Money from Music: Where We Live


Posted on September 11th, 2013 by Jean Cook in What We're Learning. No Comments

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 fans, decision makers, and the press, has the importance of location changed in the last decade? What are the factors that trump location in building a music career?

This memo reviews some of the major themes that emerged from the interviews [Note 2], as well as some supporting data from the Money from Music Survey, to help us better understand how location impacts musicians’ and composers’ earning capacity, and the ability for them to build or sustain careers in music.

This memo explores:

When examining the qualitative and quantitative data, we were struck again by how diverse and specialized the musician and composer community is. We found the importance of location varied from artist to artist, depending on the roles they play, their level of experience, and the genre they worked in. While survey respondents who lived in Los Angeles, New York or Nashville were earning more than their counterparts in other cities, career building can happen outside of major music industry cities as well. We also heard that, at the end of the day, it was strong relationships that ultimately made a difference in careers.
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[Note 1]: Creative workers are defined here as those whose occupations fall into the categories of arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media in the American Community Survey, who make up 2% of the national worker population, but 6%, 3% and 5% of the workers in Los Angeles, Nashville and New York respectively.

[Note 2]: The 78 interviewees whose transcripts were reviewed in writing this memo lived in 17 different states, 43 of them lived in Nashville, New York City, Atlanta, or Los Angeles. Go here for more on our methodology.

Next: the value of networking





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