Money from Music: Where We Live
Does location matter? There are still key cities that are engines for the music business, and magnets for like-minded artists and performers. For some musicians/composers, being in physical proximity to these specific cities is critical to their career as these cities provide better access to freelance work, in-studio session gigs, writing partners, publishers, venues, funders, and audiences. The survey data underscore this; musicians in New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville have higher gross incomes, higher hourly wages, and access to more income streams – part of the reason why many creators gravitate to these cities.
But on an individual level, the importance of musicians’ physical proximity to these music city engines has somewhat diminished over time, as the internet has made it possible for musicians to live in other places but still work in the music industry. For some musicians, their reputation is so strong that work finds them, no matter where they are. For others – especially touring musicians – being close to an airport is really all that matters. And for others still, removing themselves from the hubs has meant lower costs of living, or increased quality of life, and the ability to develop alternate definitions of success beyond money or number of fans.
Musicians understand that this is a business of relationships, sprinkled with a dash of luck. While the internet has made it possible for musicians to sustain and even strengthen relationships from a distance, music cities still serve as a source for those chance meetings or lucky opportunities. Ultimately, whether a musician seeks those chances is largely a reflection of their career arc and objectives. And whether or not they will succeed is tied to much more than just location.
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