Does organizational membership matter?

Posted on September 5th, 2013 by Kristin Thomson in What We're Learning. 1 Comment

There are a number of external factors that can have an influence on how – and how much – money a musician makes. We have already published reports about the impact of radio airplay, the differences in income based on musicians’ level of education, and the impact of “teammates”. In this data memo, we examine the relationship between organizational membership and income.

This material was first presented at Music: Parts and Labor conference at New York University in April 2012.  This report expands on that presentation.


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?

In this data memo we outline the general benefits of membership in music-related organizations, then examine the qualitative and quantitative data related to organizational membership and revenue.

The qualitative and quantitative data in this report suggests that there are positive relationships between membership in specific organizations and higher music-related income, but that the value of membership – fiscal and otherwise – varies greatly by the type of musician and the roles that he or she plays.

Next: the benefits of membership

One response to “Does organizational membership matter?”

  1. […] Does organisational membership matter? This material was first presented at Music: Parts and Labor conference at New York University in April 2012 and examines the relationship between organisational membership and income. […]