Population of Study

One of the challenges in doing this research was estimating the size and composition of our population of study: musicians and composers. There is no definition for “musician”, nor certifications or qualifying tests. In addition, there is no one organization that represents the majority of musicians. Read a more detailed post about the difficulties in quantifying the musician population.

In the absence of standards, FMC established some parameters to define our population of study. First and foremost, this study is constrained to US-based musicians. This is a reflection of our capacity, and a recognition that many revenue steams are highly dependent on national copyright law. An international or country-to-country comparison would be incredibly valuable, but it is outside the scope of this project.

To ensure that we were focusing on musicians that have some credentials in the music community, all research participants met the following criteria:

  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • 18 +

In addition, we asked participants:

  • Whether they were members of one or more of the following organizations: ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, SoundExchange, AFM, AFTRA, AGMA, SAG, Recording Academy, Songwriters Guild, Nashville Songwriters Association International, American Composers Forum, American Music Center, Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America, Americana Music Association, Folk Alliance, Just Plain Folks, Gospel Music Association, Blues Music Association, Country Music Association, International Bluegrass Music Association, or Fractured Atlas
  • How much of their time they spend being a musician
  • How much of their annual personal income is derived from being a musician.

While specific answers to questions above did not eliminate any particular participant, we did take a close look at any responses for individuals who are:

  • not a member of any professional organizations; or
  • spend less than 10% of their time and make less than 10% of their money being a musician.

These definitions not only helped us to determine the types of musicians taking part in our research, but they also helped us to put some parameters around our population of study.

Learn about the artists who participated.

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