible categories:

(1) income from compositions;
(2) income from being a salaried player;
(3) income earned from shows/live performances;
(4) income earned by sound recordings;
(5) income earned through merchandise/branding;
(6) session work;
(7) teaching and
(8) other.

Based on this question, we were able to approximate the number of “roles” survey respondents played in the past 12 months.

Jazz musicians are more likely than the general population of survey takers to earn money from multiple roles. 33% of jazz musicians allocated their music-related income into four or more buckets. This is higher than the general survey population, for which 26% are earning money in four or more categories, and classical musicians, for which 18% are playing four or more income roles.

Let’s look specifically at the kinds of roles or activities in which musicians are engaging. In the chart below AFM jazz members are more likely to earn income as performers, session musicians, teachers and administrators. Non-AFM iazz musicians are more likely than AFM members (or the general survey population) to earn income as composers and recording artists.

Support teams. In the Money from Music Survey, we asked respondents to tell us who was on their team, and what kind of relationship they had with those people – whether it was paid/contracted, partnership, or pro-bono.

On average, respondents to the Money from Music Survey indicated that they relied on relationships with 2.82 kinds of team members. Jazz musicians were more likely to work with fewer kinds of team members than the average, and their most likely team members after “bandmates” were booking agent and accountant.

Time Allocation. When asked how they would re-allocate their time if money was not an issue, jazz musicians were similar to other survey respondents in that they wished to spend more time being an artist, and less time on the management, fundraising and business side of music. They would also spend less time doing social networking, and teaching.

Credits. The average respondent who played jazz had 50 recording credits (# of tracks) and authored 28 compositions/songs over his or her career. (There was no significant difference between AFM and non-AFM jazz musicians.) The jazz population had approximately the same number of recording credits as the non-jazz respondents, but fewer composition credits.

Airplay. Below is a chart describing frequency of airplay for jazz musicians on commercial radio, noncommercial radio, internet, satellite, and cable radio stations.

Overall, 33% of jazz respondents reported getting some or frequent airplay on commercial, non-commercial, internet, satellite or cable radio, roughly the same as the general survey population. This contrasts with “Changing the Beat,” which asked jazz musicians if they received radio airplay. 75% of jazz respondents said yes in 2000. In 2011, 52.3% of the Money from Music jazz respondents reported receiving frequent, some, or rare radio airplay. This significant decline is not surprising given the loss of jazz stations and the reduction in jazz music programming over the past decade. For more on the negative impact of radio consolidation on musicians see our 2002 report Radio Deregulation: Has It Served Musicians and Citizens? Or you can see our recent data memo about the impact of radio on musicians’ income, “Does Radio Airplay Matter?

Next: How much are they making?

4 responses to “Jazz Musicians and Money from Music”

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