Research Questions

This project collected information from a diverse set of US-based musicians about the ways that they are currently generating income from their compositions, performances, recordings or brand, and whether this has changed over the past ten years.

The fundamental research question is: what percentage of musicians’ income comes from each possible revenue source? What is the ratio among different sources, whether it be royalties, money from gigs, t-shirt sales, or any of the 29 other meaningful revenue streams that FMC has identified? Has the ratio changed over time and, if so, what are the factors that have conditioned these changes? Finally, are the revenue stream ratios different for artists working in different genres and at different stages of their careers?

In addition to asking musicians about the percentage of income derived from “traditional” streams such as retail sales, royalties for public performances and live performances, we aimed to identify revenue percentages from new streams like digital downloads, digital performance royalties, interactive service payments, ringtones, website click-thrus and a myriad of new licensing options. This will help us understand whether aggregate income from these new revenue streams offsets losses of revenue resulting from the erosion of traditional streams, or which, if any, of the new models are having an impact on musicians’ bottom lines.

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