The Money from Music survey was open from September 6 – October 28, 2011. The survey was built by project staff using SurveyMonkey’s premium level services. [See the entire survey question set. Learn more about survey protocol.]
The survey was open to all musicians, composers and performers aged 18 years or older who were US citizens or residents.
Here are some top-level data about the survey population.
5,371 musicians and composers completed the survey.
Over 6,700 eligible musicians took at least part of the survey. A total of 5,371 musicians completed the central questions about revenue, while 4,652 musicians made it through every single question in the survey. Thus, depending on the question, we report responses based on a total population of somewhere between 4,652 and 5,371 musicians.
Average age of survey takers: 45.2.
The range of ages of survey takers was 18 to 100. The age range with the greatest representation was musicians aged 55 to 59, which means our sample skewed a little higher in age than the general U.S. population. (Note that the required minimum age for survey takers was set at 18, so respondents who were younger than 18 were exited from the survey after Question 2).
Years of experience
Over half of survey respondents reported having 25 years or more of experience as a musician/composer/performer.
40 percent said they spend more than 36 hours a week or more doing music.
We asked survey takers about how many hours in their workweek they spend doing their craft, whether it’s composing, performing, recording, doing session work or teaching. These was a fairly even dispersion of workweek hours. Less than 1 percent of survey respondents said they spent “no hours” on music, while 40 percent said they spent more than 36 hours a week doing music.
42 percent said they derived all of their personal income from music.
Unlike with workweek hours, there is a distinct split on personal income derived from music. While there is a small cluster in the 0 to 10 percent range, 42 percent said they derive all of their personal income from music.
Average personal gross income of survey respondents was $55,561
Survey respondents were asked to estimate their personal gross income in the past twelve months, within a range of “less than $20,000” to “more than $200,000” in $20,000 increments. In aggregate, the average personal gross income for all respondents was $55,561. This is slightly higher than the US population but when combined with information about survey respondents’ educational background (see below) these numbers make sense.
The average estimated music income was $34,455
By multiplying personal gross income by % of income derived from music, we were able to calculate an average estimated music income for all respondents of $34,455. This is slightly lower than the US average but this estimated music income calculation shifts significantly based on a musician’s role, experience, education and genre.
Classical was the most common primary genre.
Survey takers we also asked to note their primary, secondary and tertiary genres they work in, choosing from a drop down list that included 32 different options. The top ten responses for primary genre were:
Although 32 genres is a fairly long and diverse list, we also included an open-ended question in which respondents could supply a different or additional genre. Fully 1,155 respondents, or 22 percent of the sample, took the opportunity to do so. Several of the open-ended responses expressed frustration with the concept of a genre. Many more respondents supplied a long and detailed description of their music. These open-ended responses demonstrate as well as anything else the diversity of the population of musicians.
80 percent have a college degree or higher.
We also asked survey takers about their education. Within our sample, 29 percent had a college degree, 16 percent had some graduate work, and an additional 35 percent of musicians completed a graduate degree, which means that 80 percent of the sample had a college degree or higher. Our sample is much more highly educated than the general population.
Even more interesting is the number of survey respondents with music school or conservatory training. 58% of respondents attended a music school or conservatory and 61% of respondents earned a degree in music (regardless of the type of school).
Survey respondents live all over the US.
The survey captured a diverse population in terms of geography, with respondents in every state and good dispersion across regions. Below is a map of survey respondents by zip code.
This is simply a snapshot that broadly describes the survey respondent population. The data memos examine the survey data through various lenses to understand the revenue streams and changes in revenue experienced by different musician and composer populations.